Awards season is here, and with it an excuse to interject our thoughts on what we think of other peoples’ favorite films of the year. The critics awards often offer an interesting variety of opinions, but it’s also clear how repetitive their group choices can be. Take the New York Film Critic Circle (NYFCC), whose awards were mostly spread between Barry Jenkins youth-spanning triptych Moonlight and Kenneth Lonergan’s mordantly funny, devastating Manchester by the Sea. It’s clear both will be common favorites over the course of the season, but neither won the top prize. That honor went to Damien Chazelle’s early musical frontrunner La La Land, an absence otherwise that might’ve benefitted from a few more below-the-line awards, though perhaps this is simply a sign that Manchester and Moonlight split the top vote.
Three prizes were split between multiple films. Both actress prizes commended the strong body-of-work Isabelle Huppert and Michelle Williams have had this year, even if the obvious standouts were easy to spot. I don’t think we’re gonna see a lot of standout mentions for Williams’ terser work in Certain Women, though I hope Huppert gets equal mentions for her soulful Things to Come performance. Meanwhile delightful teen comedy The Edge of Seventeen and more anxiety-racheting family drama Krisha shared the Best First Film title.
As for other specific film category awards, Zootopia took the Animated Feature title, starting its reasonably safe journey towards the Oscar, all the safer a bet in a year where identity politics are more prescient than certain in-denial democrats are suggesting. Along those same lines, O.J.: Made in America continues its improbable documentary dominance, in spite its clear origins in television. I do wonder how far a 7.5 hour, comprehensive doc can go with awards circles, so that’ll be an interesting race to keep an eye on this year.
You can see the full list of winners below:
Best Film: La La Land
Best Director: Barry Jenkins, Moonlight
Best Screenplay: Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea
Best Actress: Isabelle Huppert, Elle and Things to Come
Best Actor: Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
Best Supporting Actress: Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea and Certain Women
Best Supporting Actor: Mahershala Ali, Moonlight
Best First Film: (TIE) The Edge of Seventeen and Krisha
Best Animated Film: Zootopia
Best Documentary: O.J.: Made in America
Best Foreign Language Film: Toni Erdmann
Best Cinematography: James Laxton, Moonlight
Special Award: Thelma Schoonmaker
Special Award: Julie Dash’s Daughters of the Dust 25th Anniversary Restoration