December 9 was a big day for Roma, capped by a Best Picture win from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association.
It was a clean sweep for the personal passion project from Oscar-winning director Alfonso Cuarón. His Spanish-language film from Mexico (and distributed by Netflix) went 5-for-5, winning the Best Film awards from the Chicago, Philadelphia, Toronto, New York Film Critics Online, and the Los Angeles film critics groups.
The L.A. crix also helped make it a big day for two very small films: Leave No Trace and Burning. Debra Granik won Best Director for Leave No Trace, a daughter/father story of living off the grid as the dad, a former U.S. soldier, struggles with PTSD. Ben Foster, who played the dad, was runner-up for Best Actor, losing out to Ethan Hawke for First Reformed (in yet another win for him, who’s started to sweep these awards right along with Roma).
The Director win for Granik was a big surprise, despite the film’s universal acclaim, and it finally saw a critics group put their vote where their mouth is in the ongoing conversation of how female directors deserve more recognition. The Girl Power didn’t stop there: Chloe Zhao was given the New Generation Prize for her indie drama The Rider and Sandi Tan‘s Shirkers won Best Documentary/Non-Fiction film.
Then there was Burning, which was named L.A.’s Best Picture runner-up to Roma. They also tagged Steven Yeun Best Supporting Actor for his performance in the South Korean film. These citations follow Burning‘s wins for Best Foreign Film and Supporting Actor (Yeun) from Toronto earlier in the day, giving it a much broader platform for the awards season to come, making it a must-see on people’s watch list (Academy voters in particular).
Other work that got a boost: Best Screenplay winner Can You Ever Forgive Me? and its writers Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty, and Best Documentary winner Shirkers, which is streaming now on Netflix.
Familiar winners popped up in several other categories, but surprises came in the Runner-up slots. While not “wins” in the purest sense, those could give dark horse contenders more visibility in a very crowded Oscar season.
LOS ANGELES FILM CRITICS ASSOCIATION
Best Picture: Roma
Best Supporting Actor: Steven Yeun, Burning
Runner-up: Hugh Grant, Paddington 2
Best Foreign-Language Film TIE: Burning (South Korea) & Shoplifters (Japan)
Best Documentary/Non-Fiction: Shirkers
Runner-up: Minding the Gap
Best Editing: Mindng the Gap, Joshua Altman and Bing Liu
Runner-up: Roma, Alfonso Cuarón and Adam Gough
New Generation Prize: Chloe Zhao, The Rider
The Douglas Edwards Experimental Film Award: Evan Johnson, Galen Johnson and Guy Maddin’s The Green Fog.
Special Citation: The Other Side of the Wind
Click on links below for other Critics Group Awards and Guild Nominees that have been announced so far for the 2018 / 19 season:
Directors Guild of America Nominees
Writers Guild of America Nominees
Golden Globe Winners
National Society of Film Critics
Producers Guild of America Nominees
Boston Society of Film Critics
Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association
Screen Actors Guild Nominees
Critics Choice Awards Nominees
San Francisco Film Critics Circle
Toronto Film Critics Association
Philadelphia Film Critics Circle
Chicago Film Critics Association
AFI Film Awards
Detroit Film Critics Society
Atlanta Film Critics Circle
New York Film Critics Circle
The National Board of Review