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Los Angeles Film Critics: Michael Fassbender & Charlotte Rampling Tops

Michael Fassbender Steve Jobs Best Actor Los Angeles Film CriticsMichael Fassbender in 'Steve Jobs': Los Angeles Film Critics' Best Actor.

Michael Fassbender & Charlotte Rampling: Los Angeles Film Critics Awards

The Los Angeles Film Critics Association's 2015 winners were announced on Sunday, Dec. 6. LAFCA is one of the two most influential critics groups – i.e., those whose decisions get at least some mainstream media mileage – in the United States. The other one is the much older New York Film Critics Circle, followed by the National Society of Film Critics.

Five-decade movie veteran Charlotte Rampling,[1] who'll turn 70 next Feb. 5, was one of the day's big winners. Besides being selected Best Actress by the Los Angeles Film Critics for her performance in 45 Years, Rampling was also the 2015 Boston Society of Film Critics' pick. Earlier this year, Andrew Haigh's marital drama co-starring Tom Courtenay (Doctor Zhivago, The Dresser) earned her the Silver Bear for Best Actress at the Berlin Film Festival.

'Spotlight' is Best Film

Another double winner was Tom McCarthy's Boston-set Spotlight, a sort of early 21st-century All the President's Men. The Los Angeles Film Critics followed the lead of their Boston counterparts by choosing it as the year's Best Film.

Based on actual events, Spotlight shines on the Boston Globe's exposé of child sex abuse and cover-up involving members of the local Catholic archdiocese. The journalistic drama also won Best Screenplay (McCarthy and Josh Singer), but none of its extensive ensemble cast (New York Film Critics Circle winner Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, etc.) was singled out in the individual acting categories.

For Best Director, Tom McCarthy was bypassed by George Miller for the female-centered futuristic actioner Mad Max: Fury Road. Miller's runner-up was the New York Film Critics' winner: Todd Haynes, for the romantic lesbian drama Carol, starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara.

As an aside, curiously missing in action so far this awards season is Spotlight's fellow 2015 journalistic drama Truth, directed by James Vanderbilt, and starring Robert Redford and Cate Blanchett.

Son of Saul Los Angeles Film Critics Awards Best Foreign Language Film'Son of Saul': Géza Röhrig in the Los Angeles Film Critics Awards' Best Foreign Language Film winner.

Best Actor category surprises: Michael Fassbender & Géza Röhrig

The Los Angeles Critics' 2011 Best Actor winner,[2] Michael Fassbender was somewhat surprisingly back for his performance in Danny Boyle's Steve Jobs, in which he stars as the bespectacled, irascible Apple co-founder. A box office flop, the Jobs biopic had been considered a lesser awards season contender despite numerous positive reviews. (We did, however, select him in our predictions posted the night before the announcements. See further below.)

Even more surprising was Fassbender's runner-up, Géza Röhrig, who plays a Jewish man forced to incinerate the bodies of Nazi concentration camp victims in László Nemes' Son of Saul – Hungary's submission for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar and, if ultimately nominated, the year's top contender for the award.

Son of Saul was also the Los Angeles Film Critics' choice in the Best Foreign Language Film category. And don't be too surprised if Nemes' Holocaust drama is selected as the National Society of Film Critics' Best Picture of the year.

Alicia Vikander, Kristen Stewart

The Los Angeles Film Critics' Best Supporting Actress was Alicia Vikander for one specific performance: her humanoid robot in Alex Garland's Ex Machina. Vikander's other 2015 movies were Burnt, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., and The Danish Girl (which has been all but ignored by U.S. critics groups thus far).

Vikander's runner-up was Kristen Stewart for Olivier Assayas' Clouds of Sils Maria, in which the former Bella Swan and Snow White plays Juliette Binoche's secretary. Earlier this year, Stewart became the first American actress to win the French Academy's César Award for her performance, which also earned her kudos from the New York Film Critics and the Boston Society of Film Critics.

