Los Angeles Film Critics’ Association Goes Out on a Limb…Except When They Don’t


The LAFCA is not known as a very accurate predictor of the Oscars- until they picked “The Hurt Locker” last year, they had in fact been on a 16-year run of consistently NOT lining up with the Academy when it came to their Best Picture choices (“Schindler’s List” was the previous time they agreed). That’s often meant that the LAFCA has thrown some much-warranted love to a less appreciated work: “WALL-E” and “There Will Be Blood” were recent winners, as well as “About Schmidt,” “American Splendor” and “In the Bedroom.”

Which begs the question of where “The Social Network” is headed this year. So far the critics are unanimously rallying behind Fincher’s film, even though, unlike “The Hurt Locker,” the film didn’t necessarily need such love to be a major player. It makes one wonder whether we’re seeing another “No Country for Old Men” or “Slumdog Millionaire” juggernaut here; but even those films couldn’t make it with this particular group. Meaning, if “The Social Network” can continue to sweep the critics’ awards AND clean up come Oscar time, it will have ended up dominating the season like nothing we’ve ever seen before. Of course, perhaps the film just won’t stick with the Academy, and we’re simply heading for another “L.A. Confidential”-style disappointment. Still an entirely possible outcome.

Anyway, besides the already-starting-to-get-boring sweep for “The Social Network,” the LAFCA choices were suitably off-the-wall, particularly in the acting categories, where they recognized that much of the best work in cinema is being done elsewhere than Hollywood. A lot of the runner-up choices are also very intriguing; I’m really kind of dumbfounded that “The Ghost Writer” has ended up with the legs to stay in the discussion, but I’m rolling with it. It’s a pretty weak year in the Supporting Actress category, and Olivia Williams could absolutely become a contender there if recognition on this level keeps up.

Also a lot of also-ran love for “Carlos,” Olivier Assayas’ 5-hour Carlos the Jackal biopic behemoth, which has been a critical smash since debuting at Cannes, even if no distributor will touch it. I’m also digging the love for Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’ score for “The Social Network;” if the Facebook film is really going to take everything this season, I hope Reznor and Ross get taken along for the ride for their superb work.

Best Picture: The Social Network

Runner-up: Carlos

Best Director: (tie) Olivier Assayas, “Carlos,” and David Fincher, “The Social Network”

Best Actor: Colin Firth, “The King’s Speech”

Runner-up: Edgar Ramirez, “Carlos”

Best Actress: Kim Hye-ja, “Mother”

Runner-up: Jennifer Lawrence, “Winter’s Bone”

Best Supporting Actor: Niels Arestrup, “A Prophet”

Runner-up: Geoffrey Rush, “The King’s Speech”

Best Supporting Actress: Jacki Weaver, “Animal Kingdom”

Runner-up: Olivia Williams, “The Ghost Writer”

Best Screenplay: Aaron Sorkin, “The Social Network”

Runner-up: David Seidler, “The King’s Speech”

Best Cinematography: Matthew Libatique, “Black Swan”

Runner-up: Roger Deakins, “True Grit”

Best Animated Film: Toy Story 3

Runner-up: The Illusionist

Best Foreign Language Film: Carlos

Runner-up: Mother

Best Non-Fiction Film: Last Train Home

Runner-up: Exit Through the Gift Shop

Best Music/Score: (tie) Alexandre Desplat, “The Ghost Writer,” Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, “The Social Network”

Best Production Design: Inception

Runner-up: The King’s Speech

New Generation Award: Lena Dunham, “Tiny Furniture”

Douglas E. Edwards Award for Independent/Experimental Film: “Film Socialisme,” Jean-Luc Godard

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