Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards winners: ‘Drive My Car’ wins Best Picture

The Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA) announced the winners of their 47th annual awards on Sunday (Dec. 20). These California-based reviewers are the second major critics group to reveal their list of winners, as their New York counterparts went first last Friday (Dec. 3). The Gotham critics named the Japanese import “Drive My Car” as Best Picture and the Cali crew concurred. Directed by Ryûsuke Hamaguchi, “Drive My Car” tells the story of a stage actor and director who is happily married to a playwright, who mysteriously disappears.

Last year the west coasters opted to award their top prize to a TV series: “Small Axe,” a 5-part anthology series that streamed on Amazon.  In 2019, LAFCA previewed the Best Picture winner at the Academy Awards when it went with “Parasite.” Prior to that the L.A. critics had lined up with the Oscars in both 2016 and 2017, when they foretold the upsets by “Spotlight” and “Moonlight” over frontrunners “The Revenant” and “La La Land,” respectively. In 2018, the Los Angeles crowd went for “Roma,” while the academy favored “Green Book.”

The group has only correctly predicted the eventual Academy Award champ eight other years: “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” (1976), “Rocky” (1977), “Kramer vs. Kramer” (1980), “Terms of Endearment” (1984), “Amadeus” (1985), “Unforgiven” (1993), “Schindler’s List” (1994) and “The Hurt Locker” (2010). So while these kudos may give a contender a major boost, they’re not exactly an accurate barometer when it comes to winning your office Oscar pool.

Like the New York Film Critics Circle, the members of the LAFCA met for a marathon voting session that led to multiple ballots for each race.

Earlier this year, “Drive My Car” had picked up some laurels at the Cannes Film Festival, so now award-watchers must think: Can another Japanese language film really win Best Picture at the Oscars so soon after the triumphs of “Parasite”?

Other big news emerging from the critics’ kudos voting was the rally for Penelope Cruz (in Pedro Almodovar’s “Parallel Mothers”). This is just the kind of bump she needed to get her closer to an Oscar nomination after she’d been overlooked earlier this awards season.

Below, the full list of Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards winners for 2021, and the runners-up in each race.

BEST PICTURE
“Drive My Car”
Runner-up: “The Power of the Dog”

BEST DIRECTOR
Jane Campion, “The Power of the Dog”
Runner-up: Ryusuke Hamaguchi, “Drive My Car”

BEST ACTOR
Simon Rex, “Red Rocket”
Runner-up: Benedict Cumberbatch, “The Power of the Dog”

BEST ACTRESS
Penelope Cruz, “Parallel Mothers”
Runner-up: Renate Reinsve, “The Worst Person in the World”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR (tie)
Vincent Lindon, “Titane” and
Kodi Smit-McPhee, “The Power of the Dog”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Ariana DeBose, “West Side Story”
Runner-up: Aunjanue Ellis, “King Richard”

BEST SCREENPLAY
Ryusuke Hamaguchi and Takamasa Oe, “Drive My Car”
Runner-up: Paul Thomas Anderson,  “Licorice Pizza”

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Ari Wegner, “The Power of the Dog”
Runner-up: Greig Fraser, “Dune”

BEST FILM EDITING
Joshua L. Pearson, “Summer of Soul”
Runner-up: Andy Jurgensen, “Licorice Pizza”

BEST SCORE
Alberto Iglesias, “Parallel Mothers”
Runner-up: Jonny Greenwood, “The Power of the Dog”

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
Steve Saklad, “Barb and Star Go To Vista Del Mar”
Runner-up: Tamara Deverell, “Nightmare Alley”

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
“Flee”
Runner-up: “Belle”

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
“Summer of Soul”
Runner-up: “Procession”

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
“Petite Maman”
Runner-up: “Quo Vadis, Aida?”

NEW GENERATION (tie)
Shatara Michelle Ford, “Test Pattern”
Tatiana Huezo, “Prayers for the Stolen”

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