Over the weekend the Los Angeles Film Critics Association crowned Paul Thomas Anderson's There Will Be Blood, giving it their Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor awards. The kudos raise Blood's profile and certainly help its Oscar chances, though Blood falls squarely in the LAFCA tradition of manly yet artsy films that are a little bit too obscure to win the big prize. The L.A. critics often serve as a launching pad for difficult-to-market movies to make their way to Best Picture nominations — Letters From Iwo Jima, Brokeback Mountain, Sideways, and In the Bedroom, most recently. The last LAFCA winner to win Best Picture, though, was Schindler's List, and we don't think a two-and-a-half-hour movie about a brutal oil baron in nineteenth-century California is going to break that streak.
Meanwhile, the New York film critics meet this afternoon to choose their winners. Who will they choose? Typically New York picks differently than L.A. (though in recent years this has been less true), and often New York picks New York filmmakers instead of the creatures of Hollywood favored by L.A. So that suggests that if California-centric There Will Be Blood is picked by L.A., New York might pick a film by the New York Wave. We're thinking No Country for Old Men, though maybe Julian Schnabel might sneak onto the list for The Diving Bell and the Butterfly? If it's No Country, it'll be quite a couple of days for producer Scott Rudin, who has a stake in both the Coens' film and There Will Be Blood (and for whom, in the interests of full disclosure, one Vulture editor used to work).
L.A. critics call for 'Blood' [Variety]