Both Vikander and Stewart can now be considered likely Best Supporting Actress Academy Award contenders. Having said that, Stewart's Oscar fate largely depends on Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (and Screen Actors Guild) members' ability to watch her film.

Last year, IFC Films scored with Richard Linklater's Boyhood, which earned 6 Oscar nominations including Best Picture, in addition to a Best Actress nod for Marion Cotillard for the Belgian drama Two Days, One Night and another in the Best Documentary Feature category for John Maloof and Charlie Siskel's Finding Vivian Maier.

This year, IFC Films biggest bets in the major Oscar categories are 45 Years and Clouds of Sils Maria, and stars Charlotte Rampling and Kristen Stewart – and to a lesser extent Rampling's co-star and fellow veteran Tom Courtenay. Juliette Binoche might have had a chance in a weaker year, but competition in the Best Actress category is going to be strong.

Michael Shannon, 'Amy'

The Los Angeles Film Critics' surprising Best Supporting Actor was Michael Shannon, who plays a greedy, ruthless, powerful real estate broker – even the cops call him boss – in Ramin Bahrani's 99 Homes. Shannon was the only U.S.-born winner in the acting categories.

Asif Kapadia's Amy Winehouse documentary Amy was the winner in the non-fiction category. Its runner-up was Joshua Oppenheimer's The Look of Silence, about a man confronting the murderer of his brother – one of an estimated 1 million victims of Indonesia's anti-communist genocide of the 1960s.

Duke Johnson and Charlie Kaufman's Anomalisa was the Best Animated Feature, while Ryan Coogler won the New Generation Award for the Rocky-esque Creed, featuring Michael B. Jordan and Sylvester Stallone.

The Los Angeles Film Critics have apparently just discovered Coogler, whose first feature film, Fruitvale Station, won/was nominated for scores of “Best New Filmmaker” awards a full two years ago.

Anne V. Coates: Sixth woman honored with Los Angeles Film Critics' Career Achievement Award

Career Achievement Award recipient Anne V. Coates, who turns 90 next Dec. 12, and whose film editing credits range from David Lean's Lawrence of Arabia to Sam Taylor-Johnson's Fifty Shades of Gray, is one of the precious few women to have been so honored in the last four decades. Her predecessors are actresses Barbara Stanwyck (1981) and Myrna Loy (1983), editor Dede Allen (1999), and actresses Doris Day (2011) and Gena Rowlands (2014).

The Los Angeles Film Critics' 2015 ceremony was dedicated to experimental Belgian filmmaker Chantal Akerman (Je Tu Il Elle; Jeanne Dielman, 23 Commerce Quay, 1080 Brussels), who died last October at the age of 65.

'Spotlight' trailer: Los Angeles Film Critics' Best Picture winner.

2015 Los Angeles Film Critics winners

Best Film: Tom McCarthy's Spotlight.

Runner-up: George Miller's Mad Max: Fury Road.

Best Foreign Language Film: László Nemes' Son of Saul.

Runner-up: Miroslav Slaboshpitsky's The Tribe

Best Director: George Miller for Mad Max: Fury Road.

Runner-up: Todd Haynes for Carol.

Best Actress: Charlotte Rampling for Andrew Haigh's 45 Years.

Runner-up: Saoirse Ronan for John Crowley's Brooklyn.

Best Actor: Michael Fassbender for Danny Boyle's Steve Jobs.

Runner-up: Géza Röhrig for Son of Saul.

Best Supporting Actress: Alicia Vikander for Alex Garland's Ex Machina.

Runner-up: Kristen Stewart for Olivier Assayas' Clouds of Sils Maria.

Best Supporting Actor: Michael Shannon for Ramin Bahrani's 99 Homes.

Runner-up: Mark Rylance for Steven Spielberg's Bridge of Spies.

Best Screenplay: Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer for Spotlight.

Runner-up: Charlie Kaufman for Kaufman and Duke Johnson's Anomalisa.

Best Cinematography: John Seale for Mad Max: Fury Road.

Runner-up: Edward Lachman for Carol.

Best Editing: Hank Corwin for Adam McKay's The Big Short.

