Drive My Car

A little bit more imaginative than their colleagues in the NYFCC , the LAFCA generally make better choices and they insist on recognizing the Runner-up in each category which enriches their awards immeasurably. This year is no exception and today, the 18th of December 2021, they bestowed most of their largesse on two of the year’s best films: Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s “Drive My Car” taking Best Film with Jane Campion’s “The Power of the Dog” as Runner-up and Campion as Best Director with Hamaguchi as Runner-up. Perfectly symmetrical. “Drive My Car” also took Best Screenplay (it’s based on the short story by Haruki Murakami) while “The Power of the Dog” also took Best Supporting Actor for Kodi Smit-McPhee (in a tie with French Actor Vincent Lindon for his hyper-masculine father figure in Julia Ducournau’s Palm d’Or winner “Titane” ) and Best Cinematography for Ari Wegner while her fellow Australian Grieg Fraser was Runner-up for his work on Dennis Villeneuve’s “Dune”. This makes Wegner only the second woman to win the Cinematography award from LAFCA following Claire Mathon’s win in 2019 for both “Atlantics” and “Portrait of a Lady on Fire”. She could become the first woman to win the Oscar for Best Cinematography. Meanwhile, Benedict Cumberbatch was the Runner-up for Best Actor giving “The Power of the Dog” a total of five mentions, more than any other movie this year,

Another well-deserved multiple winner was Pedro Almodovar’s superb “Parallel Mothers” with Penelope Cruz receiving Best Actress for her extraordinary performance and Alberto Iglesias being rewarded for Best Score. The Runners-up in both these categories were equally deservant ; Renate Reinsve’s star-making performance in Joachim Trier’s “The Worst Person in the World” (she won Best Actress at Cannes) and Jonny Greenwod getting the Runner-up nod for his masterful work on both Campion’s “The Power of the Dog” and Pablo Larrain’s “Spencer”. Questlove’s presentation and preservation of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival “Summer of Soul” was another multiple winner for Best Editing and Best Documentary/Non-Fiction Film. The Runner-up in the latter category was Robert Greene’s “Procession” which focuses on six men who suffered sexual abuse by Catholic priests.

Best Actress

Best Supporting Actress deservedly went to Ariana DeBose for her Anita in Spielberg’s “West Side Story” remake while the Runner-up was the equally impressive Aunjanue Ellis playing the Williams sisters mom in “King Richard”. Best Animated Feature went to director Jonas Poher Rasmussen’s groundbreaking Danish film “‘Flee” with Japan’s Mamoru Hosoda’s animated science fantasy “Belle” as Runner-up.

Power of the Dog

LAFCA honored the RIGHT French Film giving the Best Foreign Language Film award to Celine Sciamma’s “Petite Maman” her follow-up to “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” with Runner-up going Jasmila Zbanic’s haunting Bosnian film “Quo Vadis, Aida” which was nominated for an Oscar for Best International Film last year and just won Best Film and Best Director the the 34th European Film Awards.


Best Production design went to Steve Saklad’s Florida-Vacation-to-the Max sets in the Kristin Wiig/Annie Mumolo comedy “Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar” with the Runner-up going to the Tamara Deverell’s Art-Deco-to-the-Max designs for “Nightmare Alley”

Next Generation Award was a tie between Shatara Michelle Ford, “Test Pattern” and Tatiana Huezo, “Prayers for the Stolen”. Both films have been picking up awards from other critic groups and Festivals and “Prayers” is Mexico’s entry for this year’s Best International Film. at the Oscars.

If Vincent Landon’s shared Supporting Actor Award was a surprise and even bigger surprise was the Best Actor going to one time pornographic actor and sometime rapper (alias Dirt Nasty) Simon Rex for what has to be said is a charm-the-pants-off- you performance in writer/director Sean Baker’s “Red Rocket”.

Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Licorice Pizza” picked up two Runner-up nods in the Screenplay and Editing categories.

The Douglas Edwards Experimental Film Award went to “The Works and Days (of Tayoko Shiojiri in the Shiotani Basin)” a portrait, over five seasons, of a family, a terrain, a soundscape and duration itself, set in a village of 47 inhabitants in the mountains of the Kyoto Prefecture, Japan.

And finally, Congratulations Mel Brooks on your Career Achievement Award.

Here is a complete list of the Winners and the Runners-Up.

Best Picture“Drive My Car”
Runner-up: “The Power of the Dog”

Best Director: Jane Campion, “The Power of the Dog”
Runner-up: Ryusuke Hamaguchi, “Drive My Car”

Best Actor: Simon Rex, “Red Rocket”
Runner-up: Benedict Cumberbatch, “The Power of the Dog”

Best Actress: Penélope Cruz, “Parallel Mothers”
Runner-up: Renate Reinsve, “The Worst Person in the World”

Best Supporting Actor: Vincent Lindon, “Titane” and Kodi Smit-McPhee, “The Power of the Dog” (TIE)

Best Supporting Actress: Ariana DeBose, “West Side Story”
Runner-up: Aunjanue Ellis, “King Richard”

Best Animated Film“Flee”
Runner-up: “Belle”

Best Documentary/Non-Fiction“Summer of Soul”
Runner-up: “Procession”

Best Foreign Language Film: “Petite Maman”
Runner-up: “Quo vadis, Aida?”

Best Screenplay: “Drive My Car,” Ryusuke Hamaguchi and Takamasa Oe
Runner-up: “Licorice Pizza,” Paul Thomas Anderson

Best Cinematography“The Power of the Dog,” Ari Wegner
Runner-up: “Dune,” Greig Fraser

Best Editing: “Summer of Soul,” Joshua L. Pearson
Runner-up: “Licorice Pizza,” Andy Jurgensen

Best Music/Score: “Parallel Mothers,” Alberto Iglesias
Runner-up: “The Power of the Dog” and “Spencer,” Jonny Greenwood

Best Production Design: “Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar,” Steve Saklad
Runner-up: “Nightmare Alley,” Tamara Deverell

New Generation Prize: Shatara Michelle Ford, “Test Pattern” and Tatiana Huezo, “Prayers for the Stolen” (TIE)

Douglas Edwards Experimental Film Award: The Works and Days (of Tayoko Shiojiri in the Shiotani Basin)

Career AchievementMel Brooks

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