The Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA), one of the most important critics groups in the awards season, announced their favorites films and performances, following Boston and New York last week. They managed to shake things up considerably with Prime Video’s “Small Axe,” a collection of five films directed by Oscar-winner Steve McQueen (who was the runner up in best director), won two big awards including best picture and cinematography (Shabier Kirchner).
The only individual citation for one of the films was for “Lovers Rock,” whose composer Mica Levi was the runner up in best music. Amazon Studios has submitted “Small Axe” to the Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild awards in the limited series categories. The plans have been to submit the series for the Emmys next year.
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Other winners included Chloé Zhao winning once again for “Nomadland” in the directing category. She is the first Asian woman to ever win the category and just the fourth woman.
With the NYFCC win under Zhao’s belt now, the other big piece to the puzzle is when the National Board of Review announces their awards on Jan. 26. If she picks up the director’s trophy there, she would be the first woman to win the “precursor trifecta” in the history of the three groups co-existing (since 1975). Only five filmmakers have ever won the three awards: Barry Jenkins (“Moonlight”), David Fincher (“The Social Network”), Ang Lee (“Brokeback Mountain”), Curtis Hanson (“L.A. Confidential”) and Quentin Tarantino (“Pulp Fiction”). All went on to be nominated at the Oscars with just Lee winning.
Chadwick Boseman won another posthumous prize, this time for his leading role in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” His 73-year-old co-star Glynn Turman won the best supporting actor, making him the oldest Black actor to win the award. He’s also just the fifth Black actor to win the category.
Focus Features’ “Promising Young Woman” walked away with two big prizes – best actress for Carey Mulligan and screenplay for writer and director Emerald Fennell.
Yuh-jung Youn’s loving grandmother in Lee Isaac Chung’s “Minari” won best supporting actress, making her just the second Asian actress to win following Shohreh Aghdashloo’s (of Iranian descent) cited work in 2004’s “House of Sand and Fog.”
The last time a LAFCA winner for best film failed to be nominated for best picture at the Oscars was in 2008 when the group chose the animated film “Wall-E” for their top prize. That looks to come back around this year unless Amazon Studios makes any unprecedented changes to their awards campaign strategy.
See the full winners list below (updated as they’re announced):
Best Picture: “Small Axe” (Prime Video)
Runner up: “Nomadland” (Searchlight Pictures)
Best Director: Chloé Zhao, “Nomadland” (Searchlight Pictures)
Runner up: Steve McQueen, “Small Axe” (Prime Video)
Best Actor: Chadwick Boseman, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” (Netflix)
Runner up: Riz Ahmed, “Sound of Metal” (Amazon Studios)
Best Actress: Carey Mulligan, “Promising Young Woman” (Focus Features)
Runner up: Viola Davis, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” (Netflix)
Best Supporting Actor: Glynn Turman, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” (Netflix)
Runner up: Paul Raci, “Sound of Metal” (Amazon Studios)
Best Supporting Actress: Yuh-jung Youn, “Minari” (A24)
Runner up: Amanda Seyfried, “Mank” (Netflix)
Best Animated Film: “Wolfwalkers” (Apple TV Plus/GKIDS)
Runner up: “Soul” (Pixar)
Best Documentary/Non-Fiction: “Time” (Amazon Studios)
Runner up: “Collective” (Magnolia Pictures and Participant)
Best Foreign Language Film: “Beanpole” (Kino Lorber)
Runner up: “Martin Eden” (Kino Lorber)
Best Screenplay: “Promising Young Woman” (Focus Features) – Emerald Fennell
Runner up: “Never Rarely Sometimes Always” (Focus Features) – Eliza Hittman
Best Cinematography: “Small Axe” (Prime Video) – Shabier Kirchner
Runner up: “Nomadland” (Searchlight Pictures) – Joshua James Richards
Best Editing: “The Father” (Sony Pictures Classics) – Yorgos Lamprinos
Runner up: “Time” (Amazon Studios) – Gabriel Rhodes
Best Music/Score: “Soul” (Pixar) – Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross
Runner up: “Lovers Rock” (Prime Video) – Mica Levi
Best Production Design: “Mank” (Netflix) – Donald Graham Burt
Runner up: “Beanpole” (Kino Lorber) – Sergey Ivanov
New Generation Prize: Radha Blank, “The Forty-Year-Old Version” (Netflix)
Douglas Edwards Experimental Film Award: John Gianvito’s “Her Socialist Smile”
Career Achievement: Hou Hsiao-Hsien and Harry Belafonte
Legacy Award: Norman Lloyd
Handing out awards since 1975, and like their NYFCC counterparts, their selection for the best film has never failed to be nominated for any major Oscar category, including directing, acting and screenplay. To add, you have to go back to 2003’s “American Splendor” to find a LAFCA winner that did not win any category it was nominated in on Oscar night.
Visit THE AWARDS HUB to see the full list of contenders by category.
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