Alfonso Cuaron’s “Gravity” and Spike Jonze’s “Her” have tied as the best picture of 2013 in voting by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, which went positively tie-happy in choosing its awards on Sunday afternoon.
The dead heat between Cuaron’s visionary epic and Jonze’s unconventional romance was the third of the day for LAFCA voters, who also named dual winners in the best-actress and best-supporting-actor categories.
In best actress, Australian vet Cate Blanchett and French newcomer Adele Exarchopoulos shared the award for their performances in “Blue Jasmine” and “Blue Is the Warmest Color,” respectively.
And in a surprise choice that was nonetheless typical of the often contrarian organization, Jared Leto and James Franco tied for the best supporting actor award for their roles in “Dallas Buyers Club” and “Spring Breakers,” respectively.
While Leto has been a favorite during this year’s awards season, Franco was considered a huge dark horse for his role as a rapper in Harmony Korine’s raucous cult film. But he benefitted from the LAFCA’s unusual method of voting: Members announce their choices out loud, which allows later voters to band together to take down frontrunners.
Leto reportedly had a big lead at one point, with a surge of Franco votes causing the tie late in the voting.
Bruce Dern (“Nebraska”) managed to avoid a tie and was named best actor in what was reportedly an extremely close vote, edging out the runner up, Chiwetel Ejiofor for “12 Years a Slave,” as well as Robert Redford for “All Is Lost” and Matthew McConaughey for “Dallas Buyers Club.”
Lupita Nyong’o was named the best supporting actress for “12 Years a Slave,” with June Squibb the runner up for “Nebraska.”
Alfonso Cuaron was named best director for “Gravity,” which also won awards for its cinematography and editing. Richard Linklater, Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy won the screenplay award for “Before Midnight.”
The French animated film “Ernest & Celestine” was named the year’s best animation over Hayao Miyazaki’s “The Wind Rises,” which had taken most of the previous critics awards. Sarah Polley’s “Stories We Tell” beat Joshua Oppenheimer’s “The Act of Killing” in the documentary category.
“Blue Is the Warmest Color” won the foreign-language award, with “The Great Beauty” as runner up.
Although a few times in recent years the LAFCA has gone along with the year’s critical consensus (picking, for instance, “The Social Network” and “The Hurt Locker”), it typically is one of the more adventurous and idiosyncratic groups. Last year its choice for best actress was a tie between eventual Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence for “Silver Linings Playbook” and nominee Emmanuelle Riva for “Amour,” but its three previous best-actress winners were Yoon Jeong-hee for “Poetry,” Kim Hye-ja for “Mother” and Yolande Moreau for “Seraphine,” all of whom went unmentioned in most other year-end awards.
Over the years, the LAFCA has proven to be a notably bad predictor of Oscar success. Only seven times in the group’s 37-year history has its choice agreed with the Academy’s pick for Best Picture – and since its back-to-back matches with “Unforgiven” and “Schindler’s List” in 1992 and 1993, LAFCA has gone 19 years with only a single case of agreement, for “The Hurt Locker” in 2009.
Last year’s winner was “Amour.” Other recent LAFCA winners include “The Descendants,” “The Social Network,” “WALL-E,” “There Will Be Blood,” “Letters From Iwo Jima,” “Brokeback Mountain” and “Sideways.”
Best Picture: (tie) “Gravity” and “Her”
Best Director: Alfonso Cuaron, “Gravity”
Runner up: Spike Jonze, “Her”
Best Actor: Bruce Dern, “Nebraska”
Runner up: Chiwetel Ejiofor, “12 Years a Slave”
Best Actress: (tie) Cate Blanchett, “Blue Jasmine” and Adele Exarchopoulos, “Blue is the Warmest Color”
Best Supporting Actor: (tie) Jared Leto, “Dallas Buyers Club,” James Franco, “Spring Breakers”
Best Supporting Actress: Lupita Nyong’o, “12 Years a Slave”
Runner up: June Squibb, “Nebraska”
Best Foreign Language Film: “Blue Is the Warmest Color”
Runner up: “The Great Beauty”
Best Animation: “Ernest & Celestine”
Runner up: “The Wind Rises”
Best Documentary: “Stories We Tell”
Runner up: “The Act of Killing”
Best Screenplay: Richard Linklater, Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, “Before Midnight”
Runner up: Spike Jonze, “Her”
Best Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki, “Gravity”
Runner up: Bruno Delbonnel, “Inside Llewyn Davis”
Best Editing: Alfonso Cuaron and Mark Sanger, “Gravity”
Runner up: Shane Carruth and David Lowery, “Upstream Color”
Best Production Design: K.K. Barrett, “Her”
Runner up: Jess Gonchor, “Inside Llewyn Davis”
Best Music Score: T Bone Burnett, “Inside Llewyn Davis”
Runner up: Arcade Fire and Owen Pallett, “Her”
Douglas Edwards Independent/Experimental Film/Video Award: “Cabinets of Wonder: Films and a Performance by Charlotte Pryce”