The French film Amour was named Best Picture Sunday by the Los Angeles Film Critics Assocation. Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master tied for the most awards, three, with the no-budget indie wonder Beasts of the Southern Wild.
And Les Misérables? It got nothing, but as they say it's the way it got nothing.
The big takeaways from the latest Academy Awards tuneup:
1. Anne Hathaway's Les Mis Performance Has Some Serious Pull: Even the L.A. critics, who, like their New York counterparts, are rarely confused for Oscar boosters, kinda liked it. They gave Hathaway a nod as runner-up to Best Supporting Actress winner Amy Adams (The Master). It was as close as Les Mis got to an award; it was enough to further Hathaway's reputation as the Oscar front-runner in the category. (Technically, Hathaway was also recognized by the L.A. group for her performance in The Dark Knight Rises, but here on Earth One she's only really in contention for Les Mis.)
2. Zero Dark Thirty Is Coming for Jean Valjean Next: After its triumphs with New York writers and the National Board of Review, the Osama Bin Laden manhunt thriller showed up again. It won for editing, a very good sign this time of year, and figured in the Best Director category, where Kathryn Bigelow was tapped as runner-up to Anderson. (Also over the weekend, both the New York Film Critics Online and the Boston Society of Film Critics named Zero Dark Thirty their top film of 2012.)
3. Don't Sleep on Amour: Yes, we know: Since 2000, only one of the L.A. Film Critics Association's Best Picture picks, The Hurt Locker, has gone onto claim the Oscar. But if you're trying to guess all the Best Picture nominees, then you'd be wise to consider this Cannes favorite for one of the slots, especially if you start to sputter after you pencil in Les Mis, Lincoln, Argo, Zero Dark Thirty and Silver LInings Playbook. (Remember: The Academy can nominate up to 10 films.)
4. There Was No Way Joaquin Phoenix Dissing the Oscars Was Ever Going to Matter to Critics: They love that stuff, also known as brutal honesty, also known as something they've been accused of deploying from time to time themselves. In any case, the Oscar-bashing Phoenix and the L.A. writers were a perfect match—and so he took home Best Actor for The Master. The best part of it all: The win possibly boosts Phoenix's already strong chances of being nominated by the Academy he officially no longer hates.
Here's a look at the top winners of the 38th Annual Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards:
Actor: Joaquin Phoenix, The Master
Actress: Jennifer Lawrence Silver Linings Playbook and Emmanuelle Riva, Amour (tie)
Supporting Actress: Amy Adams, The Master
Supporting Actor: Dwight Henry, Beasts of the Southern Wild
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson, The Master
Production Design: The Master
Editing: Zero Dark Thirty
Score: Beasts of the Southern Wild
Animated Film: Frankenweenie
Foreign-Language Film: Holy Motors
Documentary: The Gatekeepers