Last year, the New York Film Critics Online (NYFCO) spread their annual awards around. Only Crashreceived more than one mention, for screenplay and debut director (both won by Paul Haggis), and only three of their picks went on to coincide with Oscar wins (best actor, best screenplay and best animated film). This year things were different. For one thing, the group has named The Queenfor five of its awards, including picture, director and actress. For another thing, they have a good chance to foreshadow the Oscar wins for both primary acting categories. With all their recognition so far, it seems almost a lock for both Helen Mirren and Forest Whitaker. The rest of their picks, however, may not match up too well. For instance, I doubt The Illusionist will be so well represented (NYFCO gave it two awards), and I also am not sure that The Queen will be favored to win so big. Although, the L.A. critics were also very good to The Queen's screenplay and its supporting actor, Michael Sheen.

Not that the NYFCO has to have anything to do with the Oscars, right? Fact is, they aren't even included in MetaCritic's awards season checklist. But, that doesn't mean their voice isn't important. While some people may think there are too many critics societies already out there handing out awards, with the NYFCO sometimes even being confused with the Online Film Critic Society (OFCS), I say the more the merrier. Film critics awards will always be more interesting than the Oscars because they are less self-congratulatory and less political and less a popularity contest. The NYFCO shouldn't be discredited for having less-familiar critics in their membership either. Some of the names in the group include Ed Gonzalez, Kurt Loder, David Edelstein, Rex Reed, Dana Stevens and Armond White. Anyway, I love looking at all the different critics awards because normally they are all fairly different from each other with their choices (last year's seemed closer than usual, however). It's amazing to me how critical response can change with region (at least it appears that way -- it probably just depends on the individual members). The one thing I don't like about them is that they rarely include their best doc pick in their list of best films.

Check out the full list of winners, as well as the group's Top 10, after the jump (Hey New York, where's your love for Scorsese?).