Oscar History

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Who will LAFCA choose tomorrow?

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
Brazil (1985)
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)
WALL•E (2008) 

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.

Amy Adams and Jennifer Lawrence were celebrated at their awards gala in Jan 2013

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.

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Reader Comments (15)

You know, I always look at ny, LA, national board and national society as the big 4, entirely because Inside Oscar only ever mentioned those 4.
And so, all these years later, I feel like I kind if get the personalities of those 4, and they're the only ones I care about.
All the others are just consensus-floating noise, which is handy, but makes them all indistinct from each other (although I get that Boston and Chicago are the best of the rest.)

December 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMike in Canada

Mike -- i can understand that (Inside Oscar is so great) but NBR is not a critics organization so it's best not to think of it that way!

December 7, 2013 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

LAFCA's been most known to go off the board in director in actress. Call me crazy, could Blue is the Warmest Color have a shot in those categories?

It'd be so boring if they go with Nebraska but they do love Payne. I just hope they compensate by going HAM in the other categories. James Franco for Best Supporting Actor, Joaquin for Best Actor, etc. Honestly, had the National Board of Review gone for Her, I was confident it would've really done well at LAFCA.

NYFCC is like the Iowa Caucuses (their voting is even similar) that involves a lot of strategy as much as quality while LAFCA is like New Hampshire with the left field picks.

December 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCMG

As Mark Harris pointed out, Nebraska really needs a boost. Yeah, it did well with NBR, but NBR's Best Actor winners don't tend to win unless they sweep (Sean Penn was an exception, but that was awhile ago and he was "due") and their supporting winners are often overlooked, which could well be the case with Forte this year. Also, if Paramount goes all in for Wolf of Wall Street I could see them overlooking Nebraska - the release pattern for Nebraska already seems odd to me (it's still not out where I live, which means it's soon going to run up against Hustle, Banks and Llewyn Davis).

I do think it will be interesting to see if they go for Adele or Paulina in Best Actress. One of my favorite recent awards season decisions was their Best Actress call for Yoon Jeong-Hee in Poetry, THAT was a performance!

December 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

Come to think of it, I think Before Midnight might get some push in major categories. I know there is talk that LAFCA never wants to overlap with NYFCC but as far as predicting Oscar winners, they are one of the least reliable. But that's what makes them great. They just acknowledge good work.

December 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCMG

I am really looking forward to seeing who LAFCA for their actress based on what you said. I am not sure about Boston or the (sophomore) Boston Online, or the others that felt the need to move up their date so early as they feels a bit self-important and oscar predicting for my taste. Not a big fan of the nomination list hoopla as well, but at least Chicago sticks to their year end schedule when most other have already moved to November. And I think San Francisco, San Diego and Toronto has made some interesting choices over the years as well, not that it necessarily mean anything.

December 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMM

What exactly do you mean by HAM?

December 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMark

Mark, HAM can pretty much mean anything at this point (I leave you to urban dictionary for a vague definition) but I just want out there, random, confounding choices. Thought that was made clear the moment I was rooting for Franco in Spring Breakers.

December 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCMG

LAFCA is hands down my favorite critics group. It's the only big one that had sense enough to give Best Actress wins to Shelley Duvall for '3 Women,' Helena Bonham Carter for 'The Wings of the Dove,' and more recently Vera Farmiga for 'Down to the Bone."

That being said, they majorly disappointed me last year, especially with the wins for Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Adams. Here's hoping they redeem themselves with some inspired choices.

December 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMike M.

I think this is where we see Scarlett Johannsen getting recognized for Her if its going to happen this year.

December 7, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterchasgoose

I predict their Payne streak continues and they give Best Picture to Nebraska. Full predictions:

Best Picture- Nebraska
Best Director- Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave
Best Actor- Bruce Dern, Nebraska
Best Actress- Adele Exarchopoulos, Blue is the Warmest Color
Best Supporting Actor- Jonah Hill, The Wolf of Wall Street
Best Supporting Actress- June Squibb, Nebraska
Best Screenplay- Nebraska

December 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEdwin

Oh don't give me hope! I want Paulina García to be at least the runner-up somewhere...

December 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

chasgoose -- good point I feel like that's a safe bet for LAFCA every time. pick the least likely actress to win things who people actually thing is kind of deserving and hope that LAFCA might pick up because otherwise they're getting zip...

December 7, 2013 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

LAFC gave Judi Dench 1st runner up in 2005 for "Mrs Henderson Presents." She lost to Vera Farmiga in "Down to the Bone," which may have not been eligible for Oscar. Her work in "Philomena," is much more deserving. So, she is my lone bold choice...but Blanchett is probably the winner.

December 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPatryk

It doesn't happen as often as lead actress, but they occasionally go for foreign language performances in the supporting categories too. I'd be happy to see Lea Seydoux pop up for supporting actress, along with (or even instead of) Exarchopolous in lead. If I had to choose between the two, I'd rate Seydoux's performance higher and the supporting actress category looks weaker to me, so I have a hard time understanding why peeps are not pushing harder for her.

Mads Mikkelsen (The Hunt) or for best actor would be an awesome curve ball too.

December 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCarmen Sandiego

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