L.A. Film Critics awards boosts Colin Firth & Jacki Weaver Oscar chances
When it comes to the Academy Awards, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association (a.k.a. L.A. Film Critics) is one of the two most influential film critics groups in the United States. The other being, of course, the New York Film Critics Circle. (The National Society of Film Critics would come in third, chiefly because its choices tend to be less Oscar friendly.)
Below is the list of the 2010 L.A. Film Critics’ winners and runners-up, announced on Dec. 12. Notice several interesting, internationally minded choices – no Americans among the acting winners – including Best Actress Kim Hye-ja for the South Korean drama Mother; Best Supporting Actress Jacki Weaver for the Australian crime drama Animal Kingdom; Best Supporting Actor Niels Arestrup for the prison drama A Prophet; and co-Best Director Olivier Assayas for the French-German (originally made-for-TV) political thriller Carlos.
Best Film: The Social Network.
Best Foreign Language Film: Carlos.
Best Director (tie): Olivier Assayas, Carlos & David Fincher, The Social Network.
Best Actress: Kim Hye-ja, Mother.
Runner-up: Jennifer Lawrence, Winter’s Bone.
Best Actor: Colin Firth, The King’s Speech.
Runner-up: Edgar Ramírez, Carlos.
Best Supporting Actress: Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom.
Runner-up: Olivia Williams, The Ghost Writer.
Best Supporting Actor: Niels Arestrup, A Prophet.
Runner-up: Geoffrey Rush, The King’s Speech.
Best Screenplay: Aaron Sorkin for The Social Network.
Runner-up: David Seidler, The King’s Speech.
Best Documentary: Last Train Home.
Runner-up: Exit Through the Gift Shop.
Best Animated Film: Toy Story 3.
Runner-up: The Illusionist.
Best Cinematography: Matthew Libatique, Black Swan.
Best Production Design: Guy Hendrix Dyas, Inception.
Runner-up: Eve Stewart, The King’s Speech.
Douglas E. Edwards Independent/Experimental Film/Video: Film Socialisme.
New Generation Award: Lena Durham, Tiny Furniture.
Legacy of Cinema: Serge Bromberg for his preservation efforts, including his work on Henri-Georges Clouzot’s Inferno and the F.W. Murnau Foundation and Fernando Peña for the restoration of Metropolis.
L.A. Film Critics Awards: Expected/unexpected predictions mix
Dec. 11: The Los Angeles Film Critics Association will be announcing their 2010 winners tomorrow. Last year, the L.A. Film Critics’ picks were mostly predictable – The Hurt Locker, Kathryn Bigelow, Mo’Nique, Christoph Waltz – but there were a few good surprises as well, e.g., Best Actress Yolande Moreau for Séraphine and Best Cinematography for The White Ribbon (Christian Berger).
Expect the same mix of predictability and unpredictability this year.
Best Film & Best Director: Facebook drama
David Fincher’s The Social Network is the clear favorite among U.S.-based critics. Chances are this drama about the troubled creation of Facebook will nab awards for Best Film, Best Director, and Best Screenplay (Aaron Sorkin).
Potential L.A. Film Critics Best Film upsets:
- Lee Unkrich’s Toy Story 3 (Pixar’s Wall-E won in 2008).
- Tom Hooper’s The King’s Speech.
- Mike Leigh’s Another Year.
- Debra Granik’s Winter’s Bone.
- Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan.
Apart from Unkrich, the other filmmakers are strong contenders in the L.A. Film Critics’ Best Director category. Here are two more possibilities:
Best Screenplay: More Facebook drama
As mentioned above, The Social Network, adapted by Aaron Sorkin, is the odds-on favorite for the L.A. Film Critics’ Best Screenplay award.
Other potential Best Screenplay winners include:
- Debra Granik for Winter’s Bone.
- David Seidler for The King’s Speech.
- Mike Leigh for Another Year (even though his movies are supposed to be mostly improvised).
Best Foreign Language Film: Brutal prison life
Though a 2009 release in parts of the world, Jacques Audiard’s acclaimed prison drama A Prophet, starring Tahar Rahim, opened in the United States only in February 2010. It’ll quite possibly be the L.A. Film Critics’ pick for Best Foreign Language Film.
In fact, Audiard could also have a chance at the Best Director award, though that doesn’t seem all that likely considering the (high-profile) English-language competition.
Other Best Foreign Language Film possibilities:
- Luca Guadagnino’s I Am Love.
- Bong Joon-ho’s Mother.
Xavier Beauvois’ Of Gods and Men should be out of the race, as it opens in the U.S. only in February 2011.
Best Animated Film & Best Documentary: Toys & crooks
Hands-down Best Animated Film at the L.A. Film Critics Awards: Toy Story 3.
