Monday, December 5, 2016

A Season Full of Awards: LAFCA

Alright, so LAFCA announced yesterday and...I'm not sure what this is supposed to be.  I find it funny when critics groups go out of their way to seem 'individual' to the point where they almost make no sense, especially when you look at their runner-up options.  I mean, Moonlight aside (because the reviews/buzz/accolades support it being at the top), these wins all feel like a group trying to be 'different', especially when you consider the fact that their runner-ups are all the current frontrunners.

In all honesty, despite La La Land not nabbing a single win outside of Original Score, I think this said more about it's inevitable Oscar slayage than anything else because it was practically runner-up in every other category.

Here's the shakedown:

Best Picture

WINNER: Moonlight

Moonlight is looking to be the true critics favorite this year, and I can see why (still haven't seen the film, but those reviews are hard to ignore), but it won't stand a chance at winning the Oscar.  La La Land showing up as a runner-up here shows just how strong it is as a crowd pleasing film, and when it all boils down to 'the film we can all agree on loving', it's going to stay there.

Best Director

WINNER: Barry Jenkins - Moonlight
RUNNER-UP: Damien Chazelle - La La Land

Doubting Jenkins Oscar nomination seems silly and yet, he could very well turn out to be this year's Todd Haynes...and Chazelle and his film landing in second again only reaffirms his strength.  That Oscar is his.

Best Actor 

WINNER: Adam Driver - Paterson
RUNNER-UP: Casey Affleck - Manchester by the Sea

Driver is having a great year, and he has recieved good ink, but we all know that Affleck was poised to take everything this year and having him show up in second makes this feel very much like a 'we don't want to look like everyone else so we'll go with someone else even though we know Affleck deserves this'.

Best Actress

WINNER: Isabelle Huppert - Elle
RUNNER-UP: Rebecca Hall - Christine

Huppert is SLAYING with these critics.  I can't see her winning the Oscar, not over Stone, but she could very well take that Globe from Portman, who feels more and more out of this race.

Best Supporting Actor

WINNER: Mahershala Ali - Moonlight
RUNNER-UP: Issy Ogata - Silence

Ali is feeling like an unlikely frontrunner, but with the Silence boys remaining untouched so far (I mean, they even lost runner-up status to a co-star no one is talking about) Ali could very well gain the traction needed to be Moonlight's sole Oscar win.  SAG should be an easy get for him, considering he's got a very well known television career and SAG likes to reward them.  Hell, the Globe could be an easy get as well.  DAYAM...are we really looking at Oscar Winner Mahershala Ali?  OMG!!!

Best Supporting Actress

WINNER: Lily Gladstone - Certain Women
RUNNER-UP: Michelle Williams - Manchester by the Sea

I hear great things about Gladstone, but Williams coming in second tells me that we should not count her out so soon for that Oscar.  Davis hasn't picked up any hardware yet, but Williams already has NYFCC and a mention here.  Crossing fingers.

Best Animation

WINNER: Your Name.
RUNNER-UP: The Red Turtle


Best Foreign Language Film

WINNER: The Handmaiden
RUNNER-UP: Toni Erdmann

I'm starting to wonder if The Handmaiden will make it to the Oscar lineup.  I've heard strange things about it, but MANY people LOVE this movie.  This year's choices in this category feel stronger than most, don't they?

Best Documentary

WINNER: I Am Not Your Negro
RUNNER-UP: OJ: Made in America

I have friends who say that 13th will still take the Oscar, but this is very much looking like a race between these two films, ATM.

Best Screenplay

WINNER: Efthymis Filippou and Yorgos Lanthimos - The Lobster
RUNNER-UP: Kenneth Lonergan - Manchester by the Sea

Listen, I loved The Lobster and find it's script facinating, but this win feels odd stacked up against that runner-up.

Best Editing

WINNER: Bret Granato, Maya Mumma, Ben Sozanski - OJ: Made in America
RUNNER-UP: Tom Cross - La La Land

Oh look, we're different!  But...we still want you to know that we know who will win the Oscar.

Best Production Design

WINNER: Ryu Seong-hee - The Handmaiden
RUNNER-UP: David Wasco - La La Land

 Oh look, we're different!  But...we still want you to know that we know who will win the Oscar.

Best Music Score

WINNER: Justin Hurwitz - La La Land
RUNNER-UP: Mica Levi - Jackie

So, I'm starting to wonder if this could factor in with Oscar.  I wrote it off thinking that Oscar would focus more on the Original Song aspect, but this score has been landing all over the place and with this category feeling so up in the air, this could wind up being an easy get for the Oscar frontrunner.

