The Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA) is announcing their winners today and Ryusuke Hamagachi’s Drive My Car came out the winner of the org’s Best Picture prize, picking up a win for its screenplay and a runner-up mention in director. It was the third time in four years that a non-English language film was named their Best Picture, with Parasite and Roma winning in 2018 and 2019, respectively. The win comes off the heels of the New York Film Critics Circle naming the Japanese Oscar entry their best film of the year and puts it in elite territory with the likes of Boyhood, The Social Network, The Hurt Locker and Brokeback Mountain, films that also won both top critics’ groups main award. All were Best Picture-nominated at the Academy Awards, where The Hurt Locker won. The last film to win both and not be Best Picture Oscar-nominated was 1995’s Leaving Las Vegas.
Since LAFCA doesn’t allow a non-English language film to win both Best Picture and Best Foreign Language Film, the two categories are the last to be voted on and this year, for reasons that went unexplained by the group, there was over an hour long wait between the New Generation winner announcement (a tie between Shatara Michelle Ford for Test Pattern and Tatiana Huezo for Prayers for the Stolen) and the reveal of the last two awards. The Foreign Language Film winner was Celine Sciamma‘s Petite Maman with Jasmila Žbanić’s Quo Vadis, Aida? as the runner-up.
The lead acting wins went to two performers winning their first awards of this critics’ season. Simon Rex took Best Actor for Red Rocket and Venice winner Penélope Cruz won Best Actress for Parallel Mothers. Rex earned a Spirit Awards nomination earlier this week but Cruz missed out on Golden Globe and Critics Choice nominations so this was just the boost she needed to keep her in the Oscar race.
Ariana DeBose was named Best Supporting Actress for her turn as Anita in Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of West Side Story, her 5th win so far this season. Aunjanue Ellis (King Richard) was the runner-up. In supporting actor there was a tie (and therefore no runner-up) between Kodi Smit-McPhee (The Power of the Dog) and Vincent Lindon (Titane). This is Smit-McPhee’s 8th win so far this season and Lindon’s first.
The wildest win of the day happened when Barb and Star Go to Vista del Mar won for its production design, a win absolutely no one saw coming other than the LAFCA voters themselves. Nightmare Alley was the runner-up there.
As previously announced, Mel Brooks is the recipient of the Career Achievement Award. This year’s awards are dedicated to former members David Chute and James Rocchi, who passed away this year.
LAFCA is also, with support from Rotten Tomatoes, they are offering two $3,000 scholarships to students attending LA-area community colleges: one to a woman and one to a person from an underrepresented group(s). Find out more here.
Here is the full list of 2021 winners and runners-up from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA).
Winner: DRIVE MY CAR
Runner-up: THE POWER OF THE DOG
Winner: Jane Campion, THE POWER OF THE DOG
Runner-up: Ryusuke Hamagachi, DRIVE MY CAR
Winner: Simon Rex, RED ROCKET
Runner-up: Benedict Cumberbatch, THE POWER OF THE DOG
Winner: Penélope Cruz, PARALLEL MOTHERS
Runner-up: Renate Reinsve, THE WORST PERSON IN THE WORLD
Best Supporting Actor
Winner: Vincent Lindon, TITANE and Kodi Smit-McPhee, THE POWER OF THE DOG (tie)
Best Supporting Actress
Winner: Ariana DeBose, WEST SIDE STORY
Runner-up: Aunjanue Ellis, KING RICHARD
Winner: Ryusuke Hamaguchi and Takamasa Oe, DRIVE MY CAR
Runner-up: Paul Thomas Anderson, LICORICE PIZZA
Winner: Ari Wegner, THE POWER OF THE DOG
Runner-up: Greig Fraser, DUNE
Best Production Design
Winner: Steve Saklad, BARB AND STAR GO TO VISTA DEL MAR
Runner-up: Tamara Deverell, NIGHTMARE ALLEY
Winner: Joshua L. Pearson, SUMMER OF SOUL
Runner-up: Andy Jurgensen, LICORICE PIZZA
Best Music Score
Winner: Alberto Iglesias, PARALLEL MOTHERS
Runner-up: Jonny Greenwood, THE POWER OF THE DOG and SPENCER
Best Foreign-Language Film
Winner: PETITE MAMAN
Runner-up: QUO VADIS, AIDA?
Best Documentary/Non-Fiction Film
Winner: SUMMER OF SOUL
New Generation Award – Shatara Michelle Ford, TEST PATTERN and Tatiana Huezo, PRAYERS FOR THE STOLEN
Career Achievement Award – Mel Brooks
The Douglas Edwards Experimental/Independent Film/Video Award – THE WORKS AND DAYS (OF TAYOKO SHIOJIRI IN THE SHIOTANI BASIN)
Special Citations – L.A. Rebellion filmmakers, a Special Citation 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.