LA Film Critics: 'The Descendants' Best Pic, Terrence Malick Best Director; Michael Fassbender, Yun Jung-Hee Top Actors; 'Rango' Best Animation

UPDATE, 2:11 PM: Alexander Payne’s The Descendants won Best Picture in voting Sunday by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association that grew increasingly contentious as the day wore on. One member identified as Amy Nicholson tweeted afterward, “While the morning vote went fast, LAFCA awards now bogged down by fighting. No fisticuffs yet, but I did just yell “Chaos!” In any case the voting is complete. Terrence Malick took the nod for Best Director for The Tree Of Life. Top acting honors went to Michael Fassbender for his work over four movies including Shame and X-Men First Class and Yun Jun-hee for Poetry.
PREVIOUSLY, 1:17 PM: Los Angeles Critics Association voting on this season’s best films is in progress (refresh for updates):

BEST PICTURE, Winner: “The Descendants.”
Runner-Up: “The Tree of Life.”

BEST ANIMATION, Winner: “Rango.”
Runner-Up: “The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn.”

BEST DIRECTOR, Winner: Terrence Malick, “The Tree of Life.”
Runner-Up: Martin Scorsese, “Hugo.”

BEST ACTOR, Winner: Michael Fassbender, “A Dangerous Method,” “Jane Eyre,” “Shame,” “X-Men: First Class.”
Runner-Up: Michael Shannon, “Take Shelter.”

BEST ACTRESS, Winner: Yun Jung-hee, “Poetry.”
Runner-Up: Kirsten Dunst, “Melancholia.”

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM, Winner: “City of Life and Death.”
Runner-Up: “A Separation.”


BEST DOCUMENTARY/NONFICTION, Winner: “Cave of Forgotten Dreams.”
Runner- Up, “The Arbor.”

BEST SCREENPLAY, Winner: Asghar Farhadi, “A Separation.”
Runner-Up: Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, Jim Rash, “The Descendants.”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR, Winner: Christopher Plummer, “Beginners.”
Runner-Up: Patton Oswalt, “Young Adult.”

BEST SUPPORTING. ACTRESS, Winner: Jessica Chastain, “Coriolanus,” “The Debt,” “The Help,” “Take Shelter,” “Texas Killing Fields,” “Tree of Life”
Runner-Up: Janet McTeer, “Albert Nobbs.”

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY, Winner: Emmanuel Lubezki, “The Tree of Life.”
Runner-Up: Cao Yu, “City of Life and Death.”

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN, Winner: Dante Ferretti, “Hugo.”
Runner-Up: Maria Djurkovic, “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.”

BEST MUSIC/SCORE, Winner: The Chemical Brothers, “Hanna.”
Runner-Up: Cliff Martinez, “Drive.”

NEW GENERATION: The creative team behind “Martha Marcy May Marlene” (Antonio Campos, Sean Durkin, Josh Mond and Elizabeth Olsen)

  1. Now this is more like it. Big up for Poetry and A Seperation. Would’ce liked Oldman for actor but no problem with Fassbender.

    1. I think Oldman has a good shot this year–not just at being nominated but at winning.

      Of the likely contenders, Pitt is too lightweight, Clooney is overrewarded, Dujardin and Fassbender are too new, and DiCaprio is in a DOA film. Gosling is always a contender, but I can see Oldman–never nominated but having been around a long time–winning.

      1. The only problem with “your theory” is that half the academy members will be asleep by the mid-point of the film … tinker, tailor, soldier … sno-rrrrrrrrre ……

      2. I agree with you – George, whom I love but think is over rewarded too and especially for Descendents?? come on..But I cannot get what you mean by “lightweight” for Brad Pitt. I like a Brad Pitt NOT for his looks but for his sooo overlooked by the critics talent. The journalists could not past by his looks to “see” what he delivers time after time in every single movie, although they enjoy going to see his movies, I am sure. Lightweight on what? He gives always a great portrayl of his characters whom he chooses to be different and interesting EVERY single time-comic,drama , even action or historical thing, unlike George Clooney, the charmer,good but one dimensional, who plays over and over the “same” character. Brad always surprise us as recently Fincher said. There is no director who does not want to work with him not because he is handsome. He almost never is a leading man – he runs from it always. And again – they put him aside ALWAYS as “lightweight??” This year Brad has two very different characters to portray and he does it brilliantly as the “brilliant method actor”(Sir Anthony Hopkins’ words for him at the Oscars once) is. WHy don’t you, people, “forgive” him the good looks and for once look at him for he is one of the great actors of our generations. If he had Sean Penn’s or Russel Crow’s look he would have won 2 Oscars a long time ago too. I do not think Fassenbeder (who i expect great things from)is still better in all 4 films here as is Brad in one of this two that he had this year. It is just his curse of being handsome and a “celebrity” which is done by the paparazzi not by him, And he “pays” for that for being ignored and overlooked always for some far less talented actors than him. In Moneyball it is like he does not “play” – because it is such fine and subtle performance that he IS Billy Beane – all the manierism, spitting, thrashing, throwing, the way of walking or keeping his hands on his waste – I had sportsmen friends – he got it exactly right, this is not him in his usual self. Nothing overplayed or overdramatized and yet, so deeply felt all the doubts, fears, anger..In Tree of Life – I cannot say enough how quiet the audience was while he was on the screen and when he jumped to hit his youngest son the whole audience jumped and reacted – that real it was.. I loved his 12 monkeys( for me this was his Oscar),Benjamin Button ( another that they did not give him), Jesse James, Inglorious Bastards, not to mention Seven, Snatch and so on and so on….Ii is TIME to acknowledge the hard work, the talent, the consistency, the whole package….All the rest line up for next year…

