The Los Angeles Film Critics Association voted on their annual awards on Sunday afternoon, arriving at three ties for the six top awards, including Best Film for Alfonso Cuaron's Gravity and Spike Jonze's Her. This is the second such prize for Her in this, the first week of critics' awards. It's the first such prize for Gravity -- which also took Best Director honors for Cuaron -- as the L.A. critics did what many expected them to and ran counter to the big love the New York Film Critics Circle showed to American Hustle. Indeed, since David O. Russell's film won that prize, it's been shut out of all prizes from the LAFCA, National Board of Review, and Boston. Whether that's been a conscious choice by the other groups or not, that early frontrunner status did not last long.
In the acting races, there were two further ties: Cate Blanchett, who had previously won the New York critics' prize for Blue Jasmine, prevailed again, tied with Adele Exarchopoulos, for the Cannes-winning Blue Is the Warmest Color. In Best Supporting Actor, Jared Leto (again, NYFCC winner for Dallas Buyers Club) tied with James Franco, who finally capitalized on all that buzz from earlier in the year for Spring Breakers. Let the doomed-to-fail For Your Consideration campaign commence.
Best Actor went to Bruce Dern, for Nebraska, edging out Chiwetel Ejiofor for 12 Years a Slave. Dern has now won prizes from LAFCA and NBR and seems to be well ensconced in the Oscar race. 12 Years a Slave -- which was expected, at least by this writer, to be much more of a dominant force in the critics awards thus far -- saw its biggest win of the day for Lupita Nyong'o, who picked up her first award of the season. She'll spend the rest of the race fighting for elbow room with Nebraska's June Squibb (who was runner-up in L.A.) and Jennifer Lawrence for American Hustle.
With the Boston Society of Film Critics also voting on Sunday -- and awarding their top prizes to 12 Years a Slave, Steve McQueen, Ejiofor, Blanchett, Squibb, and James Gandolfini for Enough Said -- the critics have very much spread the wealth when it comes to the year-end awards. Which makes for something of an open race as we head into Golden Globe nomination week.
Full LAFCA lineup:
Best Film: TIE: Gravity and Her
Best Actor: Bruce Dern, Nebraska (runner-up: Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave)
Best Actress: TIE: Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine and Adele Exarchopoulos, Blue Is the Warmest Color
Best Director: Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity (runner-up: Spike Jonze, Her)
Best Supporting Actor: TIE: Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club and James Franco, Spring Breakers
Best Supporting Actress: Lupita Nyong'o, 12 Years a Slave (runner-up: June Squibb, Nebraska)
Best Screenplay: Richard Linklater, Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy, Before Midnight (runner-up: Spike Jonze, Her)
Best Documentary: Stories We Tell (runner-up: The Act of Killing)
Best Editing: Gravity (runner-up: Upstream Color)
Best Production Design: Her (runner-up: Inside Llewyn Davis)
Best Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki, Gravity (runner-up: Bruno Delbonnel, Inside Llewyn Davis)
Best Animated Film: Ernest & Celestine (runner-up: The Wind Rises)
Best Score: Inside Llewyn Davis (runner-up: Her)