Friday, December 9, 2016

'Moonlight' wins big at Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards

Here's the simple truth- everybody is fairly certain that La La Land is going to win Best Picture. No movie has been as universally adored as Damien Chazelle's musical masterpiece, and it's the burst of Technicolor wizardry and romantic storytelling genius that we need this year. It's a film that has infinitely broad appeal, and when you mix that in with its throwback elements and reverence to old Hollywood, you have a film that is pretty much a Best Picture lock. But even though La La Land is in excellent shape for this year's Oscars, that doesn't mean that other films won't win some awards along the way. Moonlight and Manchester by the Sea are considered to be the other front-runners in the race, and with the stunning critical reception for those films, it would make sense for some critics' associations to recognize them. Manchester had a spectacular showing at the National Board of Review, and at Sunday's Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards, Barry Jenkins' coming-of-age epic took several of the top prizes. Here are the results for the LAFCA Awards.

Best Picture- Moonlight
Runner-Up- La La Land

Best Director- Barry Jenkins, Moonlight
Runner-Up- Damien Chazelle, La La Land

Best Actor- Adam Driver, Paterson
Runner-Up- Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea

Best Actress- Isabelle Huppert, Elle & Things to Come
Runner-Up- Rebecca Hall, Christine

Best Supporting Actor- Mahershala Ali, Moonlight
Runner-Up- Issey Ogata, Silence

Best Supporting Actress- Lily Gladstone, Certain Women
Runner-Up- Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea & Certain Women

Best Screenplay- Efthymis Filippou and Yorgos Lanthimos, The Lobster
Runner-Up- Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea

Best Production Design- The Handmaiden
Runner-Up- La La Land

Best Editing- O.J.: Made in America
Runner-Up- La La Land

Best Cinematography- Moonlight
Runner-Up- La La Land

Best Music Score- Justin Hurwitz, Benj Pasek, and Justin Paul, La La Land
Runner-Up- Mica Levi, Jackie

Best Foreign Language Film- The Handmaiden
Runner-Up- Toni Erdmann

Best Documentary/Non-Fiction Film- I Am Not Your Negro
Runner-Up- O.J.: Made in America

Best Animation- Your Name
Runner-Up- The Red Turtle

New Generation Award- Trey Edward Schults and Krisha Fairchild, Krisha

Moonlight is one of the best movies of the year (of many years, for that matter), and it is connecting with people on a deep, resonant emotional level. If there is a threat to La La Land in the Best Picture race, it's this film. Sure, Fences and Manchester are well liked, and Martin Scorsese's Silence will probably have its fans. But as the season is moving forward, we're back to where we were in September- it's Moonlight vs. La La Land. Even though Moonlight took home the top prize, the fact that Chazelle's musical is doing so well with critics' groups bodes well for its Oscar chances (it won the NYFCC award last week). Pretty much everybody loves this movie, and with one win and five runner-up results at LAFCA, La La Land has the boost of a strong performance at the major critical awards on both coasts. In addition to the main race, Isabelle Huppert continues to make her push for an Oscar nomination, while Adam Driver has now thrown himself into the race for his turn in Jim Jarmusch's lowkey drama Paterson. The Handmaiden also did exceptionally well, which makes its omission in the Oscars' foreign language category (South Korea submitted a different film) even stranger.

That does it for most of the major critical awards, but with the Golden Globes and Guild nominations coming soon, it's safe to say that the 2016-17 awards season is just beginning.      

Images courtesy of A24

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