New York Film Critics Circle Awards 2016: ‘La La Land wins Best Picture; Casey Affleck, Isabelle Huppert take top acting honors

Thursday (Dec. 1) was a good day for Oscar frontrunner “La La Land.” First, Damien Chazelle‘s musical romance reaped a leading 12 bids at the Critics’ Choice Awards and then it was named Best Picture by the New York Film Critics Circle. That was its only prize from the Gotham scribes, who also showered love on two other strong Oscar contenders, “Manchester by the Sea” and “Moonlight.”

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Casey Affleck won Best Actor for his sensitive portrayal of a grieving brother in “Manchester by the Sea.” Director Kenneth Lonergan claimed Best Screenplay. And recognition from the Circle is a big boost for Best Supporting Actress winner Michelle Williams for her work in both the low-profile “Certain Women” and “Manchester by the Sea.”

Barry Jenkins was named Best Director for “Moonlight,” which he co-wrote as well. Emmy nominee Mahershala Ali (“House of Cards”) won Best Supporting Actor for his scene-stealing performance in the film as a kindly drug dealer. And James Laxton won Best Cinematography for his bravura work with light and images.

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Gallic star Isabelle Huppert was feted as Best Actress for two films: “Elle” and “Things to Come.” She is a strong contender at the Oscars for the former, in which she plays a Parisian business tycoon who toys with her stalker.

The Oscar frontrunners for both Best Foreign-Language Film (“Toni Erdmann”) and Best Animated Feature (“Zootopia”) won over the New York critics.  And the Circle’s pick for Best Documentary Feature, “O.J.: Made in America,” is a strong contender to make the shortlist in that Oscar category.

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