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Manchester By The Sea named best film of 2016 by National Board of Review

Manchester By The Sea

Story by Jack Foley

CASEY Affleck’s Manchester By The Sea has been named the best film of 2016 by America’s National Board of Review (NBR).

The Kenneth Lonergan-directed film received three other accolades, including best actor for leading man Affleck, best original screenplay for Lonergan and male breakthrough performance for Lucas Hedges.

The film follows Affleck’s Lee, whose sparse existence is suddenly ruptured when the death of his brother Joe (Kyle Chandler) forces him to return to the hometown he abandoned years before. There, he gets back in contact with his estranged ex-wife (Michelle Williams), but is further rocked by the revelation that Joe has made him guardian of his teenage son (Hedges).

NBR president Annie Schulhof said: “Manchester By The Sea is a masterful film which explores love, loss, and redemption in a deeply moving and completely original way. We are thrilled to award it our best film.”

Another Oscar favourite, Moonlight, picked up two awards – for director Barry Jenkins and Naomie Harris as best supporting actress.

Amy Adams was named best actress for her work in sci-fi drama Arrival, while Hell or High Water was recognised when Jeff Bridges was named best supporting actor.

One of the big surprises among the NBR’s winners was Kubo and the Two Strings being named best animated feature ahead of any of Disney’s releases (which ranged from Zootropolis to Finding Dory this year).

A spotlight award was bestowed upon frequent collaborators Mark Wahlberg and Pete Berg, who worked together on two films this year, oil rig disaster Deepwater Horizon and the forthcoming Boston Marathon bombing drama Patriots Day.

The NBR awards are voted on by a group of film enthusiasts, professionals, academics, young filmmakers and students. They are often seen as useful indicators of which films will feature prominently in the forthcoming awards season.

Last year, for instance, NBR selected Mad Max: Fury Road as its best film. The post-apocalyptic blockbuster went on to win a number of critical accolades and awards and was nominated for several Oscars.

However, in 2014 it opted for A Most Violent Year as its best film, but the JC Chandor-directed crime drama about New York in 1981 was completely snubbed by the Oscars.

In addition to naming a best film, NBR also lists its top films of the year, which further included other potential Oscar contenders such as La La Land, Sully and Martin Scorsese’s Silence.

The complete winners list is as follows…

Best Film
Manchester by the Sea

Best Director
Barry Jenkins, Moonlight

Best Actor
Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea

Best Actress
Amy Adams, Arrival

Best Supporting Actor
Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water

Best Supporting Actress
Naomie Harris, Moonlight

Best Original Screenplay
Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea

Best Adapted Screenplay
Jay Cocks and Martin Scorsese, Silence

Best Animated Feature
Kubo and the Two Strings

Breakthrough Performance (Male)
Lucas Hedges, Manchester by the Sea

Breakthrough Performance (Female)
Royalty Hightower, The Fits

Best Directorial Debut
Trey Edward Shults, Krisha

Best Foreign Language Film
The Salesman

Best Documentary
OJ: Made in America

Best Ensemble
Hidden Figures

Spotlight Award
Creative Collaboration of Peter Berg and Mark Wahlberg

NBR Freedom of Expression Award

Top Films
Hacksaw Ridge
Hail, Caesar!
Hell or High Water
Hidden Figures
La La Land
Patriots Day

Top 5 Foreign Language Films
The Handmaiden
Land of Mine

Top 5 Documentaries
De Palma
The Eagle Huntress
Life, Animated
Miss Sharon Jones!

Top 10 Independent Films
20th Century Women
Captain Fantastic
Creative Control
Eye in the Sky
The Fits
Green Room
Hello, My Name is Doris
Morris from America
Sing Street