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Los Angeles Film Critics Vote (UPDATED)

Los Angeles Film Critics Vote (UPDATED)

The Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA) hammered out their year-end awards this Sunday. The question each year is whether they will repeat the New York Film Critics Circle picks or go a different way. The West Coast critics tends to go in a more studio-mainstream direction, but not always. This year they went with an indie, Tom McCarthy’s journalism expose “Spotlight” (Open Road), considered to be the Oscar frontrunner, for Best Film of 2015, as well as Best Screenplay.

Actors Charlotte Rampling (“45 Years”) and Michael Fassbender (“Steve Jobs”) and supporting players Michael Shannon (“99 Homes”) and Alicia Vikander (“Ex Machina”) advanced in their respective bids for Oscar slots. 

READ MORE: New York Film Critics Push Faves in Awards Season, ‘Carol’ Wins Four 

The NYFCC threw four wins at Todd Haynes’ “Carol,” which took home Best Score with the LAFCA, while George Miller’s “Mad Max: Fury Road” took a total of three LAFCA wins including Best Director. In an upset, “Anomalisa” won Best Animation over “Inside Out,” while Foreign Film went to “Son of Saul,” consolidating its position as a frontrunner. 

Two Boston critics’ groups also split between “Spotlight” and “Fury Road.” 

The Los Angeles critics already announced a well-deserved Career Achievement award for “Lawrence of Arabia” editor and Academy Governor Anne V. Coates, who also crafted the sexy “Out of Sight” and “Unfaithful” and most recently, helped out with “Fifty Shades of Grey.” 
Last year LAFCA gave “Boyhood’ four awards (Best Picture, Best Director Richard Linklater, Actress Patricia Arquette, who went on to win Supporting Actress at the Oscars, and Editing). Past winners are here. Each critic’s vote was weighted: their first choice is worth 3 points, second, 2 points, third, 1 point.

The awards will be presented at a Los Angeles ceremony on January 9. 


Best Film: “Spotlight” 
“Mad Max: Fury Road”
Both are mighty Oscar contenders. “Spotlight” has strong support from actors and writers, while “Fury Road” gets everybody else. 

New Generation Award: Ryan Coogler (“Creed”)
The writer-director broke out with Sundance hit “Fruitvale Station” two years ago. But this helps his bid for awards contention with “Creed,” with both Michael B. Jordan and Sylvester Stallone gaining ground in acting races. 

Best Foreign Language Film: “Son of Saul”
“The Tribe”
One is the Oscar frontrunner, while the other was submitted by the Ukraine last year and opened in theaters in 2015. 

Best Actress:  Charlotte Rampling (“45 Years”)
Runner-up: Saoirse Ronan (“Brooklyn”)
Both are strong contenders in the Oscar race. 

Best Director: George Miller (“Mad Max: Fury Road”)

Runner-up: Todd Haynes (“Carol”)
These two films duked it out throughout the voting, with “Fury Road” coming out on top for the most part. Both will be in contention for multiple Oscars including Best Picture and Director. 

Best Animation:  “Anomalisa.”

Runner-up: “Inside Out.”
The critics have obviously decided to make a push for “Anomalisa,” assuming Pixar Oscar frontrunner “Inside Out” is in good shape. 
Best Actor: Michael Fassbender (“Steve Jobs”)
Runner-up: Géza Röhrig (“Son of Saul”)
Fassbender is expected to land an Oscar nomination, but debuting actor Röhrig, a New York poet, needs critics’ attention to gain traction for the Hungarian Oscar entry from Sony Pictures Classics. 

Best Screenplay: Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy (“Spotlight”)
Runner-up: Charlie Kaufman, (“Anomalisa”)
The original screenplay Oscar is “Spotlight” by a mile. “Anomalisa” has a good shot as an adapted screenplay with the writer’s branch.

Best Documentary: “Amy”
Runner Up: “The Look of Silence”
It looks like these two films are duking it out for wins; “The Look of Silence” (Drafthouse), Joshua Oppenheimer’s sequel to “The Act of Killing,” took home the Gotham and IDA Award, while Asif Kapadia’s “Amy” (A24) won the Boston Society of Film Critics. 

Best Supporting Actress: Alicia Vikander (“Ex Machina”)

Runner-up: Kristen Stewart (“Clouds of Sils Maria”)
Vikander has been considered a strong contender in this category for Focus Features’ “The Danish Girl,” which is consciously omitted here in favor of A24’s “Ex Machina”; IFC hasn’t been pushing NYFCC-winner Stewart, but may have to now. 

Best Editing: Hank Corwin (“The Big Short”)

Runner-up: Margaret Sixel (“Mad Max: Fury Road”)
If “The Big Short’ is a contender in any category it’s this one. “Fury Road” is already in. 
Best Production Design:  Colin Gibson (“Mad Max: Fury Road”)
Runner-up: Judy Becker (“Carol”)
Both are strong Oscar contenders. 

Best Supporting Actor: Michael Shannon (“99 Homes”)

Runner-up: Mark Rylance (“Bridge of Spies”)

This will help boost both into serious contention in a crowded field, but more people will wind up viewing Steven Spielberg’s “Bridge of Spies” (Disney/DreamWorks) than indie “99 Homes” (Broad Green). 

Best Cinematography: John Seale (“Mad Max: Fury Road”)
Runner-up: Edward Lachman (“Carol”)
Both could wind up with Oscar noms, but the category is crammed with outstanding work this year.
Best Music Score: Carter Burwell (“Anomalisa” and “Carol”)
Runner-up: Ennio Morricone (“The Hateful Eight”)
Burwell is long overdue for a nomination (and has two films in contention this year), while veteran Morricone, who Quentin Tarantino has long been sampling, is back with his first western score in 40 years. 

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