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The National Board of Review just named Kenneth Lonergan’s Manchester By the Sea the Best Film of the year. They also gave awards to Casey Affleck for best actor and to Lonergan for his screenplay.

In a press release, 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, as well as to honor Barry Jenkins’ singular directorial vision for Moonlight.”

National Board of Review
Barry Jenkins | Paula Schwartz Photo

So what does the NBR best film prize mean for Oscar prospects for the Lonergan film? Last night the drama about a tragedy-ridden handyman (Casey Affleck) who becomes further burdened when he’s given custody of his difficult nephew (Lucas Hedges), lost out in this category to Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight at the Gotham Awards. Today’s win for Manchester signals that these two films will face off this coming awards season.

National Board of Review, Casey Affleck
Casey Affleck | Paula Schwartz Photo

Keep in mind that it’s too early in the season to make any sweeping generalizations, and the NBR often makes eccentric choices. Last year the NBR named Mad Max: Fury Road best film, and the previous year it was A Most Violent Year. Although Mad Max was nominated for an Oscar, A Most Violent Year never even cracked the list.

The NBR also named Amy Adams best actress for Arrival. It’s definitely the actress’s year. She’s equally impressive in Tom Ford’s Nocturnal Animals, and last night the 43-year-old was feted at the Gotham Awards for her career achievements and praised by none other than Cate Blanchett.

National Board of Review
Amy Adams | Paula Schwartz Photo

NBC’s Willie Geist is set to return as host of the gala, which will take place January 4, 2017 at Cipriani 42d Street.

The NBR love their celebrities, but this year the spotlight seems less on movie stars than on quality indie productions.

The red carpet is endless and the celebrating goes on for hours with lots of booze and food and limited press, so the speeches are often raunchy and unfiltered. Winners are announced in advance so there’s no stress and the glitterati can focus on partying.

Following is the National Board of Review’s complete list of winners:

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: O.J.: Made in America

Best Ensemble: Hidden Figures

Spotlight Award: Creative Collaboration of Peter Berg and Mark Wahlberg

NBR Freedom of Expression Award: Cameraperson

Top Films

Arrival

Hacksaw Ridge

Hail, Caesar!

Hell or High Water

Hidden Figures

La La Land

Moonlight

Patriot’s Day

Silence

Sully

Top 5 Foreign Language Films

Elle

The Handmaiden

Julieta

Land of Mine

Neruda

Top 5 Documentaries

De Palma

The Eagle Huntress

Gleason

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

Krisha

Morris from America

Sing Street

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