Runner-up: Margaret Sixel for Mad Max: Fury Road.

Best Documentary/Non-Fiction Film: Asif Kapadia's Amy.

Runner-up: Joshua Oppenheimer's The Look of Silence.

Best Production Design: Colin Gibson for Mad Max: Fury Road.

Runner-up: Judy Becker for Carol.

Best Music Score: Carter Burwell for Anomalisa and Carol.

Runner-up: Ennio Morricone for Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight.

Best Animation: Duke Johnson and Charlie Kaufman's Anomalisa.

Runner-up: Pete Docter and Ronnie del Carmen's Inside Out.

New Generation: Ryan Coogler for Creed.

Career Achievement Award: Anne V. Coates.

Alicia Vikander Ex Machina Los Angeles Film Critics Best Supporting ActressAlicia Vikander in 'Ex Machina': Los Angeles Film Critics' Best Supporting Actress. Vikander received no mention for 'The Danish Girl.'

Early 2015 Los Angeles Film Critics Awards predictions

Addendum: Our Los Angeles Film Critics Awards 2015 predictions were posted the night before the winners were announced. We got quite a few of them wrong, but there were a couple of surprising matches. See further below.

In recent years, the LAFCA has gone where other critics groups fear to tread, selecting, for instance, the likes of Yolande Moreau (Séraphine), Kim Hye-ja (Mother), Yoon Jeong-hee (Poetry), Emmanuelle Riva (Amour), and Adèle Exarchopoulos (Blue Is the Warmest Color) in the Best Actress category – even though, gasp!, several of these actresses and their films weren't even eligible for the Academy Awards.[3]

In other words, it's hard to predict the unpredictable – especially when the unpredictable may involve schizophrenic, Hollywood commercial/anti-Hollywood uncommercial ties. Or when the Best Supporting Actress winner turns out to be, however deserving, someone like Agata Kulesza for a Polish movie like Ida. That's the bad news.

The good news: if we get it wrong and the LAFCA selects someone like Juliette Binoche for Clouds of Sils Maria or Catherine Deneuve for In the Name of My Daughter or Gaspard Ulliel for Saint Laurent, or some other first-rate Polish actress, we'll be very happy.[4]

L.A. Film Critics Awards 2015: Our initial predictions

Best Film: Tom McCarthy's Spotlight.

Runner-up: John Crowley's Brooklyn.

Best Foreign Language Film: Abderrahmane Sissako's Timbuktu.

Runner-up: Anna Muylaert's The Second Mother / Que Horas Ela Volta?

Best Director: Todd Haynes for Carol.

Runner-up: Abderrahmane Sissako for Timbuktu.

Best Actress: Saoirse Ronan for Brooklyn.

Runner-up: Charlotte Rampling for 45 Years.

Best Actor: Michael Fassbender for Steve Jobs. (Wish: Ricardo Darín for Wild Tales.)

Runner-up: Michael Keaton for Spotlight.

Best Supporting Actress: Kristen Stewart for Clouds of Sils Maria.

Runner-up: Alicia Vikander for Ex Machina.

Best Supporting Actor: Oscar Isaac for Ex Machina.

Runner-up: Mark Rylance for Bridge of Spies.

Best Screenplay: Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer for Spotlight.

Runner-up: Phyllis Nagy for Carol.

Best Documentary/Non-Fiction Film: Asif Kapadia's Amy. (Wish: Jafar Panahi's Taxi.)

Runner-up: Joshua Oppenheimer's The Look of Silence.

Best Animation: Pete Docter and Ronnie del Carmen's Inside Out.

Runner-up: Paul King's Paddington.

Charlotte Rampling 45 Years Los Angeles Film Critics Best ActressCharlotte Rampling in '45 Years': Los Angeles Film Critics' Best Actress is a potential contender for the Academy Awards.

Charlotte Rampling

[1] Charlotte Rampling has been featured in nearly 100 films in the last five decades, beginning with a bit part in Richard Lester's 1965 Cannes Film Festival winner The Knack… and How to Get It.

