The Los Angeles Film Critics Association, which announced its winners on Sunday, has a spotty record at crystal-balling the Oscars. Indeed, in its 40-year history, LAFCA has only predicted seven winners of the Best Picture Oscar. The last of these was Kathryn Bigelow's "The Hurt Locker" in 2009. However, this year's champ, "Spotlight," is far out in front at the Oscars, according to our 22 Experts drawn from major media who cover this beat year-round.
Last year, "Boyhood" was the big winner with LAFCA taking Best Picture, Director (Richard Linklater), Actress (Patricia Arquette) and Editing; only Arquette went on to claim an Oscar and that was down in the supporting category. The group all but snubbed "Birdman," which swept the Oscars (Best Picture, Director, Original Screenplay) by awarding it only Best Cinematography.
In 2013, they went with two films — "Gravity" and "Her" — for Best Picture over eventual Oscar champ "12 Years a Slave." In 2012, these left coasters named "Amour" as their favorite flick. While that French-language film went on to reap an Oscar bid, the winner of the top Academy Award was "Argo."
Prior to "The Hurt Locker," the last time that LAFCA predicted the top Oscar winner was way back in 1993 when "Schindler's List" ran the board, also winning NYFCC and NBR before triumphing at the Oscars. The other Best Picture winners that were first recognized by these critics were: "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" (1975, tied with "Dog Day Afternoon" here); "Rocky" (1976, tied with "Network" here); "Kramer vs. Kramer" (1979); "Amadeus" (1984) and "Unforgiven" (1992).
In 2013, "Gravity" helmer Alfonso Cuaron became just the 12th Best Director Oscar champ that LAFCA foresaw. The 2012 L.A. champ — Paul Thomas Anderson ("The Master") — wasn't even nominated at the Oscars.
These Los Angeles-based critics do better presaging who will win the acting awards at the Oscars.
They've gotten Best Actor right 21 out of 40 times. Their pick last year — Tom Hardy ("Locke") — was not on Oscars radar. However, the 2013 winner with the L.A. crowd, Bruce Dern ("Nebraska"), did reap an Oscar bid and 2012 winner Joaquin Phoenix was a surprise Oscar nominee for "The Master. The 2011 champ, Michael Fassbender, was not nominated by the academy for any of his leading performances ("A Dangerous Method," "Jane Eyre," "Shame" and "X-Men: First Class"). The last time they foresaw an Oscar champ was in 2010 with Colin Firth ("The King's Speech").
In 2013, Cate Blanchett ("Blue Jasmine") became the 14th LAFCA Best Actress winner who went on to claim the Oscar in that category; she had tied here with Adèle Exarchopoulos ("Blue Is the Warmest Colour") who was snubbed by the academy. The two LAFCA winners in 2012 — Jennifer Lawrence ("Silver Linings Playbook") and Emmanuelle Riva ("Amour") — both went on to contend at the Oscars with Lawrence prevailing.
Sixteen of the LAFCA choices for Supporting Actor repeated at the Oscars, including last year's winner J.K. Simmons ("Whiplash"). In 2013, Jared Leto ("Dallas Buyers Club"). He had tied here with James Franco ("Spring Breakers") who was not nominated for an Oscar. Prior to that, the last LA winner to go on to an Oscar was Christopher Plummer ("Beginners") in 2011.
Likewise, 14 of the group's Supporting Actress winners picked up matching Oscar bookends, the most recent of which was 2013's double champ Lupita Nyongo ("12 Years a Slave"). In 2012, LAFCA cited Amy Adams who went on to contend at the Oscars for "The Master." In 2011, Jessica Chastain won over the LA critics with six films: "Coriolanus," "The Debt," "The Help," "Take Shelter," "Texas Killing Fields" and "The Tree of Life." She contended at the Oscars for "The Help" but lost to co-star Octavia Spencer.
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