The Los Angeles Film Critics will announce their 2012 winners on Dec. 9.
Last year, the Southern California group chose "The Descendants" as Best Picture, continuing their love affair with writer/director Alexander Payne. His last 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.
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. Asghar Farhadi ("A Separation") claimed the Best Screenplay award over Payne as well as Nat Faxon and Jim Rash who adapted "The Descendants."
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.
Christopher Plummer picked up another Supporting Actor prize for "Beginners" (Patton Oswalt of "Young Adult" was second) and 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."
Of those winners, Plummer went on to an Oscar win a few weeks later. Chastain was nominated for "The Help," Farhadi for his screenplay, Malick for directing, and "The Descendants" for Best Picture. Fassbender and Jung-Hee did not receive bids from Academy Awards voters.
For this year's awards cycle, some of the major contenders who have had good success with the L.A. critics are Daniel Day-Lewis ("Lincoln") with three career wins and Robert De Niro ("Silver Linings Playbook"), Holly Hunter ("Won't Back Down"), Bill Murray ("Hyde Park on Hudson"), and Steven Spielberg ("Lincoln") with two apiece.
In this group's recent history, the Best Actress category has been a sore spot in terms of predicting Oscar success. In addition to Jeong-Hee last year, they have completely missed out the past four years on nominations: Kim Hye-Ja ("Mother," 2010), Yolande Moreau ("Seraphine," 2009), and Sally Hawkins ("Happy-Go-Lucky," 2008). Only three ladies out of the past dozen winners have won Oscars the same year: Marion Cotillard ("La Vie en Rose," 2007), Helen Mirren ("The Queen," 2006), and Julia Roberts ("Erin Brockovich," 2000).
Before Fassbender's snub last year, the L.A. critics had correctly predicted six Best Actor winners in a row: Colin Firth ("The King's Speech," 2010), Jeff Bridges ("Crazy Heart," 2009), Sean Penn ("Milk," 2008), Day-Lewis ("There Will Be Blood," 2007), Forest Whitaker ("The Last King of Scotland," 2006), and Philip Seymour Hoffman ("Capote," 2005).