        1. So agreed with every word of your comment.

          Brad has made some of the most memorable characters to date. And yes most of the films you mentioned were some of my favorites. I am not a Troy fan, but give him probs for it. A film without all that 3D and CGI crap.

          I like Fass a lot, but lets see if he can have a 20+ year career.. I hope so. Never got on the George Clooney bandwagon. I too feel like it is George being George. So that it for me.

          Regarding Tree of Life. yes Brad and the older boy were the best things in the film to me (and I actually like TOL a lot) Brad was really out of the world good.

          But It seems some people are silly regarding his looks and his personal life. They need to seriously grow up. The man is very talented and is not afraid to do something different. Never repeats himself.

          anyway.. I’m a fan. not ashamed to admit it.

          1. Ahh yes, those that do not consider Pitt a great actor are jealous, or rather focusing on his looks/celebrity and not his acting. Nonsense. He is, as Trotsky put it, an eminent mediocrity. Don’t get me wrong, I think he has had some fine moments in his career (Assination, Fight Club), but ultimately he is a good actor, not great, just good. I don’t feel he is underated/overated, he gets the coverage he deserves.

            With regards to this years awards I would agree that his performances are too lightweight when compared with other potential nominees. I personally did not enjoy Moneyball (found it slow/ponderous), but I loved the Tree of Life. Truly one of the most wonderful films I have ever had the pleasure of watching. Chastain and the boys make the film, Pitt is fine, but why single him out? Why not Hunter McCraken?

  2. I love Chastain, but honestly, awards that lump together multiple performances against single performances are meaningless.

    If they like her that much, she should get the award for one film, and the runner-up award for another film.

    1. WOLVERINE88… Maybe had you had the foresight to watch a movie for longer than 10 minutes, you would have seen the movie for the work of genius it was. Stick to movies like “Harry Potter,” so you don’t have to strain your intelligence to enjoy a film.

      1. “Tree of Life” truly is a work of art.
        Not for the boxing robot, teenage vampire crowd.
        But for those of us who admire a bold, ambitious approach to storytelling.

        1. I love Malick. But I was bored to tears with this. Yeah I get what he was saying, but it was self indulgent mess that was wrapped around a tired “my daddy was mean and now I’m an emotional wreck as an adult” story. We sat through six season of LOST with that.

  3. Very very glad to see A SEPARATION. Farhadi would have a great chance to win Best Picture come Oscars. And we all know the significance of such of win.

    THE DESCENDANTS is going to be the most overrated film of the season. While I thought it was a solid film and it is second to TREE OF LIFE.

  4. Watched Descendents last night — easily Payne’s worst film. I gots no love for it. Thankfully what’s left of the LA Times critics circle do.

    1. I absolutely LOVED the Descendants. My favourite movie so far this year. Probably my favourite Payne movie, too. With two young children and having been in a very long term relationship, I found it really resonated with me. Maybe that’s the trick. I can’t see a single, childless person relating to this film very well, quite frankly.

      1. I can’t believe “The Descendants” has any kind of following. Take out the F-bombs and it’s a Hallmark film, with a dad out of touch with his family, “problem” child who’s just misunderstood, a threat to the environment, and all coming together happy at the end. And it is George being George – I couldn’t tell any difference from “Michael Clayton” and “Up in the Air.”

        1. It seems as though you have a problem with Clooney. That’s your prerogative, but it’s unfortunately tainted your opinion of the film. I thought the writing, directing and acting in the Descendants was first rate and WAY beyond a Hallmark film. And obviously I’m not in the minority, here, am I?

          1. I thought Clooney was good — but the film was by far Payne’s weakest. And I love his films.

            hallmarky, with genuinely clunker moments. Not sure what the hubbub is about.

  5. Haven’t seen The Descendants yet, but Contagion is Soderberg’s best by far. It’s a great shame they overlooked it.

  6. I’m not at all a pretentious movie goer. My top three films are The Incredibles, The South Park movie, and The Big Lebowski – my simple tastes are evident. But I watch EVERYTHING, from small art house films inlimited release to the Bat Man blockbusters. And I have never had the emotional reaction to a film as I did The Tree of Life. I thought it a stunning and absolutely perfect film. And the first film in my life whereupon leaving the theater I wanted to somehow, someway profoundly change my already quite happy life. The film made me want ‘more’ out of life – whatever the hell that inexplicable ‘more’ means – or meant. Oh, and Michael Bay still sucks balls.

  7. tho she came in second place, i love that janet mcteer ranked high in the supporting category. that’s a very strange movie but she makes it come alive when on screen. i hope she gets an oscar nom.