She has since collaborated with the likes of Luchino Visconti (The Damned), Liliana Cavani (The Night Porter), Woody Allen (Stardust Memories), Sidney Lumet (The Verdict), François Ozon (Under the Sand, Swimming Pool, Angel), Gianni Amelio (The Keys to the House), Todd Solondz (Life During Wartime), Lars von Trier (Melancholia), and Dominik Moll (Lemming).

Charlotte Rampling has been shortlisted for four French Academy Awards and four European Film Awards. In 2001, she took home an Honorary César; in 2003, she won the Best Actress European Film Award for Swimming Pool.

Among Rampling's leading men are Dirk Bogarde, Paul Newman, Kim Rossi Stuart, Max von Sydow, Michel Serrault, Michael Gambon, André Dussollier, Robert Mitchum, Sean Connery, Gabriel Byrne, and 45 Years' Tom Courtenay.

Elsewhere this past weekend, the British Independent Film Awards picked Saoirse Ronan – last week's New York Film Critics Circle choice – as Best Actress for Brooklyn, while the New York Film Critics Online opted for Brie Larson in Room, last week's National Board of Review choice.

[2] In 2011, Michael Fassbender won Best Actor for four movies: A Dangerous Method, Jane Eyre, Shame, and X-Men: First Class.

There have been only three other Los Angeles Film Critics Association double winners in the Best Actor category:

  • Robert De Niro (Taxi Driver, 1976; Raging Bull, 1980).
  • Robert Duvall (Tender Mercies, 1983; The Apostle, 1997).
  • Jack Nicholson (Ironweed and The Witches of Eastwick, 1987; About Schmidt [tie with Daniel Day-Lewis], 2002.)

Daniel Day-Lewis is the Los Angeles Film Critics' sole three-time Best Actor winner: My Left Foot, 1989; Gangs of New York, 2002 (tied with Jack Nicholson); and There Will Be Blood, 2007.

[3] Emmanuelle Riva tied with the Hollywood-friendly Jennifer Lawrence for David O. Russell's Silver Linings Playbook, while Adèle Exarchopoulos tied with another Hollywoodite, Cate Blanchett, for Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine. Both Lawrence and Blanchett went on to win Best Actress Oscars.

They could've been contenders

[4] The list below, featuring potential – and ultimately failed – contenders in various award categories, was posted the night before the Los Angeles Film Critics Association announced its winners and runners-up:

  • Sylvester Stallone in Creed.
  • Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams in Spotlight.
  • Kate Winslet in Steve Jobs.
  • Charlize Theron in Mad Max: Fury Road.
  • Alejandro González Iñárritu's The Revenant and stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy.
  • Jennifer Lawrence in Joy.
  • Marion Cotillard in Macbeth.
  • Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight.
  • Alex Garland's Ex Machina.
  • Denis Villeneuve's Sicario.
  • Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara in Carol.
  • Sean Baker's Tangerine.
  • Brie Larson in Room.
  • Jane Fonda in Youth.
  • Lily Tomlin in Grandma.
  • Ridley Scott's The Martian and star Matt Damon.
  • Carey Mulligan in Suffragette.
  • Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander in The Danish Girl.
  • Maggie Smith in The Lady in the Van.
  • Tom Courtenay in 45 Years.
  • Ben Whishaw and Olivia Colman in Spectre.
  • Carey Mulligan in Suffragette.

 

Los Angeles Film Critics Awards' Best Actor winner Michael Fassbender Steve Jobs image: Universal Pictures.

Los Angeles Film Critics Awards' Best Actress winner Charlotte Rampling 45 Years image: Sundance Selects/IFC Films.

Los Angeles Film Critics' Best Supporting Actress winner Alicia Vikander Ex Machina image: Universal Pictures.

Image of Géza Röhrig in the Los Angeles Film Critics Awards' Best Foreign Language Film Son of Saul: Sony Pictures Classics.

Best Film winner Spotlight trailer: Open Road Films.

Los Angeles Film Critics Association website.


         
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