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Les Misérables Doomed?! What We Learned About the Oscar Race From the New York Film Critics Circle Awards

Zero Dark Thirty, Les Miserables, Lincoln  DreamWorks, Universal Pictures

Zero Dark Thirty was named Best Picture. Daniel Day-Lewis and his Lincoln wife, Sally Field, won Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress, respectively. Matthew McConaughey earned Best Supporting Actor for a year of star turns in Magic Mike and Bernie, and Rachel Weisz was tapped Best Actress for a movie that may not have been on your radar, The Deep Blue Sea.

A breakdown of Monday's New York Film Critics Circle Awards—what they were, and what they mean to the Oscar race:

Polling Lincoln's Oscar chances

1. Les Misérables, Argo and Silver Linings Playbook Will Be Fine: No, they didn't win anything, but, yes, you should still consider them frontrunners. The critics' awards, especially the tough crowd that is the New York group, are not the Oscars. And they're certainly not the Golden Globes. If the Hollywood Foreign Press doesn't wave the Les Mis flag at that group's nominations next week then Anne Hathaways friends and family can panic. (Fun factoid: West Side Story, released 51 years ago, was the last movie musical to rate with the New York Critics Circle.)

2. Zero Dark Thirty May Be Even Finer Than You Thought: Three years ago, the Big Apple writers gave Kathryn Bigalow's The Hurt Locker a big boost, and they no doubt did the same thing today with her new Osama Bin Laden movie, which had been figured to have an outside shot at a Best Picture Oscar nod. In addition to the top movie prize, the critics voted Zero Dark Thirty Best Director and Best Cinematography, and gave the film's marketing team some invaluable material.  

3. Lincoln Means Business: You already knew that, but to win over the New Yorkers (the movie tied with Zero Dark Thirty for most awards, with three, including one for Tony Kushner's screenplay) and be a box-office hit is really something, and even the mighty Steven Spielberg hasn't been onto something like this in a good while.

Rounding up Zero Dark Thirty's early-bird reviews

4. It Is Day-Lewis' Oscar to Lose: You already knew that, too, but it's nice to have independent verification.

5. Field Is a Serious Contender; Weisz Isn't: Things can change, but that's how things stand now, and, especially with regards to the crowded Best Actress race, the New York Film Critics Circle Awards alone isn't going to alter the course.   

6. Next Awards Season, Not This Awards Season, Will Be McConaughey's Awards Season: Now he's getting respect, an important step, but not the leap he's going to need to vault ahead of the likes of Lincoln's Tommy Lee Jones at the Academy Awards. Next year, with the release of Dallas Buyers Club, the AIDS-medical drama that he's gone gaunt for, he'll be set to jump. Mind you, none of this is to say that it wouldn't be totally cool for McConaughey to win this coming winter for playing Magic Mike's impresario because obviously it would, but Oscars voters being Oscar voters—which is to say as old as Mitt Romney's base—it's not going to happen.

Here's a look at all the winners of the 2012 New York Film Critics Circle Awards:

Movie: Zero Dark Thirty

Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln

Actress: Rachel Weisz, The Deep Blue Sea

Supporting Actress: Sally Field, Lincoln

Supporting Actor: Matthew McConaughey, Bernie and Magic Mike

Director: Kathryn Bigalow, Zero Dark Thirty

Screenplay: Tony Kushner, Lincoln

Cinematographer: Greig Fraser, Zero Dark Thirty

Animated Film: Frankenweenie

Foreign Film: Amour

Documentary: The Central Park Five

First Film: How to Survive a Plague

Any future contenders in this bunch?

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