The New York Film Critics Circle announced its awards on Thursday, giving best picture to "La La Land," written and directed by Damien Chazelle. The awards were announced in real time on the group's Twitter feed and took a number of hours to work through the voting process.
It was the only prize for Chazelle's emotional musical, with other favored awards contenders such as Barry Jenkins' "Moonlight" and Kenneth Lonergan's "Manchester by the Sea" each being recognized in multiple categories.
Jenkins took the prize for director and James Laxton received the award for cinematography, also for "Moonlight." Mahershala Ali won supporting actor for his work in the film.
"Manchester by the Sea" was recognized with an acting prize for Casey Affleck and a screenplay award for Lonergan. Supporting actress went to Michelle Williams for her work in both "Manchester by the Sea" and Kelly Reichardt's "Certain Women."
Lead actress went to Isabelle Huppert, recognizing her achievements in two French-language films, "Elle," directed by Paul Verhoeven, and "Things to Come," directed by Mia Hansen-Løve.
The German film "Toni Erdmann," directed by Maren Ade, won best foreign language film. Best animated film went to "Zootopia," directed by Byron Howard and Rich Moore
The documentary award went to Ezra Edelman's "O.J.: Made In America." NYFCC member Dana Stevens, who writes for Slate, noted on Twitter that there was a debate during the voting as to whether the 7 ½-hour film, which was broadcast on ESPN in five parts, should even be eligible.
Best first film was a tie between Kelly Fremon Craig for "The Edge of Seventeen" and Trey Edward Shults for "Krisha."
Special awards were given to Thelma Schoonmaker, longtime editor for Martin Scorsese, and for the 25th anniversary restoration of Julie Dash's "Daughters of the Dust."
Within the larger picture of awards season, critics groups such as the NYFCC or the Los Angeles Film Critics Assn., which votes on its awards Sunday, don't act as prognosticators of future awards so much as they help focus attention or push momentum for certain films. (Full disclosure: I'm a LAFCA member.) For instance, at last year's awards, the NYFCC recognized Todd Haynes' "Carol" for best picture, director, screenplay and cinematography.
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