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Los Angeles Film Critics Association Winners 2017

by Nathaniel R

Another day, another set of precursor awards. We heard from the New York Film Critics Circle a few days ago where Lady Bird and The Florida Project were the big winners with two prizes each. Over on the West Coast Call Me By Your Name and The Shape of Water both took three prizes. Commentary, stats, and winners list are all after the jump...

Film: Call Me By Your Name

Generally only two films a decade take both the LAFCA and the top Oscar. And the last two winners Spotlight and Moonlight already did that this decade. But more often than not the LAFCA winner does not take the Oscar. Runner up was The Florida Project (!)

Director: [TIE] Guillermo del Toro for The Shape of Water
              and Luca Guadagnino for Call Me By Your Name

Whoa! A tie in Best Director and the voting was very close with Dee Rees, Greta Gerwig, and Sean Baker also supposedly a few votes away from it. There was also a tie in this category in 2010 with David Fincher sharing his Social Network honor with Olivier Assayas for Carlos. In the 2000s 50% of the winners went on to win the Oscar. This decade only Alfonso Cuaron has repeated the win for Gravity.

Actress: Sally Hawkins for The Shape of Water

The LAFCA often gets feisty with best actress and opts for foreign language performances. Not so this year where they've awarded Sally Hawkins her second LAFCA gong (she previously won for Happy Go Lucky in 2008 and became one of the all time worst statistical snubs on Oscar nomination morning since she'd won so much precursor love). The runner up was Frances McDormand for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Actor: Timothée Chalamet for Call Me By Your Name

LAFCA tends to get really opinionated with this awards, sometimes not caring at all that their choice won't be Oscar nominated or won't win the Oscar (see Tom Hardy for Locke or Adam Driver for Paterson  etcetera). That said they did have a run where they refused to not give it to the anyone but the Oscar frontrunnerzzzzz (2005-2010). The runner up this year was James Franco for The Disaster Artist

Supporting Actress: Laurie Metcalf for Lady Bird

In the past ten years of the LAFCA prize they've chosen the eventual Oscar winner 3 times, 4 if you count the prize for Alicia Vikander (they honored her for Ex Machina while Oscar opted for The Danish Girl both leading roles that people kept stubbornly giving supporting prizes to because no one likes to play by the rules if they like a particular actor). In the years where they don't select a foreign language performance as winner (LAFCA is very friendly to foreign actresses), they're usually Oscar-nominated. The only exceptions in the past 20 years: Lily Gladstone for Certain Women,  Joan Allen in Pleasantville,  and Edie Falco in Sunshine State. Runner up was Mary J Blige for Mudbound who is looking more and more likely as an Oscar contender. Lois Smith, Tiffany Haddish, and Allison Janney also supposedly had a lot of support

Supporting Actor: Willem Dafoe for The Florida Project

LAFCA is even more Oscar focused in this category than they are in supporting Actress. In both though they generally go for Oscar frontrunners (or thereabouts). 6 of their last 10 winners here have claimed the Oscar. The runner up this year for LA was Sam Rockwell who will likely be Dafoe's chief rival for the Oscar too since both are long respected character actors in large roles in well liked movies. 

Screenplay: Jordan Peele for Get Out

The runner up was Three Billboards by Martin McDonagh. The winner of this prize is almost always nominated for the Oscar. The only times in my lifetime where the winner missed the Oscar nomination were John Sayles Return of the Secaucus Seven (1980), Gus Van Sant's Drugstore Cowboy (1989) and  Alexander Payne's About Schmidt (2002)

Editing: Lee Smith for Dunkirk 

They've only been giving this award for 6 years now. With the exception of last year's winner O.J. Made in America (a tv miniseries) all of their winners have been nominated for the Oscar though only one went on to win: Gravity (2013). Runner up for this prize was Tatiana S Riegel for I, Tonya. (I remain surprised that that movie's crafts are resonating. It's extremely traditional mockumentary style editing. They always work like this: Scene. Then cut to character discussing their actions or feelings, often in comic counterpoint to what you just saw or are about to see. Repeat for whole film.)