A win by Sylvain Chomet’s The Illusionist, based on a semi-autobiographical work by Jacques Tati (Monsieur Hulot’s Holiday, Mon Oncle), though not exactly impossible, would be a major upset.
The Best Documentary may well turn out to be Charles Ferguson’s acclaimed Inside Job, about the global financial meltdown that is still taking place – Ireland is the latest country to go Third World.
Other possibilities include:
- Davis Guggenheim’s Waiting for ‘Superman’.
- Alex Gibney’s Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer.
- Amir Bar-Lev’s The Tillman Story.
- Banksy’s Exit Through the Gift Shop.
Short-tempered Best Actor?
The L.A. Film Critics have a number of strong male performances to choose from this year, mostly from well-known actors:
So, will they go instead for Jim Broadbent in Mike Leigh’s Another Year? Don’t bet against it.
Having said that, it would be smarter to put your money on Colin Firth for playing the stuttering (and short-tempered) King George VI in The King’s Speech.
Another strong possibility: Jesse Eisenberg for portraying another real life character, Facebook’s controversial founder Mark Zuckerberg, in The Social Network.
Javier Bardem to make L.A. Film Critics Awards history?
Somewhat curiously, no performer in a non-English-language film has ever received the L.A. Film Critics’ Best Actor award. The vast majority of the winners, in fact, consist of big Hollywood names, e.g., Michael Douglas, Burt Lancaster, Al Pacino, etc.
Could Javier Bardem become the first non-English-speaking Best Actor winner for his star turn in Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Spanish drama Biutiful?
‘Man-hungry’ Best Actress?
Every so often, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association bestows at least one of their acting awards on performers featured in “unexpected” movies – those non-mainstream, at times non-English-language productions that are off the Hollywood-centric, Anglophone-centric radar of most U.S.-based awards season pundits.
Last year, for instance, Yolande Moreau won the L.A. Film Critics’ Best Actress award for Martin Provost’s French biopic Séraphine, about the life of painter Séraphine de Senlis. In all likelihood, no one saw that coming, even though Moreau had won a Best Actress César earlier in the year. (Séraphine opened in France in 2008.)
This year, we’re betting on Lesley Manville for her lonely – some might say man-hungry – middle-aged secretary in Another Year. That’s partly because she’s a potential Oscar contender who has already been singled out by the National Board of Review, partly because the L.A. Film Critics really like Mike Leigh’s actresses: Brenda Blethyn (Secrets & Lies), Imelda Staunton (Vera Drake), and Sally Hawkins (Happy-Go-Lucky) have all been honored in the last 15 years.
Other international Best Actress possibilities include Tilda Swinton for I Am Love and Noomi Rapace for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, in addition to the following Hollywood (or borderline-Hollywood) types:
- Natalie Portman for Black Swan.
- Nicole Kidman for Rabbit Hole.
- Michelle Williams for Blue Valentine.
- Annette Bening for The Kids Are All Right (and Mother and Child?).
- Jennifer Lawrence for Winter’s Bone.
A win by Mother‘s Kim Hye-ja, however deserving, would be a major upset.
Drugs & crime in supporting categories
The Best Supporting Actor could very well be Christian Bale for his portrayal of a drug-addicted former boxer in The Fighter. In the Best Supporting Actress category, we’re betting on Jacki Weaver for David Michôd’s Australian crime drama Animal Kingdom.
Both Bale and Weaver have already won awards from the National Board of Review.
Christian Bale’s competition includes the usual suspects, such as Geoffrey Rush for The King’s Speech and Andrew Garfield for The Social Network.
Or the winner could be someone unexpected such as:
Jacki Weaver will have to contend with the following:
- Melissa Leo and Amy Adams for The Fighter.
- Dale Dickey for Winter’s Bone.
- Mila Kunis for Black Swan.
- Helena Bonham Carter for The King’s Speech‘s (and for Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland?).
- Greta Gerwig for Noah Baumbach’s Greenberg.
Marion Cotillard probably doesn’t stand much of a chance for her performance as Leonardo DiCaprio’s – literally – dream wife in Inception, but stranger things have happened.
On the other hand, previous L.A. Film Critics Best Supporting Actress winner Catherine Keener could well be cited once again, this time around for Nicole Holofcener’s Please Give, and Jay and Mark Duplass’ Cyrus.
Keener, by the way, won for no less than four performances back in 2005: Capote, The Interpreter, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, and The Ballad of Jack and Rose.
Los Angeles Film Critics Association website.
Image of L.A. Film Critics Best Actress Kim Hye-ja in Mother: CJ Entertainment.
Lesley Manville Another Year image: Sony Pictures Classics.
Tahar Rahim A Prophet image: Sony Pictures Classics.
“L.A. Film Critics Daringly International Choices: From Terrorists & Criminals to Kings & Mothers” last updated in May 2018.