‘Black Swan’ leads Critics’ Choice award nominees

* “Black Swan” gets record 12 nominations

* Critics’ Choice Awards a reliable Oscar barometer

* “King’s Speech,” “True Grit” also major contenders

LOS ANGELES, Dec 13 (BestGrowthStock) – “Black Swan,” a melodrama
set in the ballet world, took center stage among the nominees
for the Critics’ Choice Movie Awards, an event that has
surpassed the Golden Globes as a leading Oscar predictor.

The film, drawing sell-out crowds in early limited release
across North America, scored 12 nominations — a record in the
event’s 16-year history, organizers said on Monday.

Close behind — with 11 each — were the British royals
drama “The King’s Speech” and the yet-to-open Western remake
“True Grit.” The sci-fi smash “Inception” picked up 10
nominations, and corporate drama “The Social Network” nine.

All five will vie for both best picture and director, along
with “127 Hours.” The 10-strong best picture race also includes
“The Fighter,” “The Town,” “Toy Story 3” and “Winter’s Bone.”

Small art-house releases dominated the field, leaving “Toy
Story 3” and “Inception” to fly the flag for mainstream
crowd-pleasers. Notably absent among the nominees were such
awards-season contenders as Sofia Coppola’s upcoming
“Somewhere” and the Martin Scorsese hit “Shutter Island.”

Winners will be announced on Jan. 14 in a Hollywood
ceremony that will be broadcast live on cable channel VH1.

The awards, organized by the 250 members of the Broadcast
Film Critics Association in the United States and Canada, have
matched the Academy Awards’ best picture choice eight times in
the past 10 years. The Golden Globes, run by the considerably
smaller Hollywood Foreign Press Association, have a 50 percent
success rate in that time.

The crossover rate for the Critics’ Choice directing winner
is 70 percent compared with 40 percent for the Globes. Also in
the last 10 years, at least half the Critics’ Choice acting
winners have gone on to claim Oscar gold.

HOLD THE CHAMPAGNE

But the cast and crew of “Black Swan” should not start
celebrating yet. Ominously, the top Critics’ Choice nominee is
often snubbed at the group’s awards ceremony.

Earlier this year “Inglourious Basterds” and “Nine,” which
led the field with a then-record 10 nominations each, were
overshadowed by “The Hurt Locker,” which went on to dominate
the Oscars.

It was the same story in 2009, when “Slumdog Millionaire”
came from behind to beat “Milk” and “The Curious Case of
Benjamin Button” and then bask in Oscar glory. The year before,
“Into the Wild” led the nominees but went home empty-handed. It
was also ignored by the Oscars.

“Black Swan” stars Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis as rival
ballerinas in a New York City production of “Swan Lake.” They
received nominations for best actress and supporting actress,
respectively. Director Darren Aronofsky was also nominated.

“King’s Speech” star Colin Firth will vie for best actor
with Jeff Bridges of “True Grit,” which opens on Dec. 22. The
field also includes Robert Duvall (“Get Low”), Jesse Eisenberg
(“The Social Network”), James Franco (“127 Hours”) and Ryan
Gosling (“Blue Valentine”).

Whoever wins that category should probably start writing an
Oscar acceptance speech. The Critics’ Choice Movie Awards best
actor has gone on to win the same title at the Academy Awards
for seven years running.
(Reporting by Dean Goodman; Editing by Eric Walsh)

‘Black Swan’ leads Critics’ Choice award nominees