Production Design: Dennis Gassner for Blade Runner 2049

Last year they made the brilliant choice of honoring The Handmaiden which Oscar's design branch then shamefully ignored. The LAFCA is generally more daring than Oscar when it comes to this category. Their runner up this year was Paul D Austerberry for The Shape of Water

Best Cinematography: Dan Lausten for The Shape of Water

As with Production Design LAFCA is more daring here (for instance honoring Mad Max over The Revenant or Black Swan over Inception). But that said they still usually choose future movies in the Best Picture conversation. Their runner up this year was Roger Deakins for Blade Runner 2049. Deakins has previously won this award at the LAFCA three different times. He has yet to win the Oscar.

Best Music: Jonny Greenwood for Phantom Thread

The LA critics are slightly edgier than Oscar in this category. This is Greenwood's second prize from LA. He also won for his music on Inherent Vice. Their runner was Alexandre Desplat (who they've awarded twice before) for The Shape of Water

Documentary: Faces Places by Agnes Varda & Jr

Wow. Another prize for Varda who is having quite a year. We still wonder if Oscar will go for it though since they tend to like more self-serious documentaries MUCH better.


Animated Feature: The Breadwinner

The LAFCA has been giving out this prize since 1989 (!) with The Little Mermaid as the first winner so they were way head of Oscar in this regard. They really like foreign films in LA so The Breadwinner is not an anomaly. Previous winners have included Waltz With Bashir, The Triplets of Belleville, Persepolis, and a few more. In fact they haven't awarded Pixar in this category since Toy Story 3 (2010) preferring more indie efforts. The runner up this year was Coco.

Foreign Film [TIE] BPM (France)
and Loveless (Russia)

 Love both of these movies. Both look likely as finalists at Oscar though I doubt both will be nominated.

New Generation Prize Greta Gerwig

Recent winners of this prize include Ava DuVernay for Selma, Ryan Coogler for Creed, and Benh Zeitlin for Beasts of the Southern Wild

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Reader Comments (39)

Amazing that this is going to be the first film Rockwell is nominated for. Kind of baffling really. I do like the performance, at least.

December 3, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

For some reason I thought the LAFCA awards were happening tomorrow. Cool - I'll enjoy them today instead!

December 3, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterEdward L.

Janney is trailing Metcalf now,I really hope Blige gets it I thought she was a marvel.

December 3, 2017 | Unregistered Commentermarkgordonuk

I see Mudbound being a complete non-factor come Oscar morning.

December 3, 2017 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

I always like the L.A. Film Critics prizes. They always try to do something different like in 1985 where they gave Brazil the prizes for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Screenplay when the film wasn't even in consideration for the Oscars.

December 3, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterthevoid99

If Peele is Oscar nominated and ultimately wins, he will make history as the first black winner in the Original Screenplay category.

December 3, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterTroy H.

Could Timothee shatter a record and win,Oldman certainly seems shaky as the frontrunner,maybe they have tired of latex enhanched mimicry and want to go with their hearts instead.

December 3, 2017 | Unregistered Commentermarkgordonuk

mark -- i would be SO thrilled if they grew tired of mimicry. the most overrewarded acting skill of all time.

December 3, 2017 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Did Mudbound open in theaters at all? It doesn’t have any presence on Box Office Mojo, so I don’t get how it’s eligible?

December 3, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMike in Canada

Nathaniel: The last LAFCA screenplay not to get Oscar-nominated was About Schmidt in 2002 (though admittedly everyone thinks it was nominated, so I feel your pain!).

Thanks for your ongoing comemntary on these!

December 3, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterEdward L.

Re: Best Director category, I feel it's more significant in terms of nominations than wins. Since 1990, only two directors have won LAFCA and failed to get an Oscar nomination: Olivier Assayas for Carlos and Paul Thomas Anderson for The Master. This bodes well for Guillermo del Toro and Luca Guadagnino!

December 3, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterEdward L.

Mike in Canada -- that's why many in Hollywood feel it's not fair to vote for Netflix. The Academy stupidly changed their rules to allow simultaneous screening with theatrical release so all Netflix has to do each year is play their movies in 1 Los Angeles theater for a week the day they start streaming.

