Emmanuelle Riva in Amour

L.A. and Boston Film Critics Choose Amour, Zero Dark Thirty as Best Films

Emmanuelle Riva in Amour
Emmanuelle Riva in Amour | Sony Pictures Classics

The film critics on the West and East coasts cast their award picks during the weekend, and for the most part, they don’t agree. But the two groups, the Boston Society of Film Critics and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA), spread their love around to enough different movies to make this year shape up for the rest of us as a particularly interesting awards race to Oscar gold.

The LAFCA, an iconoclastic group that often makes surprising and unpredictable choices, has given top prize to Sony Classics film Amour by Austrian director Michael Haneke. The movie, starring Emmanuelle Riva and Jean-Louis Trintignant, is about an octogenarian Parisian couple struggling with illness and death. Although it’s a frontrunner for best foreign film, it hasn’t been mentioned as a possible top 10 movie pick. The Oscar voters tend to be an older and more conservative group, and many awards prognosticators think the Academy will find this movie too depressing.

In one decision in which both groups agreed, best actress honors went to Riva, although the L.A. critics have her share that prize with Jennifer Lawrence for Silver Linings Playbook.

The bean town critics named Zero Dark Thirty as best film of the year and gave Kathryn Bigelow the best directing nod. Bigelow is on a winning streak; last week she received kudos from the New York Film Critics Circle and the National Board of Review. With the LAFCA wins, Bigelow’s movie continues to gain awards momentum.

The Boston critics chose Daniel Day-Lewis as best actor for Lincoln,  while the West Coast cast their vote for Joaquin Phoenix, who stars in The Master, as an alcoholic World War II veteran who is drawn to the charismatic leader of a cult. This is Phoenix’s first movie role in two years since being the subject of Casey Affleck’s mock documentary I’m Still Here where Phoenix supposedly dropped acting to become a rapper. The LAFCA also gave the best directing prize to Paul Thomas Anderson for The Master, and Amy Adams received the award for best supporting actress.

The Boston critics awarded best supporting actor honors to Sally Field – who has topped many lists – for Lincoln and to Ezra Miller for Perks of Being a Wallflower.

The LAFCA gave lots of love to Fox Searchlight’s Beasts of the Southern Wild, which picked up three prizes, including a best supporting actor prize for Dwight Henry, who has never acted before and whose day job is chef and owner of a bakery in Louisiana, where he was discovered by director Benh Zeitlin.

Here are the winners from both critics’ groups:


Best Picture Zero Dark Thirty

Best Actor – Daniel Day Lewis for Lincoln

Best Actress – Emmanuelle Riva for Amour

Best Supporting Actor – Ezra Miller for Perks of Being a Wallflower

Best Supporting Actress – Sally Field for Lincoln

Best Director – Kathryn Bigelow for Zero Dark Thirty

Best Screenplay – Tony Kushner for Lincoln

Best Cinematography – Mihai Malaimare Jr for The Master

Best Documentary – How to Survive a Plague

Best Foreign-Language Film – Amour

Best Animated Film – Frankenweenie

Best Film Editing – William Goldenberg and Dylan Tichenor for Zero Dark Thirty

Best New Filmmaker – David France for How to Survive a Plague

Best Ensemble Cast – Seven Psychopaths

Best Use of Music in a Film – Moonrise Kingdom


Best Film – Amour (Runner-Up: The Master)

Best Director – Paul Thomas Anderson, The Master (Runner-up, Kathryn Bigelow, Zero Dark Thirty)

Best Actor – Joaquin Phoenix, The Master (Runner-up, Denis Lavant, Holy Motors)

Best Actress – Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook and Emmanuelle Riva, Amour

Best Supporting Actor – Dwight Henry, Beasts of the Southern Wild (Runner-up, Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained)

Best Supporting Actress – Amy Adams, The Master (Runner-up, Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables and The Dark Knight Rises)

Best Screenplay – Chris Terrio, Argo (Runner-up, David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook)

Best Cinematography – Roger Deakins, Skyfall (Runner-up, Mihai Malaimare Jr., The Master)

Best Production Design – Jack Fisk and David Crank, The Master (Runner-up, Adam Stockhausen, Moonrise Kingdom)

Best Editing – Dylan Tichenor and William Goldenberg, Zero Dark Thirty (Runner-up, William Goldenberg, Argo)

Best Music Score – Beasts of the Southern Wild, Benh Zeitlin and Dan Romer (Runner-up, The Master, Jonny Greenwood)

Best Foreign-Language Film – Holy Motors, directed by Leos Carax (Runner-up, Footnote, directed by Joseph Cedar)

Best Documentary – The Gatekeepers, Dror Moreh (Runner-up, Searching for Sugar Man, by Malik Bendjelloul)

Best Animation – Frankenweenie, directed by Tim Burton (Runner-up, It’s Such a Beautiful Day, by Don Hertzfeldt)

New Generation – Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild

Career Achievement – Frederick Wiseman

Douglas Edwards Experimental/Independent Film/Video Award – Leviathan


One response to “L.A. and Boston Film Critics Choose Amour, Zero Dark Thirty as Best Films”

  1. wavettore Avatar

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