’m incredibly happy to see the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and the New York City Film Critics Online go for Paul Thomas Anderson’s unremittingly bleak There Will Be Blood as the Best Picture of 2007, but the last time the former group concurred with the Oscars for the top prize was in 1993 with Schindler’s List. As for the latter (which used to count Mr. Devin as a member), they’re too new to be terribly useful as an Academy barometer.

Still, it’ll be interesting to see if the other major critics associations (namely the New York Film Critics Circle) throw some support behind Anderson’s undeniably brilliant movie even though No Country for Old Men continues to be the presumed critical frontrunner. Though I expected the critics to uniformly fall in line behind the Coens’ film in order to bolster its chances with the AMPAS, this sudden burst of affection for Anderson’s (extremely loose) adaptation of Upton Sinclair’s muckraking tome suggests that my colleagues are either a) less enthusiastic about No Country than Metacritic claims, or b) they figure it needs no help. The second conclusion is the most likely; unfortunately, I keep hearing that Academy voters are pissed off/puzzled by No Country‘s conclusion.

Of course, there is another possibility: the LA Film Critics just flat-out loved There Will Be Blood more than any other movie this year. I could (and might) get with that. It’s a mean, austere, unsentimental work, but it’s unquestionably the best thing Anderson’s done to this point in his career. It deserves recognition. And it won’t get much, if at all, from the Oscars.

Below is the full list of LA Film Critics honors. The New York Film Critics Online are available here.

PICTURE: "There Will Be Blood"
RUNNER-UP: "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly"

DIRECTOR: Paul Thomas Anderson, "There Will Be Blood"
RUNNER-UP: Julian Schnabel, "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly"

ACTOR: Daniel Day-Lewis, "There Will Be Blood"
RUNNER-UP: Frank Langella, "Starting Out in the Evening"

ACTRESS: Marion Cotillard, "La Vie en rose"
RUNNER-UP: Anamaria Marinca, "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days"

SUPPORTING ACTOR: Vlad Ivanov, "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days"
RUNNER-UP: Hal Holbrook, "Into the Wild"

SUPPORTING ACTRESS:Amy Ryan, "Gone Baby Gone" and "Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead"
RUNNER-UP: Cate Blanchett, "I’m Not There"

SCREENPLAY: Tamara Jenkins, "The Savages"
RUNNER-UP: Paul Thomas Anderson, "There Will Be Blood"

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days"
RUNNER-UP: "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly"

DOCUMENTARY: "No End in Sight"
RUNNER-UP: "Sicko"

ANIMATION: "Ratatouille" and "Persepolis" (tie)

MUSIC: Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, "Once"
RUNNER-UP: Jonny Greenwood, "There Will Be Blood"

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Jack Fisk, "There Will Be Blood"
RUNNER-UP: Dante Ferretti, "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street"

CINEMATOGRAPHY: Janusz Kaminski, "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly"
RUNNER-UP: Robert Elswit, "There Will Be Blood"

NEW GENERATION: Sarah Polley, "Away From Her"

INDEPENDENT/EXPERIMENTAL: Pedro Costa’s "Colossal Youth"

SPECIAL CITATION: New Crowned Hope series commissioned by director Peter Sellars to honor the anniversary of Mozart’s 250th birthday

LEGACY AWARDS: Milestone Film and Video and the Outfest Legacy Project