La La Land‘s Emma Stone, the presumptive front-runner in the Best Actress race, has won a trophy — an honor that had eluded her until today. The Utah Film Critics Association bestowed the honor. Yes, she may also snag the SAG Best Actress statuette and will certainly take the Golden Globe award for Best Actress, Comedy or Musical. But who can say about the Best Actress Oscar? Especially with Jackie‘s Natalie Portman as Stone’s chief competitor.
The UFCA also selected La La land as Best Picture, Moonlight‘s Barry Jenkins as Best Director (with La La Land‘s Damien Chazelle in the runner-up slot), Manchester By The Sea’s Casey Affleck as Best Actor, Fences‘ Viola Davis as Best Supporting Actress, and a tie between Moonlight‘s Mahershala Ali and 10 Cloverfield Lane‘s John Goodman for Best Supporting Actor. Last June Variety‘s Kris Tapley and Janelle Riley suggested that Goodman deserved a Best Supporting Actor prize — somebody finally went for it!
It may be that Stone will follow in the path of The Blind Side’s Sandra Bullock in ’09/’10. Bullock was blanked in the Best Actress category by all the critics groups except the Washington D.C. area film critics org (which at least nominated her for Best Actress) but then started sweeping with the big industry awards in the final phase.