We normally look at the precursory awards in the lead up to the Oscars as a bellwether for Academy predictions, but this year’s gongs have gone to a varied set of recipients, giving us no indication as to which direction the golden statuettes will be heading come March 2014.

Joaquin Phoenix in HerJoaquin Phoenix in Her

And it appears as though The Los Angeles Film Critics Association are just as muddled with their hypothesis - they couldn’t split the difference between Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity and Spike Jonez’s latest effort, Her. The first is an epic journey through space with incredible visuals, while the second is a futuristic love story starring Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johansson, but they both received the top prize from the LAFCA last night (Sunday 9, December).

With Gravity having dominated at the Venice film festival, following up its impressive festival circuit with a slew of gushing reviews, it was considered a nailed-on favourite for Best Picture and Best Director. But Her’s reception has been equally doting, suggesting this will be one of the closest Oscar races yet.

Previously, the New York Film Critics Circle named David O Russell's American Hustle best as film; The National Board of Review picked Her for the equivalent prize, while The Gotham Awards’ picture of choice was the Coen brothers' folk tale Inside Llewyn Davis. And 12 Years a Slave isn’t even out yet. Check out our Oscars betting guide to see where your money should be going this year.

Gravity - Above EarthGravity - Above Earth

Elsewhere in L.A, Nebraska’s Bruce Dern was celebrated for his role in the black & white, father & son, indie flick - he received the best actor award. Before Midnight - written by director Richard Linklater and his two stars, Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke – got the best screenplay nod, and everyone’s favourite for the Oscars’ Best Foreign Language film, Blue Is The Warmest Color picked up the equivalent.