UPDATED, 10:14 AM: Well, that didn’t take long. A day after the Broadcast Film Critics Association polled its members about whether to add Star Wars: The Force Awakens to the Best Picture nominees for its Critics’ Choice Awards, the answer is yes. “While making an amendment to the Critics’ Choice Awards nominations is highly unusual, having an 11th Best Picture nominee is not unprecedented,” the group said today. “In 2000, Cast Away was similarly screened too late for normal consideration and the BFCA included it among 11 Best Picture nominees.” Details are in our previous post below.
PREVIOUSLY, December 18: The Broadcast Film Critics Association might be Forced to make an unprecedented move. The group sent an email to its members this morning saying it will poll them next week “to determine whether we should add Star Wars: The Force Awakens to our list of Critics’ Choice Award nominees for Best Picture.”
The film was left off the group’s nominations list entirely because its members had not seen it. Usually, BFCA members see every movie early on, because it includes journalists who attend junkets, where many films get their first screenings. But Disney was adamant about not screening The Force Awakens for anyone until Monday’s premiere in Hollywood. So earlier that day, the BFCA went ahead with its scheduled nominations announcement, without its members having seen the juggernaut J.J. Abrams film.
By contrast, the AFI usually unveils its list of the year’s 10 best films around the time the Golden Globes and SAG Awards reveal their nominees. But the group this year postponed its announcement until two days after the Force Awakens premiere, and the new Star Wars pic ended up making the list.
The BFCA’s email only specifies considering The Force Awakens for its Best Picture nominations, but it is one of the rare critics’ groups that also doles out awards in technical categories such as cinematography, visual effects, even hair and makeup. No word on whether the new Disney film also will be eligible for those Critics’ Choice Awards.
Another reason the BCFA might be reconsidering its Star Wars strategy: The 21st annual Critics’ Choice Awards will air live January 17 on A&E, Lifetime and LMN. No doubt a Best Picture nom for The Force Awakens could boost viewer interest in the telecast.
Here is the group’s email:
To the BFCA Membership,
In the wake of an unprecedented cry out from you – the BFCA Membership – the Board of Directors has decided to poll the membership on Monday to determine whether we should add “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” to our list of Critics’ Choice Award nominees for Best Picture.
The question will be: If you had seen “The Force Awakens” before casting your Critics’ Choice Awards ballot, would you have included it in your five choices for Best Picture?
As you know, the studio chose not to screen the film for awards voters in advance of its premiere on Monday. However, our purpose in presenting the Critics’ Choice Awards is to celebrate the finest cinematic achievements of the year. It appears that many members believe “The Force Awakens” deserves to be included.
In this unique situation, we think this is the best way to proceed.
Onward and upward!