The Los Angeles Film Critics Association may be based in the heart of Hollywood, but their preferences for the best in film for 2021 was decidedly indie and international in nature.
Japanese drama Drive My Car and Netflix’s Western The Power of the Dog, from New Zealand filmmaker Jane Campion, split and shared the top categories. Drive won the top prize for Best Picture while Dog was cited as the year’s Runner-Up. The two flipped spots in the Best Director category, with Campion winning the award and Drive helmer Ryusuke Hamaguchi coming in second.
Hamaguchi and his co-screenwriter Takamasa Oe won honors for Best Screenplay.
In the acting categories, Best Actor and Best Actress went to two Oscar-nom long shots. Simon Rex won for his charismatic turn as a troubled former porn star in director Sean Baker‘s Red Rocket, and Penelope Cruz was named Best Actress for yet another compelling turn in a Spanish-language melodrama from Pedro Almodóvar, Parallel Mothers.
Hollywood wasn’t completely shut out. The Best Supporting Actress prize went to West Side Story‘s Ariana DeBose, who played the scene-stealing Anita. Meanwhile, two indie actors tied for Best Supporting Actor: Vincent London, who played the gracious, protective father in Titane, shared the prize with Kodi Smit-McPhee for his subtle yet palpable work in The Power of the Dog.
In all, The Power of the Dog was cited six times, taking top honors in three categories and runner-up in three more.
As Oscar harbingers go, the LA Critics have often been prophetic.
Ever sine they began handing out awards in 1975, the LAFCA Best Picture winner has been nominated in at least one (but usually more) of the major Oscar categories, including directing, acting and screenplay.
This also applies to winners; with the exception of 2003’s “American Splendor” and last year’s unorthodox pick of the 5-part anthology saga Small Axe, every LAFCA Picture winner has won at least one Academy Award on Oscar night. For Drive My Car, it may now be the front-runner for the Academy’s Best International Feature.
For the full list of winners and runners-up from this year’s Los Angeles Film Critics Association, read below.
LOS ANGELES FILM CRITICS ASSOCIATION
Best Picture: Drive My Car
Runner-up: The Power of the Dog
Best Director: Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog
Runner-up: Ryusuke Hamaguchi, Drive My Car
Best Actor: Simon Rex, Red Rocket
Runner-up: Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power of the Dog
Best Actress: Penelope Cruz, Parallel Mothers
Runner-up: Renate Reinsve, The Worst Person in the World
Best Screenplay: Drive My Car, Ryusuke Hamaguchi and Takamasa Oe
Runner-up: Licorice Pizza, Paul Thomas Anderson
Best Animated Film: Flee
Best Foreign-Language Film: Petite Maman (France)
Runner-up: Quo Vadis, Aida? (Bosnia)
Best Documentary/Non-Fiction: Summer of Soul
Best Editing: Summer of Soul, Joshua L. Pearson
Runner-up: Licorice Pizza, Andy Jurgensen
Best Production Design: Barb and Star Go To Vista Del Mar, Steve Saklad
Runner-up: Nightmare Alley, Tamara Deverell
New Generation Prize (TIE): Shatara Michelle Ford, Test Pattern and Tatiana Huezo, Prayers for the Stolen
The Douglas Edwards Experimental Film Award: The Works and Days (of Tayoko Shiojiri in the Shiotani Basin), an 8-hour Japanese feature shot for 27 weeks over a period of 14 months
Special Citation: The L.A. Rebellion filmmakers, for their contributions to cinema. Major figures include: Charles Burnett, Larry Clark, Julie Dash, Zeinabu Irene Davis, Jamaa Fanaka, Haile Gerima, Alile Sharon Larkin and Billy Woodberry
Career Achievement Award: Mel Brooks, director / producer / writer / actor
Click on links below for other major Critics Group Awards and Guild Nominees that have been announced so far for the 2021 / 22 season: