This time of year, another weekend means another round of precursor awards action in the run-up to the Oscars, and Sunday’s Los Angeles Film Critics Association honors are poised to generate some extra heat for 2017’s crop of contenders.
Playing a key role in the publicity machine that either makes or breaks would-be Oscar competitors, critics circles from coast to coast — including New York’s influential arm, which named Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird the best film of the year on Thursday —typically provide a vital visibility boost to fringe contenders jockeying for positioning in the race; they can also continue the momentum generated by steadfast contenders that have already made a strong imprint on the trail thus far.
With no clear-cut frontrunner in the race for best picture, this year the critics sit at a unique place at the head of the precursor stretch, their voices amplified as industry voters search for a priority picture to rally around before the guilds begin their nominations announcements in the days ahead (namely the Screen Actors Guild, which reveals its list of annual honorees Dec. 13). The LAFCA helped carve a potential path to Oscar glory for the stunning same-sex romance Call Me by Your Name, which took the group’s top honor, while director Luca Guadagnino tied with Guillermo del Toro (The Shape of Water) in the association’s best director match.
Since 2006, the LAFCA has correctly foretold the academy’s top honoree three times; in 2009 (Kathryn Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker), in 2015 (Tom McCarthy’s Spotlight) and last year, when Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight triumphed with the LAFCA in anticipation of taking the Oscar for best picture.
While Del Toro’s The Shape of Water made strong showings on the fall festival circuit (and emerged with the Venice Film Festival’s top prize), weeks of subsequent speculation that the sci-fi romance would perform well on the precursor scene quickly dwindled as it missed out on the National Board of Review’s top 10 films, and later received zero recognition from the NYFCC. That changed Sunday, however, as the LAFCA facilitated star Sally Hawkins’ first major stride into the best actress conversation with a well deserved honor in the lead category. Call Me by Your Name breakout Timothée Chalamet continued his early dominance with the critics groups as well, picking up the LAFCA award for best actor after winning the same award from the NYFCC on Thursday.
In terms of acting wins across the last decade, the LAFCA has heralded an eventual Oscar-winning performance from a leading actress five times (Helen Mirren, Marion Cotillard, Jennifer Lawrence, Cate Blanchett, and Patricia Arquette), with three further victors (Emmanuelle Riva, Charlotte Rampling, Isabelle Huppert) going on to receive Academy Award nominations. Across the same period, four of the LAFCA’s best actor champions (Daniel Day-Lewis, Sean Penn, Jeff Bridges, Colin Firth) have translated those victories into Oscar success stories as well.
Another such awards hopeful who received an encouraging push Sunday from the LAFCA is Willem Dafoe, whose performance in The Florida Project adds yet another award to the veteran actor’s ballooning mantle of trophies won this year, as he nabbed similar recognition from the NYFCC and the National Board of Review earlier this week.
The LAFCA’s taste in supporting actors has been hit-or-miss when it comes to academy crossover, with the groups sharing six mutual winners in the category since 2007, though none of the LAFCA’s choices from the remaining years went on to bag an Oscar nod.
On the women’s side, Laurie Metcalf garners her second major victory of the season for her supporting role in Lady Bird, just days after taking the National Board of Review award in the same category. The LAFCA hasn’t correctly predicted the academy’s best supporting actress winner since 2013, when Lupita Nyong’o won for 12 Years a Slave.
Check out a full list of the 2017 LAFCA Award winners below.
WINNER: Call Me by Your Name
RUNNER-UP: The Florida Project
WINNERS (TIE): Guillermo del Toro — The Shape of Water / Luca Guadagnino — Call Me by Your Name
WINNER: Timothée Chalamet — Call Me by Your Name
RUNNER-UP: James Franco — The Disaster Artist
WINNER: Sally Hawkins — The Shape of Water
RUNNER-UP: Frances McDormand — Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Best Supporting Actor
WINNER: Willem Dafoe — The Florida Project
RUNNER-UP: Sam Rockwell — Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Best Supporting Actress
WINNER: Laurie Metcalf — Lady Bird
RUNNER-UP: Mary J. Blige — Mudbound
WINNER: The Breadwinner
Best Foreign Language Film
WINNERS (TIE): BPM (Beats Per Minute) / Loveless
WINNER: Faces Places
WINNER: Jordan Peele — Get Out
RUNNER-UP: Martin McDonagh — Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
WINNER: Lee Smith — Dunkirk
RUNNER-UP: Tatiana S. Riegel — I, Tonya
Best Production Design
WINNER: Dennis Gassner — Blade Runner 2049
RUNNER-UP: Paul D. Austerberry — The Shape of Water
Best Music Score
WINNER: Jonny Greenwood — Phantom Thread
RUNNER-UP: Alexandre Desplat — The Shape of Water
WINNER: Dan Laustsen — The Shape of Water
RUNNER-UP: Roger Deakins — Blade Runner 2049