The Los Angeles Film Critics will vote today (i.e., Sunday). Steve McQueen‘s masterful 12 Years A Slave, a seeming shoo-in for several critics-group awards after ecstatic receptions at Telluride and Toronto, is now on the ropes due to industry hesitance and recent no-wins with the New York Film Critics Circle and the National Board of Review. To maintain vitality in the Best Picture race, Slave needs a LAFCA Best Picture win. And another, for good measure, from the Boston Film Critics, who will also vote today.

If LAFCA and Boston don’t step up to the plate and do the right thing by Slave, the Fox Searchlight release will face at least a somewhat steeper hill as far as potential industry support is concerned. But if LAFCA and Boston don’t “friend” Slave, they should do the other good thing, and that’s give their respective Best Picture prizes to Martin Scorsese‘s wild and mouth-frothy The Wolf of Wall Street — a madly brilliant slash across the canvas by our greatest filmmaker.

After today the next big definer will be the Screen Actors Guild nominations on 12.11, followed by the Golden Globe nominations, which will be announced on Thursday, 12.12.