New York Critics Name “La La Land” Best Pic, Spread the Wealth Between”Moonlight” and “Manchester By The Sea”

The New York Film Critics announced their slate of winners today, the first of the critics groups and organizations that announce awards ahead of groups like the Golden Globes and the Screen Actors Guild. And while they don’t hold the influence guilds like SAG do (seeing as they are members of the Academy and not just critics), they can be important to many Oscar hopefuls in jump starting a campaign or adding fuel to one’s tank.

The big story here is that Manchester By The Sea and Moonlight went head to head with one another, each earning three awards while the group went and named La La Land as the year’s Best Film. As three of the highest rated films of the year, that’s not exactly a surprise; it may just come down to these three films when all is said and done.

After missing out with groups like the  Independent Spirit awards and National Board of Review, Michelle Williams, who was once seen as the frontrunner in this category, was named the group’s pick for Best Supporting Actress for both of her performances in Manchester By The Sea and Certain Women. The former is expected to be her play for the Oscars, though the NYFCC is famous for picking winners who have turned in two or more great performances within the same year (see Jessica Chastain in 2011).

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Also chosen for two performances was Isabelle Huppert, who is really cleaning up with some of these precursor awards. Hot off of her win at the Gotham Awards, the French actress won for her work in Elle and Things To Come. Once seen as an “on the fringe” contender, I think it’s safe to say she’s nearly a lock for a nomination.

See the full list of winners below.

Best Film: La La Land

Best Director: Barry Jenkins, Moonlight

Best Actor: Casey Affleck, Manchester By The Sea

Best Actress: Isabelle Huppert for both Elle and Things To Come

Best Supporting Actor: Mahershala Ali, Moonlight 

Best Supporting Actress: Michelle Williams for both Manchester By The Sea and Certain Women

Best Screenplay: Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester By The Sea

Best Cinematography: James Laxton, Moonlight

Best Foreign Language Film: Toni Erdman

Best Non-Fiction Film: O.J.: Made In America

Best Animated Film: Zootopia 

Best First Film: TIE! The Edge of Seventeen and Krisha

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