Sunday, December 10, 2006

Los Angeles Film Critics Association ...

There are many film critics groups across North America. In recent years, they have proliferated like mice in a particularly choice piece of Gouda. But in the beginning, or at least not too long ago, there were four: The National Board of Review, the New York Film Critics Circle, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and the National Society of Film Critics. Even today, they are still the Big Four from which many good things flow. The NBR spoke on Wednesday. Today it was the guys from the vortex, L.A., who voiced their opinions.

The LAFCA started in 1975. Today there are about 45 members or so, including Leonard Maltin, Kenneth Turan and David Ansen. They're big cheeses, by the way, to continue the mouse metaphor. Unlike some of the other critics' groups, the LAFCA hedges its bets by announcing the second-place winners. Gutsy or playing it safe? You be the judge.

Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards (announced 12-10-2006)
Best Picture: Letters from Iwo Jima
Runner-up: The Queen

Best Actor: (tie) Forest Whitaker, The Last King of Scotland; Sacha Baron Cohen, Borat (!!!!)

Best Actress: Helen Mirren, The Queen
Runner-up: Penelope Cruz, Volver

Best Supporting Actor: Michael Sheen, The Queen
Runner-up: Sergi Lopez, Pan's Labyrinth

Best Supporting Actress: Luminita Gheorghiu, The Death of Mr. Lazarescu (she and the film are Romanian, in case you were wondering. I sure was.)
Runner-up: Jennifer Hudson, Dreamgirls

Best Director: Paul Greengrass, United 93
Runner-up: Clint Eastwood, Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima

Best Screenplay: Peter Morgan, The Queen
Runner-up: Michael Arndt, Little Miss Sunshine

Best Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki, Children of Men
Runner-up: Tom Stern, Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima

Best Production Design: Eugenio Caballero, Pan's Labyrinth
Runner-up: Jim Clay and Geoffrey Kirkland, Children of Men

Best Music: Alexandre Desplat, The Queen and The Painted Veil
Runner-up: Thomas Newman, The Good German and Little Children

Best Foreign-language film: The Lives of Others
Runner-up: Volver

Best Documentary/non-fiction film: An Inconvenient Truth
Runner-up: Darwin's Nightmare

Best Animation Feature: Happy Feet
Runner-up: Cars

Douglas Edwards Experimental/Independent Film/Video award: Old Joy (Kelly Reichardt) and In Between Days (So Yong Kim)

New Generation Award: Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris (directors) and Michael Arndt (screenwriter), Little Miss Sunshine

The presence of Cohen as the co-winner of Best Actor is very interesting. Does this elevate him to true Oscar bait? Probably not, though it probably does guarantee him a place at the Golden Globe table for best actor in a comedy or musical. (It also begs the question, if he did land an invite to the Academy Awards, would he show up as Cohen or as Borat? Seeing how many people think the ceremony is a big bore, maybe the latter would be better for ratings.)

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