December 3, 2017 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Somebody get Laurie Metcalf a spoken word album next year so she can EGOT in 2019! :)

December 3, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew Carden

There is a difference between mimicking someone and acting as a character for two hours. Otherwise everyone would get an Oscar for their Christopher Walken impression.

Happy that the Oscar race is still wide open.

December 3, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJono

Yes, but the difference is not always clear or universally agreeable.

December 3, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

Happy for CMBYN. Not happy Jordan Peele shot out in Best Picture. I thought he might be runner-up, at least (considering Lady Bird was already anoited winner of NYFCC) although Florida Project is great.

Either way, I want the four of them in the roster come Oscar night. But, for some reason, I think Peele it's looking from outside in in director. I think Lady Bird is fantastic, but I would nominate Peele, Guadagnino AND Baker before Gerwig. Considering both Del Toro and Nolan are more than safe. ATM.
Pity there's only 5.

I hated Lovless carrousel of cruelty bordering abjection. Yay for BPM! Could not find more opposites winners.

December 3, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterchofer

@chofer I hate Loveless, too

December 3, 2017 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

I think it's a debate of which is techincally more difficult having the voice/video footage etc of a person or creating a character from the page only.

December 3, 2017 | Unregistered Commentermarkgordonuk

I am perplexed by the Mary J. Blige attention. I cannot remember one scene of hers in Mudbound. Where is the scene that gets played at the Oscars. Her snatching a piece of paper? Good grief!

December 3, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterIshmael

@Edward L

OF course, Assayas tied with Fincher. I can imagine Guagadino faltering.

December 3, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterArkaan

Very sad to see Sally Hawkins not also cited for her exquisite performance in Maudie.

December 3, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterken s

It's all rounding into form, isn't it? The supporting categories are starting to feel like foregone conclusions - you'd be hard-pressed to bet against either Dafoe or Metcalf at this point - and while Best Actress could still veer off in a different direction, it looks for anything like a fight to the finish between Hawkins and Ronan.

I'm skeptical about Chalamet's Oscar prospects. He'll be nominated, but the bias against younger male actors is intensely strong.... more women over 70 have won Best Actress than men under 30 have won Best Actor (true stat.) Oldman is overdue, and as several people have observed (and justly decried), mimicry still tends to trump all.

December 3, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJosh R

I'm happy for Call Me By Your Name and Timothee Chalamet. Chalamet may rightfully win most of the critics prizes but I think Gary Oldman is still the Oscar favorite. I guess we'll see what the Golden Globes and SAG say. I'd be ecstatic if Chalamet sets a record as youngest best actor winner. Seeing him in interviews he would probably combust if he wins.

Also, it looks like an exciting year this year with no runaway favorite except for Willem Dafoe. Laurie Metcalf is looking solid too, but Dafoe looks like he'll coast to an easy win.

December 3, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterRaul

I hate the "overdue" narrative. Because, in no time, we'll seeing back at the winner performance like the wrong one. Of course, Oldman it's not Scent of a Woman bad. But h'es been better for so many years, it's ridiculous to overcompensate for Syd & Nancy, Dracula, Tinker, Taylor, Soldier... et al. And there are worthier players this year. Why in heaven Robert Pattinson its not in the narrative? Daniel Kaluuya? James Franco is hilarity prefection in DA. Chalamet, Nahuel Perez Bizcayart! (he's co-lead), and the prospect of the always mighty Day-Lewis. Is Oldman more "due" than tese ones this year. Gimme a break.

December 3, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterchofer

@cal roth

Only the American and Brit critics loved it at Cannes. Zygnatyev critics Russia and that's a pay-off. The movie? Well, thanks. The kid didn't deserve that bad blood coming from both the fathers AND the director. Nuance missing entirely. But he critics Russia! Gimme a break 2.

December 3, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterchofer

Chofer - I feel you, and I hate it too. The career achievement wins usually do backfire....imagine if they'd waited a few minutes to give Kate her second award, when Lion in Winter was coming right on the heels of Guess who's Coming to Dinner?

