Gravity, Her LA Film Critics

Cate Blanchett, Adele Exarchopoulos, Bruce Dern win acting prizes

Doing little to clarify an awards season with multiple strong contenders, the Los Angeles Film Critics Assn. named Alfonso Cuaron’s “Gravity” and Spike Jonze’s “Her” the top films of 2013, in a tie victory. Both films are Warner Bros. releases.

It was not the first tie for best picture in the group’s history: In 1975, LAFCA’s first year of voting, there was a split between “Dog Day Afternoon” and “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” while in 1976, “Network” and “Rocky” shared the honors.

Nor was it the only surprise twofer the L.A. critics announced in a series of extremely close races that spread the love around. Cate Blanchett (Sony Classics’ “Blue Jasmine”) and Adele Exarchopoulos (IFC’s “Blue Is the Warmest Color”) shared the award for actress, while James Franco (A24′s “Spring Breakers”) and Jared Leto (Focus Features’ “Dallas Buyers Club”) shared the laurels for supporting actor.

“Gravity” proved dominant with four awards total, including director Cuaron (over Jonze, a runner-up for “Her”), cinematography for Emmanuel Lubezki and film editing for Cuaron and Mark Sanger. It was Cuaron’s third citation by the L.A. critics, having previously won New Generation for 1995′s “A Little Princess” and foreign-language film for 2002′s “Y tu mama tambien,” and also the third win for Lubezki, who drew awards for his lensing on 2006′s “Children of Men” and 2011′s “The Tree of Life.”

Veteran thesp Bruce Dern took the actor prize for his work as an aging alcoholic husband and father in Paramount’s “Nebraska,” and newcomer Lupita Nyong’o drew supporting actress honors for her performance as a much-abused slave girl in Fox Searchlight’s “12 Years a Slave.” The group also voted a special citation to the creative team behind the Steve McQueen-directed epic.

Abdellatif Kechiche’s controversial Palme d’Or winner “Blue Is the Warmest Color” was named the group’s top foreign-language film. The runner-up in that category was another Cannes critics’ favorite, Paolo Sorrentino’s lavish Rome-set drama “The Great Beauty,” which was released by Janus Films; that company’s homevid partner, Criterion Collection, was singled out for a special citation by the group.

The screenplay award went to Richard Linklater, Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy for Sony Classics’ “Before Midnight.” Jonze was the runner-up for his original screenplay for “Her.”

Roadside Attractions’ “Stories We Tell” won the documentary/nonfiction film prize, netting director Sarah Polley another LAFCA prize after her 2007 New Generation citation for “Away From Her.” Drafthouse Films’ “The Act of Killing” was named the docu runner-up.

The New Generation award was voted to producer Megan Ellison, whose credits this year included “American Hustle,” “The Grandmaster” and “Her.”

The animation prize went to the French-language toon “Ernest & Celestine,” from directors Benjamin Renner, Stephane Aubier and Vincent Patar. Hayao Miyazaki’s “The Wind Rises” was the runner-up.

K.K. Barrett won the production design award for “Her,” and “Inside Llewyn Davis” drew the music prize for T Bone Burnett, who previously won in this category for 2009′s “Crazy Heart” (shared with Stephen Bruton).

The group voted to present a special citation to the creative team of “12 Years a Slave” and a Legacy of Cinema award to Criterion Collection.

The full list of winners (in progress):

Picture: “Gravity” and “Her” (tie)

Director: Alfonso Cuaron, “Gravity”
Runner-up:
Spike Jonze, “Her”

Actor: Bruce Dern, “Nebraska”
Runner-up:
Chiwetel Ejiofor, “12 Years a Slave”

Actress: Cate Blanchett, “Blue Jasmine,” and Adele Exarchopoulos, “Blue Is the Warmest Color” (tie)

Supporting actor: James Franco, “Spring Breakers,” and Jared Leto, “Dallas Buyers Club”

Supporting actress: Lupita Nyong’o, “12 Years a Slave”
Runner-up: June Squibb, “Nebraska”

Screenplay: Richard Linklater, Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, “Before Midnight”
Runner-up:
Spike Jonze, “Her”

Foreign-language film: “Blue Is the Warmest Color”
Runner-up: “The Great Beauty”

Documentary/nonfiction film: “Stories We Tell”
Runner-up:
“The Act of Killing”

Animation: “Ernest & Celestine”
Runner-up: “The Wind Rises”

Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki, “Gravity”
Runner-up: Bruno Delbonnel, “Inside Llewyn Davis”

New Generation: Megan Ellison

Film editing: Alfonso Cuaron and Mark Sanger, “Gravity”
Runner-up: Shane Carruth and David Lowery, “Upstream Color”

Production design: K.K. Barrett, “Her”
Runner-up: Jess Gonchor, “Inside Llewyn Davis”

Music score: T Bone Burnett, “Inside Llewyn Davis”
Runner-up: Arcade Fire and Owen Pallett, “Her”

Douglas E. Edwards Independent/Experimental Film/Video Award: “Cabinets of Wonder: Films and a Performance by Charlotte Pryce”

Special citation: The creative team of “12 Years a Slave”

Legacy of Cinema Award: Criterion Collection

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