The Los Angeles Film Critics Assn. named the winners of their 37th annual kudos on Sunday.
“Zero Dark Thirty,” which had won big at both the New York Film Critics Circle and the National Board of Review, took only the inaugural Editing award.
Below, a category-by-category breakdown of this new batch of precursor prizes:
BEST PICTURE: "Amour"
The Best Picture race at the Oscars has a new contender in “Amour.” Since winning the Palme d’Or at Cannes in May, there has been some talk of Michael Haneke’s film crossing over into major categories at the Oscars. The film is a lock for a Best Foreign Language Film nomination, and has won several precursor prizes as such.
Since LAFCA was formed in 1975, only seven of their picks for best pic have repeated at the Oscars: “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” (1975), “Kramer vs. Kramer” (1979), “Terms of Endearment” (1983), “Amadeus” (1984), “Unforgiven” (1992), “Schindler’s List” (1993), and “The Hurt Locker” (2009).
However, only seven of their choices have not been nominated for Best Picture: “Brazil” (1985), “Little Dorrit” (1988), “Do the Right Thing” (1989), “Leaving Las Vegas” (1995), “About Schmidt” (2002), “American Splendor” (2003), and “Wall-E” (2008).
“Amour” is certainly a contender for a nomination. But beware: since 1927, only eight foreign-language films have been nominated for Best Picture: “Grand Illusion” (1938), “Z” (1969), “The Emigrants” (1972), “Cries and Whispers” (1973), “Il Postino” (1995), “Life is Beautiful” (1998), “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” (2000), and “Letters from Iwo Jima” (2006).
BEST DIRECTOR: Paul Thomas Anderson, “The Master”
The Best Director race has been given some variety in the form of Anderson, whose film “The Master” came out strong in September but faded fast. This puts him back into a very competitive race, even if “The Master” doesn’t make it into Best Picture.
BEST ACTOR: Joaquin Phoenix, “The Master”
A much-needed boost for Phoenix, whose buzz has been slipping ever since his much-publicized diss of the Oscar race. He needs this kind of recognition to stay in the top five.
BEST ACTRESS: Jennifer Lawrence, “Silver Linings Playbook”/Emmanuelle Riva, “Amour”
Lawrence scores her first award of the season, albeit in a tie with Riva. Riva seems like a likely nominee at this point, while Lawrence and Chastain will continue to duke it out for the win.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Dwight Henry, “Beasts of the Southern Wild”
As Henry was deemed ineligible for a nomination at SAG (as was costar Quvenzhane Wallis) due to union regulations, a win here helps bring him back in the conversation. However, his victory may do more to help the film get into Best Picture than anything else.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Amy Adams, “The Master”
Adams takes her first prize of the season for “The Master.” She has been nominated three times in this category at the Oscars -- “Junebug” (2005), “Doubt” (2008) and “The Fighter” (2010) -- but has yet to win. She is a likely nominee this year. Front-runner Anne Hathaway (“Les Miserables”) was named runner-up by LAFCA.
BEST SCREENPLAY: Chris Terrio, “Argo”
The Adapted Screenplay race gets interesting as Terrio could face off against LAFCA runner-up David O. Russell (“Silver Linings Playbook”). Over on the adapted side, “Lincoln’s” Tony Kushner still leads the pack.
BEST EDITING: "Zero Dark Thirty"
The one award “Zero Dark Thirty” took from LAFCA is also its likeliest win at the Oscars. Co-editor William Goldenberg was also named runner-up for his work on “Argo.”
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: "Skyfall"
Roger Deakins is one of Hollywood’s most overdue veterans. After nine nominations, many are expecting “Skyfall” to finally bring him an Oscar. His win here is a good indication of things to come.
BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN: The Master
One nomination “The Master” is almost certain to get is for veteran production designer Jack Fisk. The Academy loves period pictures, and even those who don’t like the film acknowledge its handsome design.
BEST SCORE: "Beasts of the Southern Wild"
Another feather in their cap. The Original Score category could be the perfect place to honor writer-director-composer Benh Zeitlin.
BEST ANIMATED FILM: "Frankenweenie"
Tim Burton’s film continues to dominated. Is there anything that could beat it?
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: "Holy Motors"
“Holy Motors” is not eligible for an Oscar nomination in this category as France submitted “The Intouchables." However, that doesn’t mean it isn’t in contention for other awards: Denis Levant was runner-up for Best Actor, which could be a good sign.
BEST DOCUMENTARY: "The Gatekeepers"
This is on the Academy’s shortlist.
NEW GENERATION AWARD: Benh Zeitlin, “Beasts of the Southern Wild”
His film continues to regain the buzz it generated at Sundance.
Earliest Oscars Predictions Ever
Our Oscarologists are busy updating their predictions as they see more and more contenders. Make your early picks now -- click here -- and change them later as the derby heats up.