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Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards Best Film / Best Director Fearless Predictions

The Master Philip Seymour HoffmanLos Angeles Film Critics Awards 2012: Best Film prediction

The Los Angeles Film Critics Association will announce its list of 2012 winners on Sunday morning. Below are my fearless predictions despite the fact that my previous attempt at soothsaying – the New York Film Critics Circle Award winners earlier this week – was nearly 100 percent off the mark. In my favor: Most of my top runners-up did take home NYFCC Awards in their respective categories. (Image: Philip Seymour Hoffman The Master.)

In the Best Film category, the Los Angeles Critics have usually been slightly edgier than their New York-based counterparts, which doesn't say much, really, but still … For instance, the L.A. Critics selected Paul Thomas Anderson's There Will Be Blood instead of the Coen brothers' No Country for Old Men, Clint Eastwood's Letters from Iwo Jima instead of Paul Greengrass' United 93, and Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini's American Splendor instead of Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.

But then again, how to explain Best Film wins for no less than three Alexander Payne movies in the last decade? Those were About Schmidt, Sideways, and The Descendants – but not Payne's best (and most subversive) by far, Election. So much for edgy filmmaking.

Alexander Payne isn't in the running this year, but 2009 winner Kathryn Bigelow (for The Hurt Locker) and her “timely” New York Film Critics winner Zero Dark Thirty is. Will the Los Angeles Critics follow the NY lead? Well, it's just as possible they'll picked another Paul Thomas Anderson movie.

I had bet that the New York Critics would go for Anderson's take on religion (and Scientology in particular). I lost. Now I'm betting that the L.A. Critics will try to salvage the awards-season chances of Anderson's acclaimed drama. In other words: The Master for Best Film.

Other (obvious) Best Film possibilities: Steven Spielberg's Lincoln, Ang Lee's Life of Pi, Ben Affleck's Argo, Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom, David O. Russell's Silver Linings Playbook.

Los Angeles Film Critics' Best Director

The top possibilities for the Los Angeles Critics' Best Director Award have all been listed above. Yet, the L.A. Critics' Best Director choices have often been quite “daring” in the recent past. For every Peter Jackson for The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, they've picked a David Lynch for Mulholland Dr. and a Pedro Almodóvar for Talk to Her. For every Alexander Payne for Sideways (Payne's only Best Director win) there have been a Danny Boyle for Slumdog Millionaire and an Olivier Assayas for Carlos. Not to mention Terrence Malick for The Tree of Life.

Chances are that this year's Best Director will be one of three filmmakers: Kathryn Bigelow, Paul Thomas Anderson, or Steven Spielberg. So, who do I predict will win?

Once again, I'll go with my failed New York Critics choice: Michael Haneke for Amour. Now, I should add that in case Steven Spielberg wins for Lincoln, that'll mark his third L.A. victory. The previous two were for E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982) and Saving Private Ryan (1998). In 1993, Schindler's List won Best Film, but Jane Campion was Best Director for The Piano.

And while I'm at it, how about: [See also: “Los Angeles Film Critics: A 'Surprise' Best Actress?“]

  • Tim Burton's Frankenweenie for Best Animation;
  • Haneke's Amour for Best Foreign Language Film (with Leos Carax's Holy Motors as a possible upset);
  • Jafar Panahi's This Is Not a Film for Best Documentary/Non-Fiction Film (else David France's How to Survive a Plague);
  • Greig Fraser for Best Cinematography for Zero Dark Thirty and Snow White and the Huntsman (else, Claudio Miranda for Life of Pi, or Éric Gautier for On the Road, or Yves Cape and Caroline Champetier de Ribes for Holy Motors);
  • Tony Kushner's Lincoln adaptation for Best Screenplay (else, Michael Haneke for Amour, especially if he doesn't get the Best Director citation);
  • Dominic Watkins work on Snow White and the Huntsman for Best Production Design (else, Nathan Crowley and Kevin Kavanaugh for The Dark Knight Rises, or Hugh Bateup and Uli Hanisch for Cloud Atlas);
  • Mychael Danna's compositions for Life of Pi for Best Music Score (else, Gustavo Santaolalla for On the Road, or Dario Marianelli for Anna Karenina);
  • Benh Zeitlin and Quvenzhané Wallis for the New Generation Award for Beasts of the Southern Wild.

Philip Seymour Hoffman The Master photo: The Weinstein Company.

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