By Matt Neglia
So now with the National Board Of Review (NBR) and the New York Film Critics Circle (NYFCC) out of the way, we look towards the next really big critics organization in the Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA). They are notorious for their "outside the box" choices, recognizing under the radar and inspiring performances and pieces of work from the year in cinema. What will they go for this year? You're guess is as good as mine, but click below to see if we end up right anyway.
In examinging LAFCA's previous winners for Best Picture and Best Director (They also do runners up) here's what the past few years tell us...
Best Picture: "Spotlight" (Runner Up: "Mad Max: Fury Road")
Best Director: George Miller for "Mad Max: Fury Road" (Runner Up: Todd Haynes for "Carol")
Best Picture: "Spotlight"
Best Director: Alejandro G. Inarritu for "The Revenant"
LAFCA became the first critics organization to award "Spotlight" Best Picture last year and also matched Oscar with its award for Screenplay, also to "Spotlight." "The Revenant" was not necessarily a critics darling (81% RT & 76 Metacritic) and also had not opened yet at the box office where it generated its positive word of mouth with audiences and nearly built up enough steam to take down "Spotlight." Critics were championing "Mad Max: Fury Road" pretty hard (Especially George Miller in Director) which helped it to contend and win in many of the technical categories at the Oscars that year, but nothing above the line.
Best Picture: "Boyhood" (Runner Up: "The Grand Budapest Hotel")
Best Director: Richard Linklater for "Boyhood" (Runner Up: Wes Anderson for "The Grand Budapest Hotel")
Best Picture: "Birdman"
Best Director: Alejandro G. Inarritu for "Birdman"
No surprises here. Richard Linklater and "Boyhood" in general ran the gauntlet in critics awards throughout 2014 with "Birdman" winning occassionally here and there. Critics were very behind "Boyhood," awarding it Best Picture & Best Director awards at NYFCC, CFCA, BSFC, WAFCA and BFCA. It was not until we got to Phase 2 of the Oscar season that people started to recognize that "Boyhood" wasn't everything that the critics were hyping it up to be and they jumped ship to "Birdman" where that film went on to win the Industry Awards of PGA, DGA, SAG and eventually the Oscar as well. "The Grand Budapest Hotel" officially found its way into the awards season conversation starting here which lasted all the way up until the Oscars where like "Mad Max: Fury Road" it was nominated for a ton of Oscars and walked away with the majoritiy of the technical awards that year.
Best Picture: "Gravity" & "Her" (TIE)
Best Director: Alfonso Cuaron for "Gravity" (Runner Up: Spike Jonze for "Her")
Best Picture: "12 Years A Slave"
Best Director: Alfonso Cuaron for "Gravity"
What an interesting year this was. "Gravity" was always the number 2 to "12 Years A Slave" all season in the Best Picture category and gained some serious steam on it as well tying with it at the PGA and also winning the DGA for Director Alfonso Cuaron. It's no surprise that it won here (Along with "Her" which we're also not discounting). "12 Years A Slave" had just been the runner up at the NYFCC for Best Picture where it did win Best Director for Steve McQueen but this was pretty mcuh Cuaron's year for his technical achievement which ended up winning 7 Oscars in technical categories (Seeing a trend here?) along with Best Director. The conversation of "Gravity" potentially going all the way started here and it certainly came close.
Best Picture: "Amour" (Runner Up: "The Master")
Best Director: Paul Thomas Anderson for "The Master" (Runner Up: Kathryn Bigelow for "Zero Dark Thirty")
Best Picture: "Argo"
Best Director: Ang Lee for "Life Of Pi"
Another very odd year for the Oscars as Ben Affleck's Best Director snub came to define the entire year. "Zero Dark Thirty" was the early on critical favorite after winning Best Picture and Best Director from BSFC, CFCA, NBR, NFCC & WAFCA. However, a Phase 2 takedown attacking the film's more controversial aspects paved the way for the crowd pleasing "Argo" to triumph but Affleck's Director snub (As well as Bigelow's for "Zero Dark Thirty") allowed Ang Lee to win the Oscar after managing wins from only Kansas City Film Critics & London Film Critics Circle. LAFCA loves Paul Thomas Anderson (Even managing to award "Inherent Vice" for Best Music in 2014) so it's no surprise that he had a strong showing here with "The Master" despite that film not managing to get any Oscar nomiantions outside of acting for Pheonix, Hoffman and Adams. This is however, where we started to see the support for "Amour" which ended up surprising many becoming the first foreign language film since "Letters From Iwo Jima" to be nominated in Best Picture and Best Director at the Oscars.
