Because the New York Film Critics Circle doesn't formally announce a list of runners-up, we couldn't help but wonder what films and performances just missed out on getting awards at today's vote. But thanks to one of NYFCC's members, we now know how close "The Artist" got to not winning Best Picture. Turns out it was pretty close -- and it could have lost to a movie that's its complete tonal opposite, Lars von Trier's "Melancholia."
The New York Post's Lou Lumineck confided that after this morning's first ballot, the feel-good comedy "The Artist" and the feel-really-bummed-out "Melancholia" were tied with 27 points each. (In third place was "Hugo.") If the voting process for the organization remains similar to the way it was a few years ago, a winner is determined after the top vote getter is on a majority of ballots. On a second ballot, "The Artist" took the lead on "Melancholia," 40-33, and then on the third ballot it was declared the victor, 44-35. Best Director was just as close, with those three films' directors -- Michel Haznavicius for "The Artist," von Trier for "Melancholia" and Martin Scorsese for "Hugo" -- all duking it out over three ballots before Haznavicius was declared the victor.
The Projector, like dozens of other sites, immediately responded to "The Artist's" win by suggesting what it "meant" for the Weinstein Company silent film. And while what we wrote still holds true -- between the NYFCC triumph and the Spirit Award nominations, it's been a great day for "The Artist" -- it's funny to think that, if not for a vote here or there, we all would have been wasting a ton of bandwidth discussing "Melancholia" instead. History won't remember that, though: Today is all about "The Artist." But von Trier's fans -- and definitely Magnolia -- will probably spend a few moments pondering how close they got.