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Adèle Exarchopoulos and Cate Blanchett: BLUE Best Actress Tie

Adèle Exarchopoulos Blue Is the Warmest ColorAdèle Exarchopoulos ('Blue Is the Warmest Color') and Cate Blanchett ('Blue Jasmine'): Best Actress tie two years in a row at Los Angeles Film Critics Awards (image: Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos in 'Blue Is the Warmest Color')

(See previous post: “James Franco Tattoos, Gold Teeth: LAFCA Winners.” Another non-Hollywood Los Angeles Film Critics Association's selection was Best Actress co-winner Adèle Exarchopoulos, cited for her performance as a young woman who falls in love with blue-haired Léa Seydoux in Abdellatif Kechiche's controversial Cannes Film Festival Palme d'Or winner Blue Is the Warmest Color. The lesbian romantic drama also took home the LAFCA's Best Foreign Language Film Award.

Blue was also the luckiest color, at least in the Best Actress category: Cate Blanchett was Exarchopoulo's co-winner, for her performance in Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine, in which she plays a character somewhat similar to A Streetcar Named Desire's Blanche Dubois – a role that earned Vivien Leigh the Best Actress Academy Award back in early 1952.

The Cate Blanchett and Adèle Exarchopoulos tie was the Los Angeles Film Critics' second in a row in the Best Actress category. Last year, they couldn't decide between veteran Emmanuelle Riva for Michael Haneke's Amour or (relative) newcomer Jennifer Lawrence for David O. Russell's Silver Linings Playbook. Riva received a Best Actress Oscar nomination, but Jennifer Lawrence – young, a former model, and the star of Gary Ross' blockbuster The Hunger Games – turned out to be the eventual winner.

Now, Adèle Exarchopoulos may be young and pretty, but she has two major disadvantages when it comes to the Oscars: a) unlike Cate Blanchett and other likely nominees (e.g., Sandra Bullock, Judi Dench) she's not Hollywood (or even marginally Hollywood) b) Academy members have an aversion to films dealing with sex.

LAFCA's Best Actress ties

Previous LAFCA ties in the Best Actress category were the following: Holly Hunter (Broadcast News) and Sally Kirkland (Anna) in 1987; Michelle Pfeiffer (The Fabulous Baker Boys) and Andie MacDowell (Sex, Lies, and Videotape) in 1989; and Fernanda Montenegro (Central Station) and Ally Sheedy (High Art) in 1998. Of these, only Sheedy and MacDowell failed to be shortlisted for the Academy Awards.

Since 1990, only six LAFCA Best Actress winners have failed to receive an Academy Award nomination; four of these were performers in non-American films, three of which in a language other than English. Here are the six actresses: Ally Sheedy for Lisa Cholodenko's High Art, Vera Farmiga for Debra Granik's Down to the Bone, Sally Hawkins for Mike Leigh's Happy-Go-Lucky, Yolande Moreau for Martin Provost's Séraphine, Kim Hye-ja for Bong Joon-ho's Mother, and Yoon Jeong-hee for Lee Chang-dong's Poetry. (Regarding the Oscars, eligibility may have been an issue with some of these titles.)

Note: LAFCA's 1991 Best Actress winner Mercedes Ruehl – for Terry Gilliam's The Fisher King – took home that year's Best Supporting Actress Oscar.

Los Angeles Film Critics' offbeat winners

In recent years, the Los Angeles Film Critics have gone their own way in several key categories, making the sort of daring and/or international choices that the now chiefly mainstream, Hollywood star-struck New York Film Critics Circle used to make four decades ago. Here are a few examples of the NYFCC's offbeat/international choices back in their heyday: Costa-Gavras (Z), Bob Rafelson (Five Easy Pieces), Liv Ullmann (Bergman's Cries & Whispers, Scenes from a Marriage, and Face to Face; Jan Troell's The Emigrants), Ingmar Bergman (Cries & Whispers), François Truffaut (Day for Night), Isabelle Adjani (for Truffaut's The Story of Adele H.), Federico Fellini (Amarcord), Stanley Kubrick (A Clockwork Orange), John Gielgud (for Alain Resnai's Providence), Robert Altman (Nashville).

For comparison's sake: This year's NYFCC winners (Best Film/acting/director categories) were David O. Russell's Sony Pictures-distributed, all-star crime drama American Hustle, Robert Redford, Cate Blanchett, Jennifer Lawrence, Jared Leto, and, the lone non-Hollywood name, British director Steve McQueen for 12 Years a Slave (which has an American setting, and features the likes of Brad Pitt and the up-and-coming Michael Fassbender).

Besides the Los Angeles Film Critics' Best Actress winners Hawkins, Moreau, Kim, Lee, and Riva, recent offbeat LAFCA choices include Michael Haneke's Amour, last year's Best Film; and Olivier Assayas' Carlos, which three years ago was as a runner-up for both Best Film (trailing David Fincher's The Social Network) and Best Actor (Édgar Ramírez, trailing Colin Firth for The King's Speech), while Assayas shared with Fincher the Los Angeles Film Critics' Best Director Award.

But in a year when something as earthbound as Gravity wins four awards, it was inevitable that there would be few out-there choices. Even Spike Jonze's Her, despite its offbeat basic premise, is a Warner Bros. release. There's a limit to how far a big-studio-distributed movie will take even the most daring of ideas.

So, 2013's other (somewhat) offbeat Los Angeles Film Critics winners were Best Supporting Actress Lupita Nyong'o for Steve McQueen's 12 Years a Slave and Best Screenplay winner Before Midnight – the Before Sunrise (1995) and Before Sunset (2004) sequel written by Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, and Ethan Hawke.

LAFCA: Movies that didn't make the cut

Whether because competition was tight, or they weren't all that well liked, or not many critics got the chance/bothered to check them out, missing from the Los Angeles Film Critics' list of winners and runners-up were the following movies:

  • Martin Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street, with Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Matthew McConaughey, Jean Dujardin, Margot Robbie, Joanna Lumley.
  • David O. Russell's American Hustle, with Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, Christian Bale, Jennifer Lawrence, Jeremy Renner, and Robert De Niro.
  • Gilles Bourdo's Renoir, with Michel Bouquet.
  • Stephen Frears' Philomena, with Judi Dench and Steve Coogan.
  • Asghar Farhadi, The Past, with Bérénice Bejo and Tahar Rahim.
  • John Wells' August: Osage County, with Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Sam Shepard, Benedict Cumberbatch, Ewan McGregor, Juliette Lewis, Abigail Breslin, Chris Cooper, Dermot Mulroney.
  • Thomas Vinterberg's The Hunt, with Mads Mikkelsen.
  • J.C. Chandor's All Is Lost, with Robert Redford.
  • Cristian Mungiu's Beyond the Hills, with Cristina Flutur and Cosmina Stratan.
  • Paul Greengrass' Captain Phillips, with Tom Hanks.
  • John Lee Hancock's Saving Mr. Banks, with Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson.
  • Jeff Nichols' Mud, with Tye Sheridan, Reese Witherspoon, Matthew McConaughey.
  • Denis Villeneuve's Prisoners, with Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Paul Dano, and Melissa Leo.
  • Ryan Coogler's Fruitvale Station, with Michael B. Jordan and Octavia Spencer.
  • Lee Danielss' The Butler, with Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, Terrence Howard, Jane Fonda, James Marsden, and others.

Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos Blue Is the Warmest Color photo: IFC Films.

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