By DAVID GERMAIN
LOS ANGELES — The oil-boom epic ‘‘There Will Be Blood’’ was chosen as 2007’s best film by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, one of the first key groups to weigh in during the long buildup to the Academy Awards.
Based on the novel ‘‘Oil!’’ by Upton Sinclair, the film received three other honors: Best actor for Daniel Day-Lewis as a California petroleum baron who clashes with his son and a local preacher in the early 1900s; best director for Paul Thomas Anderson; and production design for Jack Fisk. ...
The best-actress prize went to Marion Cotillard as singer Edith Piaf in ‘‘La Vie En Rose,’’ while Anamaria Marinca was runner-up for ‘‘4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days,’’ a Romanian drama in which she plays a woman who helps to arrange a friend’s illegal abortion.
Frank Langella was runner-up for best actor as an aging novelist who forges an unusual relationship with an admiring young woman in ‘‘Starting Out in the Evening.’’
The Los Angeles group’s picks and today's upcoming choices from the New York Film Critics Circle precede Thursday’s nominations for the Golden Globes, Hollywood’s second-biggest film honors, after the Oscars.
Globe nominations and critics prizes can boost Oscar prospects, particularly for lesser-known films and performances. Oscar nominations come out Jan. 22, with the awards ceremony scheduled for Feb. 24.
‘‘4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days,’’ which won the top honor at last spring’s Cannes Film Festival, was named best foreign-language film by the Los Angeles critics and earned the supporting-actor honor for Vlad Ivanov as a menacing abortion provider.
The critics gave their supporting-actress honor to Amy Ryan for two films: ‘‘Gone Baby Gone,’’ in which she plays a neglectful mother whose young daughter has been abducted, and ‘‘Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead,’’ in which she co-stars as the sharp-tongued ex-wife of a man who sets out to rob his parents’ jewelry business.
Runners-up for supporting honors were Cate Blanchett for her gender-crossing role as an incarnation of Bob Dylan in his mid-1960s electric transition in ‘‘I’m Not There’’ and Hal Holbrook as a lonely widower who befriends a wanderer in ‘‘Into the Wild.’’
Tamara Jenkins received the screenplay prize for ‘‘The Savages,’’ about an estranged brother and sister forced to care for their ailing father. Anderson was runner-up for his ‘‘There Will Be Blood’’ screenplay.
‘‘There Will Be Blood,’’ director Anderson, star Day-Lewis, cinematographer Robert Elswit and composer Jonny Greenwood also were the top picks Sunday by the New York Film Critics Online. The group, which consists of Web writers, as well as print and television critics who have a strong presence online, placed ‘‘The Diving Bell and the Butterfly’’ in a tie with ‘‘There Will Be Blood’’ for best picture.
The crime saga ‘‘No Country for Old Men,’’ one of the year’s most acclaimed films and considered an Oscar best-picture contender, was shut out for Los Angeles critics’ honors, but it was the key winner Sunday for prizes from the Washington, D.C., Area Film Critics Association. That group honored ‘‘No Country for Old Men’’ for best picture, directors (Joel and Ethan Coen) and supporting actor (Javier Bardem).
‘‘The Diving Bell and the Butterfly’’ — adapted from the memoir of French Elle editor Jean-Dominque Bauby, who suffered a paralyzing stroke — was runner-up for the Los Angeles group’s best picture and foreign-language honors. Its filmmaker, Julian Schnabel, also was runner-up to Anderson for the directing prize.
The group chose Janusz Kaminski as best cinematographer for ‘‘The Diving Bell and the Butterfly,’’ with Robert Elswit the runner-up for ‘‘There Will Be Blood.’’
There was a tie in the animated-feature category between the rodent tale ‘‘Ratatouille’’ and the coming-of-age saga ‘‘Persepolis.’’
Charles Ferguson’s ‘‘No End in Sight,’’ examining the Bush administration’s handling of the Iraq war, was selected as best documentary, with Michael Moore’s health-care study ‘‘Sicko’’ the runner-up.
The independent hit ‘‘Once,’’ a romance between an Irish street busker and an Eastern European immigrant to Dublin, earned the music prize for its two stars, musicians Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova. Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead was the runner-up for ‘‘There Will Be Blood.’’
The critics gave a special honor to actress Sarah Polley for ‘‘Away From Her,’’ her acclaimed directing debut starring Julie Christie as a woman succumbing to Alzheimer’s. Christie was the New York Film Critics Online choice for best actress; they also honored Polley for best directing debut.