The LAFCA (Los Angeles Film Critics Association) is inarguably an important critics prize in terms of influence and reach to AMPAS. Why? The answer is three fold. First, geography. Second, they're an institution having handed out prizes since 1975 (Dog Day Afternoon + One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest was their inaugural best picture decision and their last tie ever for the top prize) Third, they don't stray too far from Oscar's own aesthetics which surely makes them more accessible to voters. In short they're more likely to gently nudge voters than shout bold statements at them. In their 38 year history to date they've only given their Best Film prize to movies that didn't end up competing for Best Picture 7 times.
Only LAFCA Winners Not To Enjoy Oscar "Best Pic" Nods
Little Dorritt (1988)
Do The Right Thing (1989)
Leaving Las Vegas (1995, surely in the dread 6th position w/ Oscar)
About Schmidt (2002)
American Splendor (2003)
Trivia: As a general rule they love the films of Alexander Payne so Nebraska will win something tomorrow but a fourth best picture win for a filmmaker who has only made six features will surely feel extravagant to them. They also love subtitled performances in Best Actress (9 wins over their 37 years... which I think you'll agree is a lot) so this is Adèle Exarchopoulus (Blue is...) or Paulina Garcia's (Gloria) best shot to turn acting branch heads.
Repeat Winners? Last year LAFCA honored both Amy Adams (The Master) and Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook). And -- look at that -- they're now co-stars in American Hustle, the film that won the NYFCC prize earlier this week. If that's too much of a do-over for LAFCA but they're still feeling member-of-the-club generous, Michael Fassbender, Joaquin Phoenix and Alexander Payne are all recent winners who could theoretically triumph again.
What and who do you think they'll go for tomorrow?
The Boston Society of Film Critics (which I'd personally rank as 4th on the scale of important critics prizes, ahead of Chicago merely because they're less fussy and puffed-up "nominations first!" procrastinators about it) also announces tomorrow.