LA Film Critics Assn. predictions: ’12 Years a Slave,’ Matthew McConaughey …

On Tuesday, the New York Film Critics Circle went with “American Hustle” for Best Picture. And on Wednesday, the National Board of Review picked “Her” as the top pick of the year.

Both prevailed over the heavily-favored “12 Years a Slave.” Will the Los Angeles Film Critics Assn. finally hand this Oscar frontrunner its first win of the awards season? 

As of now, this biopic is still widely expected to be named Best Picture. Indeed, two of our four Experts, five of our seven Editors, 11 of our Top 24 Users from last year and two-thirds of All Users are predicting it to prevail. That gives it overwhelming odds of 5 to 6, far ahead of “Gravity.” That blockbuster has the backing of one Expert, two Editors, six of the Top 24 and 15% of All Users which translates into odds of 10 to 3.  

However, “Gravity” helmer Alfonso Cuaron is tipped to take Best Director over Steve McQueen (“12 Years a Slave”) who won with the Gotham critics on Tuesday. One Experts, three Editors, 16 of the Top 24 and half of All Users back Cuaron. That translates into odds of 11 to 8 while McQueen is in second with odds of 3 to 2. 

The race for Best Actor is led by Matthew McConaughey (“Dallas Buyers Club“) with Chiwetel Ejiofor (“12 Years a Slave”) a strong second. However, don’t discount two Hollywood veterans — NYFCC champ Robert Redford (“All is Lost“) and NBR winner Bruce Dern (“Nebraska) — either of whom could be a possible spoiler. 

While NYFCC winner Cate Blanchett (“Blue Jasmine“) remains the Oscars favorite for Best Actress, LAFCA has a history of going with foreign-language performances in this category. Hence, the strong showing by Gallic beauty Adele Exarchopoulos (“Blue is the Warmest Color“) who leads with four Experts, five Editors, 16 of the Top 24 and half of All Users predicting her to win. That support gives her odds of 4 to 11, far ahead of Blanchett at 4 to 1

Jared Leto (“Dallas Buyers Club”) is likely to add this award to his NYFCC trophy as he has a clear lead in Supporting Actor. His odds of 2 to 5 have him well ahead of  Michael Fassbender (“12 Years a Slave”) who has odds of 4 to 1.

Fassbender’s co-star Lupita Nyongo has a sizeable lead in Supporting Actress with odds of 8 to 13 compared to 10 to 1 for Oprah Winfrey (“The Butler”). However, Jennifer Lawrence (“American Hustle“) could well surprise here as she did at the NYFCC.

Last year, the Southern California group chose “Amour” as Best Picture while that film’s leading lady Emmanuelle Riva tied Jennifer Lawrence (“Silver Linings Playbook”) for Best Actress. Lawrence went on to win the Oscar over, among others, Riva. The big winner was “The Master,” which took Best Director (Paul Thomas Anderson), Actor (Joaquin Phoenix), Supporting Actress (Amy Adams) and Production Design. While the performers went to compete at the Oscars, the helmer and production designers did not. Dwight Henry won Supporting Actor for “Beasts of the Southern Wild” but was snubbed by the Oscars. 

In this group’s recent history, the Best Actress category has been a sore spot in terms of predicting Oscar success. Prior to last year, the previous five winners were snubbed by the Oscars: Yun Jung-Hee (“Poetry,” 2011), 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).

While Phoenix reaped an Oscar bid, 2011 champ Fassbender, who won for four films, was snubbed by the Oscars. Prior to that the L.A. critics 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).

Below, begin your predictions for the LAFCA Awards by forecasting the winner of Best Picture.

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