Moonlight beats La La Land in LA Film Critics awards

Manchester by the Sea, The Lobster and Your Name also winners, as awards season in the US kicks up a gear

PUBLISHED : Monday, 05 December, 2016, 6:06pm
UPDATED : Monday, 05 December, 2016, 6:06pm

Moonlight won best picture honours from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association on Sunday, one of four awards – including one for director for Barry Jenkins – that give the independent film some unexpected momentum as awards season kicks into high gear.

The Los Angeles critics also gave first-place or runner-up honours in various categories to Manchester by the Sea, La La Land and O.J.: Made in America.

But the day belonged to Moonlight, the intimate drama depicting three periods in the life of a young gay black man set in Miami’s Liberty City neighbourhood. Its wins included Mahershala Ali in the supporting actor category and James Laxton for cinematography.

On Thursday the Broadcast Film Critics Association gave Moonlight 10 nominations, including picture and director, for its Critics Choice Awards. The film also has picked up six nominations for the Film Independent Spirit Awards, including feature, director, screenplay, cinematography, editing and the Robert Altman Award, which honours the director, casting director Yesi Ramirez and the acting ensemble.

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

Last year the Los Angeles critics selected Spotlight for best picture and screenplay, and the film went on to win Academy Awards in those categories.

LA critics also showed much enthusiasm for La La Land. That film was runner-up in five categories: best picture, director, production design, editing and cinematography. It placed first only in one category, music/score, for composer Justin Hurwitz and lyricists Benj Pasek and Justin Paul. Mica Levi was runner-up for Jackie.

One of loudest responses of glee Sunday came when the screenplay for director Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Lobster won. The film, starring Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz, is about a world in which singles are given 45 days to find a romantic partner or they’re turned into animals. Lanthimos shares the win with co-writer Efthymis Filippou.

Kenneth Lonergan was runner-up for writing Manchester by the Sea, which he also directed.

Also receiving a thunderous cheer when her name was announced was Lily Gladstone. Her supporting actress turn in Certain Women beat out Michelle Williams’ Manchester by the Sea performance.

Adam Driver won the lead actor voting for his role in Paterson. Casey Affleck, star of Manchester by the Sea, was runner-up.

Isabelle Huppert won for her roles in Elle and Things to Come; Rebecca Hall in Christine was runner-up.

On the documentary front, ESPN’s O.J.: Made in America won the editing award but came in second for documentary honours behind I Am Not Your Negro, a film about writer James Baldwin from Raoul Peck. It will have its Oscars-qualifying cinematic release next week.

Other winners: Your Name for animated film; The Handmaiden for foreign-language film and production design; and Trey Edward Shults and Krisha Fairchild of Krisha, which won the New Generation award.

Los Angeles critics will honour their winners at a dinner on January 14, when actress Shirley MacLaine will receive a career achievement award. The ceremony will be dedicated to director Curtis Hanson, who died in September.