The Los Angeles Film Critics Assn. Awards will be revealed on Dec. 8, five days after the Gotham critics weigh in with their picks. To predict the winners of these awards, you need to look beyond your Oscar forecast. Although based in filmdom’s capital, this group is disconnected from the more mainstream academy voters.
Last year, LAFCA went their own way, naming “Amour” as the Best Picture of the year after NYFCC and the National Board of Review had gone with “Zero Dark Thirty.” Both films went on to lose the top Oscar race to “Argo.”
“The Master,” runner-up for the top prize with LAFCA, won four awards: Best Director (Paul Thomas Anderson), Best Actor (Joaquin Phoenix), Best Supporting Actress (Amy Adams) and Production Design. Only the two performers reaped Oscar bids.
LAFCA’s love for “The Master” denied eventual Oscar champ Daniel Day-Lewis his fourth Best Actor prize from this group for “Lincoln.” He had previously prevailed for “My Left Foot” (1989); “Gangs of New York” (2002); and “There Will Be Blood” (2007) and went on to win the Oscar for the first and last of these.
While “Amour” did not win Best Foreign Film — that went to “Holy Motors” whose star, Denis Lavant, was the runner-up for Best Actor — its leading lady Emmanuelle Riva did share the Best Actress award with Jennifer Lawrence (“Silver Linings Playbook“) who went on to beat her for the Oscar.
Two years ago, the Southern California group chose eventual Oscar nominee “The Descendants” as Best Picture, continuing their love affair with writer/director Alexander Payne. His previous two films — “Sideways” (2004) and “About Schmidt” (2002) — each won this top prize while his first film, “Election,” earned him and collaborator Jim Taylor the New Generation Award in 1999. The pair also won screenplay honors for both “About Schmidt” and “Sideways” while Payne picked up the Best Director prize for the latter. However, Asghar Farhadi (“A Separation”) claimed the Best Screenplay award over eventual Oscar winners Payne as well as Nat Faxon and Jim Rash who adapted “The Descendants.”
The Best Director award went to Terrence Malick who helmed “The Tree of Life,” which was the runner-up for Best Picture. Martin Scorsese (“Hugo”) was in second place. Both men ended up losing the Oscar to “The Artist” helmer Michael Hazanavicius. That homage to silent films also won Best Picture, Actor (Jean Dujardin), Score and Costume Design at the Oscars.
LAFCA cited Michael Fassbender for his leading performances in four films (“A Dangerous Method,” “Jane Eyre,” “Shame,” and “X-Men: First Class”) while Yun Jung-Hee was named Best Actress for “Poetry.” Michael Shannon (“Take Shelter”) was the Best Actor runner-up while Cannes champ Kirsten Dunst (“Melancholia”) came in second place among the leading ladies. None of them contended at the Oscars.
Christopher Plummer picked up another Supporting Actor prize for “Beginners” on his march to the Oscar while Jessica Chastain edged out Janet McTeer (“Albert Nobbs”) to win a bookend for her NYFCC award. The LA critics listed six films next to Chastain’s name: “Coriolanus,” “The Debt,” “The Help,” “Take Shelter,” “Texas Killing Fields” and “The Tree of Life.” Both women lost the Oscar to Octavia Spencer (“The Help”).
Below, begin your predictions for the LAFCA Awards by forecasting the winner of Best Picture.