La La Land leads Critics Choice Award nominees and wins over New York film critics

Feel-good musical about struggling artist couple in Los Angeles cements its status as Hollywood awards season front runner by winning best picture award in New York

PUBLISHED : Friday, 02 December, 2016, 12:01pm
UPDATED : Friday, 02 December, 2016, 12:06pm

La La Land, a modern-day musical love story of two struggling artists in Los Angeles, cemented its Hollywood awards season front-runner status on Thursday by simultaneously leading the nominees for Critics’ Choice Awards and being named best picture by New York film critics.

La La Land scored 12 Critics Choice nominations, including best picture, best actress for Emma Stone, best actor for Ryan Gosling and best director and screenplay for Damien Chazelle.

Sci-fi drama Arrival and independent drama Moonlight both landed 10 nominations each, including for best picture as well as best director for Denis Villeneuve and Barry Jenkins respectively.

The New York Film Critics Awards, a separate critics organisation, named its 2016 winners on Thursday, with La La Land taking best picture. Jenkins was named best director.

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The Critics’ Choice Awards are chosen by the 300-plus members of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA). Winners will be announced at a televised ceremony held in the Los Angeles coastal town of Santa Monica on December 11.

There is usually little crossover between membership of the New York Film Critics and BFCA and that of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and of the industry guilds that picks nominees and winners for the majority of Hollywood’s awards shows, but the critics’ awards help to build buzz for potential Oscar front runners.

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Also in the Critics Choice best picture race is Denzel Washington’s Fences, Mel Gibson’s war drama Hacksaw Ridge , crime thriller Hell or High Water, adoption tale Lion, Loving, about an interracial married couple, family grief drama Manchester by the Sea, and Clint Eastwood’s Sully .

In the best actress category Stone will be up against Amy Adams for Arrival, Natalie Portman for Jackie, Ruth Negga for Loving, Annette Bening for 20th Century Women and Isabelle Huppert for Elle.

Gosling will be up against Casey Affleck for Manchester by the Sea, Washington for Fences, Tom Hanks for Sully, Joel Edgerton for Loving and Andrew Garfield for Hacksaw Ridge in the best actor race.

The Critics Choice Awards has separate categories for best drama, comedy, action film, animated film and sci-fi/horror film, to include the bigger budget studio films sometimes overlooked during awards season.

In the action movie categories, superhero films Captain America: Civil War , Deadpool and Doctor Strange will compete against Jason Bourne and Hacksaw Ridge.