Historically, the West coast critics have feted different films and performances than those that merited mention by the Gotham crowd. For example, last year the New York Film Critics Circle (NYFCC) embraced “Lady Bird” while the Los Angeles Film Critics Assn. loved “Call Me By Your Name.” But we think the two groups will align this year.
The big winner with the New Yorkers was “Roma,” which won Best Picture as well as both director and cinematography for Alfonso Cuaron. We are predicting that his intimate film will do as well with the L.A. crowd on Sunday winning Best Picture, Director and Actress (Yalitza Aparicio). See the complete list of odds for the LAFCA Awards.
While we should certainly pay attention to the choices of the West Coast based scribes, we need to remember that over the course of its 43-year history, LAFCA has predicted only nine winners of the Best Picture Oscar. Granted two of those double dippers were very recently. While their top pick last year lost (“The Shape of Water” was tops with the academy) the L.A. critics did foresee the (eventual) win by “Moonlight” in 2017 and that of “Spotlight” in 2016.
Before that, LAFCA last aligned with the academy in 2010, the first year of the expanded Best Picture race, when both bodies (as well as the NYFCC) went with “The Hurt Locker.” Prior to that, the last time that these California critics predicted the top Oscar winner was way back in 1994 when “Schindler’s List” ran the board, also winning NYFCC and NBR before triumphing at the Oscars.
The other Best Picture winners that were recognized first by these west coast critics were: “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” (1976, tied with “Dog Day Afternoon” here); “Rocky” (1977, tied with “Network” here); “Kramer vs. Kramer” (1980); “Amadeus” (1985) and “Unforgiven” (1993).
Be sure to check out how our experts rank this year’s Oscar contenders. Then take a look at the most up-to-date combined odds before you make your own Oscar predictions. Don’t be afraid to jump in now since you can keep changing your predictions until just before nominations are announced on January 22.