Best Picture: "The Descendants" (Runner Up: "The Tree Of Life")
Best Director: Terrence Malick for "The Tree Of Life" (Runner Up: Martin Scorsese for "Hugo")
Best Picture: "The Artist"
Best Director: Michel Hazanavicius for "The Artist"
LAFCA has their favorites and Alexander Payne is one of them as they had previously awarded his film "Sideways" both Best Picture & best Director in 2004. So while "The Descendants" did win Best Picture here as well (Along with a runner up mention for screenplay), they instead turned their eyes towards more ambitious and technical works of art (Antoher trend here) with Terrence Malick and runner up Martin Scorsese. "The Artist" did not show up in any of their awards at all (Not even in the runners up), which is as we go back is the first time this has happened. It stands to reason that you can expect that whatever is our Best Picture winner this year, expect them to show up somewhere in their mentions tomorrow.
Best Picture: "The Social Network" (Runner Up: "Carlos")
Best Director: Oliver Assayas for "Carlos" & David Fincher for "The Social Network" (TIE)
Best Picture: "The King's Speech"
Best Director: Tom Hooper for "The King's Speech"
Much in the same way that "Boyhood" dominated Phase 1 of the awards season with its early on critics wins, nothing could stop "The Social Network." The film saw director David Fincher teaming up with writer Aaron Sorkin to create one of the best reviewed films of all time and when I say it dominated. It truly dominated, winning Best Picture and Director honors from NYFCC, NBR, BSFC, CFCA, FFCC, IFC, LVFCS, LFCC, NSFC, OFCC, OFCS, SFCC, SLFCA, UFCA, VFCC, WAFCA, BFCA & GG. It was unprecedented and eventually fatigue started to settle in and the unlikeable characters of "The Social Network" could not match the crowd pleasing and rousing "The King's Speech" backed by a successful awards campaign from Harvey Weinstein that urged audiences to find their voice in Phase 2.
So with all of that said, let's see where things stand so far...
"La La Land" - NYFCC
"Manchester By The Sea" - NBR
"Moonlight" - IFP
We all know beyond a shadow of a doubt that these three films will most likely pop up in at least in one place tomorrow whether it be in the actual awards winners or the runners up. My gut tells me that this is where they reward "Moonlight" with "La La Land" being the runner up. Before "Spotlight" LAFCA had not correctly predicted the Best Picture winner since 2009 with "The Hurt Locker" winning (Becoming the rare critical favorite to win the majority of the critics awards and survive Phase 2 of the awards season going on to eventually win Best Picture & Best Director). After that, you have to go all the way back to 1993 where "Schindler's List" won to find their last matching Best Picture winner.
If we assume that "La La Land" is going to win Best Picture, then I fully ecpect them to go for "Moonlight" and to possibly award Martin Scorsese Best Director for "Silence" seeing as how they came close to doing so in 2011 and did not in 2006 when he won the Oscar for "The Departed." The last time they awarded him, he won back in 1990 for "Goodfellas." My runner up option will most likely go to Barry Jenkins or Damien Chazelle but don't be surprised to...well be surprised.
Best Picture: "Moonlight" (Runner Up: "La La Land")
Best Director: Marttin Scorsese for "Silence" (Runner Up: Barry Jenkins for "Moonlight")
Best Actor: Casey Affleck for "Manchester By The Sea" (Runner Up: Viggo Mortensen for "Captain Fantastic")
Best Actress: Emma Stone for "La La Land" (Runner Up: Isabelle Huppert for "Elle")
Best Supporting Actor: Mahershala Ali for "Moonlight" (Runner Up: Adam Driver for "Silence")
Best Supporting Actress: Viola Davis for "Fences" (Runner Up: Naomie Harris for "Moonlight")
Best Screenplay: "Manchester By The Sea" (Runner Up: "Moonlight")
Best Cinematography: "Silence" (Runner Up: "La La Land")
Best Producton Design: "La La Land" (Runner Up: "Arrival")
Best Editing: "La La Land" (Runner Up: "Moonlight")
Best Music Score: "Moonlight" (Runner Up: "Arrival")
Best Foreign Language Film: "Toni Erdmann" (Runner Up: "Elle")
