The Los Angeles Film Critics Association has named “Spotlight” the best film of 2015, capping a day of voting in which the group distributed awards both to awards frontrunners and to dark horses.
The Tom McCarthy movie about the Boston Globe’s investigation into clergy sexual abuse in the Catholic Church had already been named the year’s top film by the Boston Society of Film Critics and the New York Film Critics Online earlier on Sunday.
The LAFCA victory reinforces its position as the year’s critical favorite, even after voting in which George Miller‘s action film “Mad Max: Fury Road” seemed poised for an upset. “Mad Max” won awards for director Miller and for its cinematography and production design, but ended up settling for best-picture runner-up status.
Still to be determined: how the movie about journalists will fare with voting bodies that aren’t composed of journalists.
Michael Fassbender won the best-actor award for “Steve Jobs,” and Charlotte Rampling was named best actress for “45 Years.” Runners-up in those categories were Hungarian actor Geza Rohrig for “Son of Saul” and Saoirse Ronan for “Brooklyn.”
Alicia Vikander and Michael Shannon were named the best supporting actress and actor for “Ex Machina” and “99 Homes.” Runners-up in those two categories were Kristen Stewart for “Clouds of Sils Maria” and Mark Rylance for “Bridge of Spies.”
The organization is known for looking further than the usual awards-season suspects, particularly in the acting categories. Rampling and Shannon have both been acclaimed for their performances, but they are considered Oscar dark horses. And while Vikander has picked up awards heat, it has been for her role in “The Danish Girl” rather than her work as a cyborg in the indie sci-fi thriller “Ex Machina.”
The screenplay award was the only other honor that went to “Spotlight,” with writers Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy winning and Charlie Kaufman taking the runner-up position for “Anomalisa.”
Asif Kapadia’s Amy Winehouse film “Amy” was named best documentary, with “Anomalisa” winning the competitive animated-film category over “Inside Out.” “Son of Saul” was named best foreign-language film.
Voters gave Carter Burwell the award for musical score for two films, “Anomalisa” and “Carol.” Editing went to Hank Corwin for “The Big Short.”
The New Generation award, which goes to a rising talent, went to “Creed” director Ryan Coogler, two years after he made a splashy debut with “Fruitvale Station.”
The organization previously announced that its 2015 Career Achievement honoree will be editor Anne V. Coates.
The LAFCA winner has gone on to win the Oscar for Best Picture only once in the last 20 years. The organization is known for adventurous and sometimes unusual choices, particularly in the acting categories.
Earlier this week, the New York Film Critics Circle, which ranks with LAFCA as the most important regional critics group, gave four awards to “Carol,” including best film.
The Los Angeles Film Critics Association consists of almost 60 Los Angeles-based critics for newspapers, magazines and websites.
Best Film: “Spotlight”
Runner-up: “Mad Max: Fury Road”
Best Director: George Miller, “Mad Max: Fury Road”
Runner-up: Todd Haynes, “Carol”
Best Actor: Michael Fassbender, “Steve Jobs”
Runner-up: Geza Rohrig, “Son of Saul”
Best Actress: Charlotte Rampling, “45 Years”
Runner-up: Saoirse Ronan, “Brooklyn”
Best Supporting Actor: Michael Shannon, “99 Homes”
Runner-up: Mark Rylance, “Bridge of Spies”
Best Supporting Actress: Alicia Vikander, “Ex Machina”
Runner-up: Kristen Stewart, “Clouds of Sils Maria”
Best Documentary: “Amy”
Runner-up: “The Look of Silence”
Best Animated Film: “Anomalisa”
Runner-up: “Inside Out”
Best Foreign Language Film: “Son of Saul”
Runner-up: “The Tribe”
Best Screenplay: Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy, “Spotlight”
Runner-up: Charlie Kaufman, “Anomalisa”
Best Cinematography: John Seale, “Mad Max: Fury Road”
Runner-up: Edward Lachman, “Carol”
Best Editing: Hank Corwin, “The Big Short”
Runner-up: Margaret Sixel, “Mad Max: Fury Road”
Best Musical Score: Carter Burwell, “Anomalisa” and “Carol”
Runner-up: Ennio Morricone, “The Hateful Eight”
Best Production Design: Colin Gibson, “Mad Max: Fury Road”
Runner-up: Judy Becker, “Carol”
New Generation Award: Ryan Coogler, “Creed”