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La La Land named best film of 2016 by New York Film Critics

La La Land

Story by Jack Foley

LA LA Land, Damien Chazelle’s ode to the Hollywood musical has been named the best film of 2016 by the influential New York Film Critics’ Circle.

However, the top prize was the only award won by the Oscars frontrunner.

Elsewhere, fellow Oscar hopefuls Moonlight and Manchester By The Sea won three awards each.

Manchester By The Sea, a family drama, saw Casey Affleck named best actor, Michelle Williams named best supporting actress and Kenneth Lonergan, who also directed the film, claim best screenplay. Williams was also recognised for her work in Certain Women.

Moonlight, Barry Jenkins’s story of a young black gay man at three stages of life, took best director (for Jenkins), best supporting actor (for Mahershala Ali) and best cinematography (James Laxton).

Isabelle Huppert surprised many by claiming the NYFCC’s best actress prize, in recognition of her work in both Elle and Things to Come. She came out on top ahead of the likes of Amy Adams, Natalie Portman and Emma Stone.

Disney’s Zootropolis was named best animated film, while Toni Erdmann was selected as best foreign language film.

The group’s award for best first film was tied between Hailee Steinfeld coming-of-age comedy-drama Edge of Seventeen and Krisha.

The NY critics did, however, notably fail to recognise several potential Oscar frontrunners, including Dev Patel’s Lion, Denzel Washington’s Fences, ace crime drama Hell or High Water, female ensemble Hidden Figures, Clint Eastwood’s Sully, Natalie Portman’s JFK drama Jackie and Mark Wahlberg Boston Marathon bombing drama Patriots Day.

There was also no mention for Martin Scorsese’s Silence, which has not yet begun to screen widely for critics, and Gareth Edwards’ Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, which is still under wraps.

Last year, Carol was the big winner among the NYFCC, with the Cate Blanchett-starrer taking four awards, including the top prize of best picture.

Founded in 1935, the NYFCC’s membership includes critics from daily newspapers, weekly newspapers, magazines and qualifying online general-interest publications. Every year in December, the group meets in New York to vote on awards for the previous calendar year’s films.

The full list of winners is as follows…

Best Film
La La Land

Best Actor
Casey Affleck for Manchester by the Sea

Best Actress
Isabelle Huppert for both Elle and Things to Come

Best Director
Barry Jenkins for Moonlight

Best Screenplay
Kenneth Lonergan for Manchester by the Sea

Best Supporting Actor
Mahershala Ali for Moonlight

Best Supporting Actress
Michelle Williams for both Manchester by the Sea and Certain Women

Best Animated Film

Best Cinematography
James Laxton for Moonlight

Best First Film (tie)
The Edge of Seventeen and Krisha

Best Foreign Language Film
Toni Erdmann

Best Documentary
OJ: Made in America

Special Awards
One for editor Thelma Schoonmaker, the other for Julie Dash’s Daughters of the Dust 25th anniversary restoration