Hot on the heels of yesterday’s National Board of Review announcement, the New York Film Critics Circle—the first critics group to hand out 2015 year-end awards—has made its selections for the best of the year, and it’s a good day to be Carol. The group is prone to making fascinating choices that influence the season to come, and while some years are better than others (reminder: they chose American Hustle as the best film of 2013), their picks for 2015 are kind of fantastic. Left-field choices include Kristen Stewart for Best Supporting Actress for her lauded work in Clouds of Sils Maria, Edward Lachman taking home Best Cinematography for Carol, and the pick I’m most happy about, Saoirse Ronan landing Best Actress for the stellar Brooklyn.
While it’s always important to keep in mind that critics don’t vote for Oscars, these critics group awards can help raise the profile of contenders that may have been “on the bubble” before December. A film like Carol can certainly benefit from a boost such as this (it’s looking more and more like a very safe bet for a Best Picture nomination), and I’ll be curious to see how the critics on the west coast vote when their time comes. And before you ask, yes, these critics saw every December release save for Star Wars: The Force Awakens before voting.
Check out the full list of winners below.
Best Film: Carol
Best Director: Todd Haynes – Carol
Best Actress: Saoirse Ronan – Brooklyn
Best Actor: Michael Keaton – Spotlight
Best Supporting Actress: Kristen Stewart – Clouds of Sils Maria
Best Supporting Actor: Mark Rylance – Bridge of Spies
Best Screenplay: Phyllis Nagy – Carol
Best Cinematography: Edward Lachman – Carol
Best Animated Film: Inside Out
Best Nonfiction Film: In Jackson Heights
Best Foreign Film: Timbuktu
Best First Film: Son of Saul
Special Award: William Becker and Janus Films
Special Award: Ennio Morricone