Hollywood's hometown critics have weighed in on the Oscar race, and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association really like The Descendants, tapping Alexander Payne's George Clooney flick as best picture.
But cumulatively, Terrence Malick's love it-or-not so much Tree of Life scored big. Not only was it chosen as runner-up to Payne's movie, but the director, cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki and supporting actress Jessica Chastain and were also honored. (To be fair, Chastain was in roughly every other movie released this year, so the award wasn't solely for her Life work; still, it showed an overall appreciation for Malick's polarizing meditation on life, family and long, lingering shots of space).
Who else got tapped for top honors?
Michael Fassbender, 2011's It-guy uber star, got the best actor nod for his work in Shame, X-Men: First Class, A Dangerous Method and Jane Eyre while veteran South Korean actress Yun Jung-Hee was a surprise best actress pick, nudging out Melancholia's Kirsten Dunst. Chastain was picked for her work in six films including The Help, Texas Killing Fields and Tree of Life while Christopher Plummer was honored for his work in Beginners.
Martin Scorsese was Malick's best director runner-up for Hugo, while Werner Herzog's glorious 3-D exploration Cave of Forgotten Dreams was the best documentary pick.
Read the entire list of winners below.
• Best Picture: The Descendants (Runner-up: The Tree of Life)
• Animation: Rango (Runner-up: The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn)
• Best Director: Terrence Malick, The Tree of Life (Runner-up: Martin Scorsese, Hugo)
• Best Actor: Michael Fassbender, A Dangerous Method, Jane Eyre, Shame, X-Men: First Class (Runner-up: Michael Shannon, Take Shelter)
• Best Actress: Yun Jung-hee, Poetry (Runner-up: Kirsten Dunst, Melancholia)
• Documentary/Nonfiction: Cave of Forgotten Dreams, Werner Herzog (Runner-up: The Arbor, Clio Barnard)
• Best Screenplay: Asghar Farhadi, A Separation (Runner-up: Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, The Descendants)
• Best Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer, Beginners (Runner-up: Patton Oswalt, Young Adult)
• Best Supporting Actress: Jessica Chastain, Coriolanus, The Debt, The Help, Take Shelter, Texas Killing Fields, The 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: Dante Ferretti, Hugo (Runner-up: Maria Djurkovic, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy)
• Best Music/Score: The Chemical Brothers, Hanna (Runner-up: Cliff Martinez, Drive)
• Best Independent/Experimental: Spark of Being