The Los Angeles Film Critics will get together on Tuesday, the 9th, to vote on and choose the best picture of the year. Last year it was There Will Be Blood at a time when No Country was burning down the house. This year? It’s a toss up as to which film they will choose. Let’s take a brief look at LAFCA’s history.
Wait, before we start, take a look at their swanky new website – a total upgrade from their previous bare bones design. Hey, we know that content is king on the net but no one is going to complain if everything looks prettier. Now we’ll just have to see if their site can handle the server clog – the poor NBR was having some trouble yesterday. I don’t think most normal people are prepared for the mania on the web for this sort of thing.
The Los Angeles Film Critics’ top prize, as you can see below, doesn’t often match up with Oscar for Best Picture. But a recent trend reveals that their winner might be a nominee. After a heated exchange with Scott Foundas last year we discovered that the LAFCA chafes at the Oscar comparison and though they, like most groups, would like to be the main influence when it comes to choosing the Best Picture, they don’t really like being compared to, or being associated with Oscar. Poor Oscar. Nobody likes him. He’s like the millionaire uncle everyone hopes will leave them money but garners neither respect nor love.
Looking back over their history, but for a few odd picks, they have great taste. Brokeback, Crouching Tiger, The Insider – these are movies that were all better than the eventual winner for Best Picture (some will argue that Gladiator was better than Crouching Tiger and that’s debatable).
How will they go this year? It’s difficult to say. And though we tend to focus on Best Picture more than the other categories, this is a good time for an actor or actress to be singled out as well.
The LAFCA doesn’t go full indie like the NSFC sometimes do — chances are their choice will be a film that is headed for the Kodak so it shouldn’t come as a total shock. There Will Be Blood was a sort of surprising choice at the time simply because many thought it would be No Country. But they went a different way than most critics groups.
This year, there doesn’t appear to be a consensus emerging, unless it’s Slumdog, and likely the picks from each group will be all over the place.
The other thing to remember is that the LAFCA will be getting together on Tuesday to vote. They haven’t already turned in ballots which then have to be tabulated. They do it in real time.
So what will they choose? Will they opt out of the genre prejudice and vote in The Dark Knight? Will they go for Milk? That’s the safest bet. Or will they choose to ride the Slumdog train? Either way, we’ll find out soon.
Here is how I think this award could help various films.
Revolutionary Road: would transform its position in the race and put the deserving movie in the top five.
Frost/Nixon: Puts it in second place behind Button.
Benjamin Button: helps the momentum from backsliding.
Milk: Confirms already suspected prominence, drives the fight against Prop 8
Slumdog Millionaire: will hold steady but a win from NYFCC as well makes it the probable Best Pic winner.
Defiance: Puts it in the race.
The Dark Knight: will never happen but would transform the race.
The Reader: transforms the race.
Frozen River or The Visitor – probably helps Melissa Leo or Richard Jenkins more than it does the individual film but then again look at how well In the Bedroom did.
Gran Torino or Changeling – would not surprise me, probably puts Clint in contention for Best Director, maybe alters Best Pic race.
Here is a chart breakdown with Best Picture over the years:
|There Will Be Blood
|No Country for Old Men
|Letters from Iwo Jima
|Million Dollar Baby
|Return of the King
|In the Bedroom
|A Beautiful Mind
|Saving Private Ryan
|Shakespeare in Love
|Secrets & Lies
|The English Patient
|Leaving Las Vegas
|Silence of the Lambs
|Dances With Wolves
|Do the Right Thing
|Driving Miss Daisy
|Hope and Glory
|The Last Emperor
|Hannah and Her Sisters
|Out of Africa
|Terms of Endearment
|Terms of Endearment
|Chariots of Fire
|Kramer Vs. Kramer
|Kramer Vs. Kramer
|The Deer Hunter
|Dog Day Afternoon
|One Flew Over/Cukoo’s Nest