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Gold Standard: 'Joy' belongs to Jennifer Lawrence

Welcome to the latest edition of Gold Standard, the newsletter from the Los Angeles Times that aims to help guide you through the ins and outs of the awards season, leading up to the Oscars. I’m Glenn Whipp, The Times' awards columnist and your newsletter host. Let's look at what happened this week.

Edgar Ramirez, Jennifer Lawrence and Robert De Niro star in "Joy." (20th Century Fox)

'Joy' belongs to Jennifer Lawrence

"Joy," David O. Russell's latest collaboration with Jennifer Lawrence, had its first public screenings this week and it seems likely that this will be the first Russell movie in his recent run of awards-season success -- "The Fighter," "Silver Linings Playbook" and "American Hustle" -- not to earn multiple Oscar acting nominations for members of its ensemble.

This is very much Lawrence's movie. Check out my report here.

Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara star in "Carol." (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

New York Film Critics crazy for 'Carol'

Todd Haynes' smart, swooning romance "Carol" won the New York Film Critics best picture award, along with prizes for director Haynes, screenwriter Phyllis Nagy and cinematographer Edward Lachman.

"We are so incredibly proud of this news," Haynes told The Times. "And it means so much coming from New York and the critical community in this town that really formed me as a filmmaker."

The Los Angeles Film Critics Assn. votes Sunday.

Directors, cinematographers: Who's ahead in Oscars race?

If I wrote this story today, as opposed to last week (print deadlines!), I'd slot Todd Haynes ahead of David O. Russell as an Oscar nominee for director. Better movie and I feel hopeful that the directors branch might finally reward Haynes for the superbly crafted "Carol."

But I'm still doubtful anyone can stop Emmanuel Lubezki from winning a third consecutive Oscar for his latest, "The Revenant." The man is advancing the cinematography art form each time he makes a movie.

Spielberg talks 'Spies'

Steven Spielberg tells Times film writer Rebecca Keegan that he feels most creative as a filmmaker when he is rooted in a fact-based tale, like his latest, "The Bridge of Spies," a movie that sits high on the lists of many academy members.

“When I do a historical drama I'm contained by the facts,” Spielberg said. “In a fantasy, there is no ceiling and there's actually no floor. I really prefer to have my imagination contained because when my imagination is contained I'm able to find a way through the camera to tell a second-tier story.”

More prizes presented

Times staffer Steve Zeitchik went to the Gotham Awards, witnessed a "Spotlight" sweep and offered a few smart takeaways. Our Susan King runs down the National Board of Review, a largely anonymous group that gave its best picture prize to "Mad Max: Fury Road."

Feedback?

I'd love to hear from you. Email me at glenn.whipp@latimes.com.

Can't get enough about awards season? Follow me at @glennwhipp on Twitter

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