Best Cinematography

WINNER: James Laxton - Moonlight
RUNNER-UP: Linus Sandgren - La La Land

I'd say that this is looking like a real race between these two films for the Oscar, but Oscar won't award Moonlight here.  This will come down to La La Land (which will win) and Silence.

New Generation Award

WINNER: Trey Edward Shults and Krisha Fairchild - Krisha

Another win for this film!  I should finally just watch it (it's streaming on Amazon Prime)...since I clearly know nothing about it (I thought it was a doc).

FINAL THOUGHTS:  LAFCA just confirmed how strong La La Land really is.  This Oscar race is over, people.  It has been for a while, but LAFCA just confirmed it.


  1. I'd be amazed to not see Isabelle Huppert pick up a long overdue nomination, her narrative feels very much like Charlotte Rampling's last year at this point. However just like Charlotte her chances of actually winning are remote since the award is rarely handed to the most deserving but who is the consensus pick that year...invariably a shiny new thing.

    I'm surprised not to have seen Viola Davis turn up anywhere yet. Perhaps the calculated risk of going supporting is going to bite her.

    1. Huppert is starting to look more like a Riva than a Rampling, mostly because no one else outside of Stone has remained in the 'win' conversation. She could wind up actually making a play for the Oscar. She will come up short, much like Riva, but I could very well see her winning the Globe Drama as well as maybe BAFTA. Stone will take BFCA, Globe Comedy, SAG (which is probably the most important) and the Oscar, but Huppert is stronger than initially anticipated, which I'm LOVING!!!

  2. The problem with Best Actress is that most of the vehicles haven't officially opened yet (although they've all screened for critics), so we won't really know how people are feeling about Jackie, 20th Century Women, and Fences for a while. I LOVE that Rebecca Hall mention, because she is FABULOUS in Christine and hasn't really been talked about, because the movie got a miniscule release and merely good reviews. But Huppert was pretty much always going to storm the (major) critics' awards anyway, so I'm not too surprised even though I'm ecstatic. The critics know that it's basically up to them to keep her in the conversation in order to get her the nomination, although like Riva, Cotillard, and Rampling she has no real shot at winning (the movie is practically the very definition of "not the Academy's cup of tea", and her performance is probably too cerebral - "distant" and "cold" - for them).

    Unfortunately, as much as I ADORE The Handmaiden, South Korea didn't submit it for Oscar. Not that picking up nominations for Production and/or Costume Design would be entirely out of the question (they're both deserving and Asian films have been nominated in those categories before without a Foreign Film nomination), the movie is probably WAY too out there for the Academy (although it is STUNNING).

    I'm kind of glad Viola hasn't shown up as a winner in Critics Awards yet, but as long as the bigger shows keep nominating her in Supporting, I will be PISSED OFF, because unless they SIGNIFICANTLY reduced her role for the movie - and from all that I've heard, they didn't - it's NOT a Supporting role, and critics should know better.

    The Lobster should absolutely be winning every screenplay award ever. It's as strongly structured as Manchester, with oodles more originality to boot. Exactly the kind of win a critics' group SHOULD give!

    Also, I'm really sorry to say, Casey Affleck is too one-note (by necessity, but still) for me to fully endorse him for all these Best Actor wins. So I'll be glad every time someone else wins one, even if it is Adam Driver.

    1. I'm not saying for one minute that I don't think the wins are deserving...but when they are paired with the 'runner-ups', which are pretty much the same films/names that have been taking everything else, the wins almost feel like a desire to be different more than anything else.

  3. I'd love to see Huppert win or be nominated, I just watched Elle and holy shit was she ever good in it! As for everything else... Yeah, it is "Look I'm unique notice me!" situation, which... cool, but also kinda sad. lol.

    1. Huppert won't win...but that nom is looking pretty assured.

  4. Yeah, I love that someone is talking about Adam Driver! I really want to see Christine. I hope it opens somewhere here.

    You're so right about the wanting to be different thing. I hope you see Moonlight soon.

    1. UGH, I need Moonlight in my life so badly.

      That being said...I'm seeing La La Land tomorrow!!!!!!

  5. I have no clue but always learn from your blog. I want to see many of the pics you mention here. I saw a couple of clips of Natalie Portman as Jackie and I find her voice grating and that's just in the trailers

    1. LOL, Portman's accent has been discussed a lot, but apparently she nails it after the first like 5 minutes of the film. Her performance is said to be a treasure.

  6. I always liked the L.A. Film Critics Association as they always do something a bit different as they often choose the right films as well as say praise to films that needed some love.

    1. They certainly didn't disappoint in the 'different' department this year.

  7. I think we can assume Jenkins is in. And Huppert is this year's Cotillard (for Rust and Bone). Calling it. (Also, BOO if that happens.)

    1. Huppert is Cotillard alright...for 2D1N!!!