The only way I could see Chalamet winning is if Oldman doesn't get nominated for a Globe. Not in a million, gazillion years will The HFPA will ever give Oldman the win, given the extent to which he's so vigorously trashed them over the past few years, but I doubt they have the cojones to snub him entirely. A Chamalet victory at the Globes actually would mean less if Oldman is among the nominees.

December 3, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJosh R

Congratulations to Mr Del Toro- a director who makes cinefantastique that goes beyond the limits of the genre

December 3, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterjaragon

I think best actress is still a four way race between Ronan, Streep, Haskins and McDormand. Any of them could win. The fifth spot is a wildcard.

December 3, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterTom Ford

Wow. I guess Call Me by Your Name is the hot ticket. Heh.

I don't think Chalamet's performance is Oscar-win worthy, but glad to see a young fresh face reaping rewards so early in his career as opposed to later... Still don't believe he'd be here without the end credits essentially being a gift-wrapped awards clip. You can call me whatever type of cynic you'd like. If you're going to show us an actor's face for the better half of four minutes, you better have sat him down in front of Birth. It's a lovely performance, and I admire that he and the director chose very different aspects of Elio's personality to highlight (at least from how he is in the book, and, of course, in my own head), but his is really not the performance of the year by a long-shot. Not even the performance of the year in an LGBTQ+ film.

Also, best film? Seriously, though? Truly the Pan's Labyrinth of Gay Cinema.

Oh well. Bring it, Hollywood! :)

December 3, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterManny

"The LAFCA often gets feisty with best actress and opts for foreign language performances. Not so this year...

in a gathering of film critics, i imagine mute is considered a foreign language

December 3, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterpar

Re: I, Tonya: yet more proof that people choose the movies they like and then find Oscar categories for them to compete in rather than starting with a category and then recalling what was best from the year. Sigh.

What is Lois Smith a supporting actress in? Seems like she's lead in Marjorie Prime and her part was so small in Lady Bird (even though she was lovely in it).

December 3, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterEvan

The Overdue Narrative is king for the likes of /3rtful. Always keeping score instead of thinking purely of the best performance of a given year.

December 3, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

Happy for Hawkins' win (wish there was some love for Maudie too), same with Metcalf. I have not seen The Florida Project yet but it seems like Dafoe does not have major competition in his category. Chalamet is solidifying his position in lead actor category.

Love Chalamet but I wish Jeremy Renner is discussed more too for Wind River. I consider that his best performance to date and he has shown something in his embodiment of Cory Lambert that I have not seen before. An introspection, an inner monologue so wonderfully embodied. I was hoping that Claes Bang will gain some traction as best actor but his performance in The Square may not be an acting showcase to merit an award, no? I like lived-in performances rather than mimicry and acting that showboats without giving us the character's minor keys. Unfortunately showboats, mimicry plus a sentimental narrative are more in keeping with the vocabulary that many Academy voters know and fluently speak.

And wouldn't it be great to see Varda win a competitive Oscar the year she was given an honorary? The subject matter is about nostalgia for the disappearance of a rurality, of a people's history, of recognising the common. It is more Proust than kitchen sink. I hope it wins so JR and Varda can amble their way to the stage together one more time.

December 3, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterOwl

@ Owl - I agree, Renner is just phenomenal in Wind River

December 4, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterhuh

Hello, Have a Looked at Car Rental Service in India

December 4, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterHarshil

The Shape of Water has life. A miss here would have really hurt its chances to expand beyond tech categories.

I know it's way early, but the Dunkirk tech sweep isn't looking as likely as a few weeks ago. There's no consensus in Cinematography beyond Deakins so I think voters will recognize his losing streak as a story and finally give him his due (not that he doesn't deserve it on merit - it might be the most wonderfully-shot movie I've ever seen).

Beyond Desplat there's also little consensus in Score. Could Jonny Greenwood get in for Phantom Thread? That would definitely be one of my favorite nominations.

This is the most interesting year since 2010.

December 4, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSawyer


December 4, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJows

Hawkins needed this as did her film.

December 4, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMichael R

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