'Boyhood': Why its recent wins may not mean what you think for the Oscars

'Boyhood' has been named the best picture of the year by the New York Film Critics Circle and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association. The choices by these groups don't always line up with the eventual Oscars Best Picture, but it may at least increase the movie's odds of a place on the nominees list.

IFC Films/AP
'Boyhood' stars Ellar Coltrane.

“Boyhood” is admired by film critics, and that may at least guarantee it a Best Picture nomination at the Oscars – will it also receive the big prize? 

The movie “Boyhood" follows a boy (Ellar Coltrane) and his family (his parents are portrayed by “The Purge” actor Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette of “Boardwalk Empire”) to adulthood. The film, directed by Richard Linklater, was filmed over 12 years, following Coltrane’s character Mason from the age of 6 to 18.

“Boyhood” has received the Best Picture prize from the New York Film Critics Circle and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, both seen as possible previews of what movies will receive Best Picture nods at the Oscars. Their choices, however, especially those by the LAFCA, don’t always match up with the eventual Academy Award Best Picture. Last year the NYFCC chose the 2013 film “American Hustle” as Best Picture (“12 Years a Slave” would eventually win), though the NYFCC Best Picture has lined up with the Oscar Best Picture other years, as when it selected 2011’s “The Artist,” 2009’s “The Hurt Locker,” and 2007’s “No Country for Old Men.” The LAFCA’s Best Picture hasn’t lined up with the Oscars’ movie of the year since 2009, when it also selected “Locker.” However, all of the NYFCC's Best Pictures since 2007 have at least received a nomination for Best Picture at the Oscars and the LAFCA's selections have received nods for the past 10 years, so, if history is any indication, the odds are strong that "Boyhood" will be on the list when Best Picture Oscar nominees are announced.

And this does mean that “Boyhood” is still part of the awards season conversation – not always a given when a movie is released in July. The LAFCA selected Wes Anderson’s film “The Grand Budapest Hotel” as its runner-up for Best Picture, which may also provide the movie a boost. “Budapest” was released in March. By contrast, many awards season hopefuls, such as “Unbroken,” “Into the Woods,” “Big Eyes,” “Selma,” and “American Sniper,” have yet to hit theaters. 

Monitor film critic Peter Rainer awarded “Boyhood” an A grade and wrote of the film and its director Linklater, “I have long maintained that Richard Linklater is the most gifted and audacious director of his generation. His new movie, ‘Boyhood’… is a stunning reconfirmation.” 

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.