Best Documentary: "O.J.: Made In America" (Runner Up: "Gleason")
Best Animated Film: "Kubo & The Two Strings" (Runner Up: "Zootopia")
You can follow Matt and hear more of his thoughts on the Oscars and Film on Twitter at @NextBestPicture
Roma (8) - CFCA, LAFCA, NYFCC, NYFCO, PFCC, SFFCC, TFCA, WAFCA
The Favourite (2) - AFCC, BIFA
Black Panther - AAFCA
Eighth Grade - DFCS
Green Book - NBR
The Hate U Give - LAOFCS
Leave No Trace - SDFCS
The Rider - IFP
Alfonso Cuaron (6) - AFCC, CFCA, NYFCC, NYFCO, TFCA, WAFCA
Debra Granik (2) - LAFCA, SDFCS
Spike Lee (2) - LAOFCS, SFFCC
Bo Burnham - IFP
Ryan Coogler - AAFCA
Bradley Cooper - NBR
Barry Jenkins - PFCC
Yorgos Lanthimos - BIFA
Adam McKay - DFCS
Lynne Ramsey - LAOFCS
Ethan Hawke (11) - AFCC, CFCA, DFCS, IFP, LAFCA, NYFCC, NYFCO, SDFCS, SFFCC, TFCA, WFCC
Christian Bale - PFCC
Joe Cole - BIFA
Bradley Cooper - WAFCA
Rami Malek - LAOFCS
Viggo Mortensen - NBR
John David Washington - AAFCA
Olivia Colman (5) - AFCC, BIFA, LAFCA, TFCA, WFCC
Toni Collette (4) - CFCA, DFCS, IFP, LA OFCS
Lady Gaga (2) - NBR, WAFCA
Regina Hall (2) - AAFCA, NYFCC
Melissa McCarthy (2) - NYFCO, SFFCC
Glenn Close - SDFCS
Viola Davis - PFCC
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Richard E. Grant (5) - CFCA, NYFCC, NYFCO, PFCC, SDFCS
Mahershala Ali (2) - LAOFCS, WAFCA
Sam Elliott (2) - AFCC, NBR
Russell Hornsby (2) - AAFCA, LAOFCS
Steven Yeun (2) - LAFCA, TFCA
Timothee Chalamet - SDFCS
Josh Hamilton - DFCS
Michael B. Jordan - SFFCC
Alessandro Nivola - BIFA
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Regina King (11) - AAFCA, DFCS, LAFCA, LAOFCS, NBR, NYFCC, NYFCO, PFCC, SFFCC, TFCA, WAFCA
Olivia Colman - CFCA
Nicole Kidman - SDFCS
Emma Stone - AFCC
Rachel Weisz - BIFA
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
BlacKkKlansman (2) - AAFCA, SFFCC
Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2) - LAFCA, WAFCA
The Hate U Give (2) - LAOFCS, PFCC
If Beale Street Could Talk (2) - CFCA, NBR
The Death Of Stalin - SDFCS
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
First Reformed (6) - CFCA, IFP, NBR, NYFCC, SFFCC, TFCA
The Favourite (5) - AFCC, BIFA, NYFCO, TFCA, WAFCA
Vice (2) - DFCS, LAOFCS
Eighth Grade - SDFCS
Green Book - DFCS
Roma (9) - AFCC, CFCA, LAFCA, LAOFCS, NYFCC, NYFCO, PFCC, SFFCC, WAFCA
The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs - SDFCS
The Favourite - BIFA
The Rider - SDFCS
BEST COSTUME DESIGN
The Favourite (2) - BIFA, SDFCS
BEST FILM EDITING
American Animals - BIFA
First Man - WAFCA
Game Night - SDFCS
Minding The Gap - LAFCA
The Other Side Of The Wind - SFFCC
Roma - CFCA
Searching - LAOFCS
BEST MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING
The Favourite - BIFA
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
If Beale Street Could Talk (5) - CFCA, LAFCA, LAOFCS, NYFCO, WAFCA
BlacKkKlansman - SFFCC
Black Panther - HMMA
First Man - AFCC
Isle Of Dogs - HMMA
Mary Queen Of Scots - HMMA
You Were Never Really Here - BIFA
BEST ORIGINAL SONG
Black Panther (2) - AAFCA, HMMA
A Star Is Born (2) - HMMA, LAOFCS
RBG - HMMA
Sherlock Gnomes - HMMA
BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
Black Panther (3) - LAFCA, SFFCC, WAFCA
The Favourite (3) - BIFA, CFCA, SDFCS
BEST SOUND MIXING
You Were Never Really Here - BIFA
BEST SOUND EDITING
BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Avengers: Infinity War - LAOFCS
Early Man - BIFA
Ready Player One - SDFCS
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse (8) - AAFCA, CFCA, DFCS, LAFCA, LAOFCS, NYFCC, NYFCO, SFFCC
Isle Of Dogs (3) - SDFCS, TFCA, WAFCA
Incredibles 2 (2) - NBR, PFCC
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
Roma (7) - AAFCA, AFCC, CFCA, LAOFCS, PFCC, SFFCC, WAFCA
Cold War (3) - NBR, NYFCC, NYFCO
Burning (2) - LAFCA, TFCA
Shoplifters (2) - LAFCA, SDFCS
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Won't You Be My Neighbor? (8) - AFCC, CC, LAOFCS, NYFCO, PFCC, SFFCC, TFCA, WAFCA
Minding The Gap (3) - CFCA, IDA, NYFCC
Three Identical Strangers - (2) DFCS, SDFCS
Hale County This Morning, This Evening - IFP
Quincy - AAFCA
RBG - NBR
Shirkers - LAFCA