The Los Angeles Film Critics Association voted on its top films and performances of 2015 Sunday night, capping off a week of movie awards that has seen love showered on a diverse array of films. The association, which formed in 1975 and includes 55 of the city’s top critics, hands out 15 annual awards in addition to a special citation recognizing the body of work by an industry veteran.
While LAFCA’s top honor went to Spotlight, which also won Best Picture at last week’s Gotham Awards, the group diverged from other award-giving bodies (namely the National Board of Review and New York Film Critics Circle) on several categories. In the acting categories, Michael Fassbender won Best Actor for his portrayal of the title character in the non-biopic biopic Steve Jobs, and Michael Shannon won Best Supporting Actor for his shady real estate agent in 99 Homes. While Best Actress winner Charlotte Rampling’s quietly moving performance in 45 Years has been regularly included in early Oscar prediction lists, Best Supporting Actress Alicia Vikander nabbed her award not for her much buzzed about turn in The Danish Girl, but for the sleeper sci-fi hit Ex Machina.
LAFCA also rallied around Anomalisa, Charlie Kaufman’s cerebral stop-motion drama about a soul-searching man, which edged out Pixar darling Inside Out for Best Animation, in addition to snagging Best Score (awarded to Carter Burwell for his work on both Anomalisa and Carol) and runner-up for Best Screenplay.
But perhaps the biggest takeaway as yet another slew of honors paves the path toward Oscar was the love LAFCA showered on Mad Max: Fury Road, which won Best Director, Best Production Design and Best Cinematography and earned runner-up for Best Picture and Best Film Editing. Though none of these awards presage Oscar glory—nor should they be valued solely for their implications for other awards—LACMA’s love for the action flick reinforces the message conveyed last week by the National Board of Review: fiery chase scenes and high critical praise are far from mutually exclusive.
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