  8. I’m calling the Supportings for Plummer and Chastain. Oscar loves to give these awards to an unsung male industry veteran (Arkin, Freeman, Caine, Coburn, Landau, Palance) and female ingenue (Hudson, Weisz, Jolie, Sorvino, Tomei).

  9. Once again — at a time when movie attendance has dropped below post-9/11 levels — one of the self-proclaimed “elites” of the world of film critics has bestowed a list of “best” awards to pictures the vast majority of the film going public will never see, never would want to see and could care less about.
    Having worked as a Los Angeles-based entertainment journalist for many years, I know these wildly out-of-touch-with-the-world film snobs who would no more give an award to a film that packed the seats at the local movie palaces than they would put French’s Mustard on their over-priced cut of prime rib at the Southland’s latest in trendy restaurants.

    1. You’re talking about The People’s Choice Awards, they have them and nobody gives a shit about them, even the public. Thank goodness there are Oscars, Pulitzers, Booker and Nobel Prizes. Someone has to at least try to point out the highest level of achievements as “sales” or “ratings” tell us what is popular already.

      Congrats to Fassbender and everyone involved with “Shame” as well as “Tree of Life”, stunning films that deserve any attention they get.

    2. @agatematt Academy is NOT voted by the critics. AMPAS has its own members and they are the experts of their fields. If you want people’s choice, then look at People’s Choice Award…seriously, I don’t want films like the Twilight Saga to ever appear as Best Picture for Oscar….

      Go Michael Fassbender for winning Best Actor!

  10. Must be a joke. Just came home from this film. Most of the audience want next door to Home Depot to buy razors and hose to either slash their wrists or direct their car exhaust into their vehicles. Most depressing film ever.

  11. The Descendants wasn’t really depressing; it was just depressingly bad. Can’t believe these film hauteurs were sucked in by this drek.

  12. Hooray for Fassbende! But one shouldn’t forget Roberto Bernini and the power of the Weinstein Oacar campaign… Look out for little Thomas Horn. Incredible performance in EXTREMELY LOUD AND INCRREDIBLY CLOSE.

  13. Terrence Malick for tree of life? The la film critics wouldn’t know a good movie from a hole in the ground.

  14. I watched it with my two children asleep upstairs and my wife on a ventilator and found it softballed.

  15. Just saw The Descendents. As a long time kamaina family member of such, I was most impressed. But my high school does not tolerate drunks as depicted. The story is loosely based on three families, all well known on Kauai or Oahu.

  16. I do not understand the fuss about Shame. Such an unpleasant and uncomfortable to watch film. To start with the very depressing theme the life and struggle to hide but to cope too with a sex addiction tormented perverted soul- i do not want to see it ever again, it left a disgusting feeling. But on the top of that is the very real graphic portrayal of the details using and turning the film in actual hard corn porn movie – not only with the nudity and genitalia exposed, but sexual real acts from behind, with a man, with 2 women..ugh… and on and on and on – loooong scenes of porn porn porn… disgusting . I am so feeling for the talented actor Fassbender is to be put through such a difficult shoot and diminish to “perform” at the lever of any porn star but with the expression on its face from the pleasure and shame and torment at the same time. It is not worth this point to be made … and not worth watching not to mention rewarding it..

    1. I don’t think Michael minded at all. I’m not interested in seeing the film. I don’t have to go to the theater to see male body parts. I have a boyfriend. That is not a draw to me. I don’t see the Academy giving it a lot of love. It would just mean more films being made to SHOCK instead of entertain. Copy cats abound in Hollywood.

      Steve McQueen is a very talented guy. Looking forward to his next film. I’m just skipping SHAME.. (cover eyes ##)

    2. I think it’s hysterical when people go to see an NC-17 rated movie, entitled “Shame”, with a well-publicized plot about sex addiction, and then pretend that they didn’t know EXACTLY what they were going to be seeing portrayed on screen.

      Even if I give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you didn’t know the movie was rated NC-17 for sex, things still don’t add up. Afterall, if you were truly offended, you would have left the theater after the first graphically depicted sex scene….but you stayed. You also spend an inordinate amount of time writing about the pornographic material in your post. Maybe your disgust has less to do with the film, and more to do with the fact that you WANTED to see it, and can’t cope with that reality.

      I find it completely and utterly fascinating that your comments mirror the emotional disparity of Fassbender’s character…….you want it, but your disgusted with yourself for wanting it…..interesting.

  17. I totally get where you’re coming from, but disagree. I reacted very strongly to Shame. I thought it was a brilliant movie with an absolutely astounding performance by Fassbender. It is rare to see real human emotion onscreen, but it was there in Shame, however uncomfortable it was to watch. I found it unpleasant but not depressing, and I kind of want to see it again. Mulligan as well was fabulous and she came alive in a way she never has (to me) before onscreen. While she was great in An Education she needed to do this to show that she can do edgy and contemporary, and she delivered 1000%

  18. I find it amazing that the movies still exist. Frankly, movies are for entertainment, and there haven’t been may entertaining movies for decades.

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