If members of the New York Film Critics Circle voted today for their awards, "Volver" would probably win best picture, director (Pedro Almodovar) and actress (Penelope Cruz, fending off a devilish challenge from Meryl Streep). The lead actor race is a three-way toss-up between Forest Whitaker ("Last King of Scotland"), Peter O'Toole ("Venus") and Ryan Gosling ("Half Nelson").
That's what I conclude in an Envelope feature article — CLICK HERE to read more.
But beware of such early prognostication. At this point last year I reported that "History of Violence" was ahead at NYFCC, but that was before the journos saw "Brokeback Mountain," which ended up winning a narrow victory. "Brokeback" beat "History of Violence" by a score of 39 to 35 and Ang Lee prevailed as best director over David Cronenberg by a mere two-point edge. "HOV" reaped consolation in the supporting-acting races where Maria Bello and William Hurt prevailed, but Bello only did so late in the voting. Catherine Keener ("Capote") led on the first ballot.
Photos: Even though "Volver" seems to be out front for NYFCC's best-pic prize right now, beware: no foreign-language film has won that award in more than 30 years. Middle photo: Watch out for Ryan Gosling ("Half Nelson") as an underdog in the best-actor race where Forest Whitaker ("Last King of Scotland," at right) seems to be the current frontrunner.
(Sony Pictures Classics/ ThinkFilm/ Fox Searchlight)