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The New York Film Critics Circle chose La La Land as the best film of the year and declared Barry Jenkins Best Director for Moonlight.

Isabelle Huppert – after an upset at the Gothams when she was named the best actress winner over favored Annette Bening and Natalie Portman – the French icon was selected as Best Actress for her roles in both Elle and The Things to Come.

Casey Affleck – who is the frontrunner in this category – was chosen as Best Actor for Manchester by the Sea. This comes on the heels of his win at the Gotham Awards, and his selection as best actor by the National Board of review.

Two Special Awards were given to Martin Scorsese’s longtime Editor Thelma Schoonmaker and Julie Dash’s Daughters of the Dust 25th Anniversary Restoration.

From the press release: 
Says David Edelstein, 2016 NYFCC Chairman and film critic of New York Magazine and its online culture site, Vulture, “Voting for the 82nd time, the Circle had a long but lively meeting that left everyone pretty happy—despite the multiple ballots and razor-thin margins. I was pleased by the dominance of Moonlight and Manchester by the Sea insofar as we recognized both a terrific young director in Barry Jenkins and, in Kenneth Lonergan, a rare example of a brilliant playwright who has made the transition to major filmmaker. And because it’s great to spread the love around, giving Best Picture to Damien Chazelle’s enchanting La La Land sent us all home on a high.”

“We also are excited to recognize the marvelous editor Thelma Schoonmaker for fifty years of artistry—and we’re hoping she can spend at least part of her birthday with us at the Circle’s awards gala on January 3rd.”

“Two things are especially notable about this meeting. The first is that there was a tie for Best First Feature between Trey Edward Shults’s Krisha and Kelly Fremon Craig’s The Edge of Seventeen. I suppose we could have taken another vote—but as someone who likes to reward as many artists as possible, I couldn’t have been more pleased.”

He added, 
“The second is that voting briefly stopped when one member raised the issue that the documentary leading at that juncture, Ezra Edelman’s O.J.: Made in America, was more of a made-for-television event than a theatrical feature—although it did have a theatrical run in New York and Los Angeles. In recognizing this superb, panoramic film, we also acknowledge that much great documentary work is now seeded by television entities, among them ESPN (which financed the O.J. film), HBO, PBS, Amazon, and Netflix, and that the window between theatrical a theatrical and television run has closed significantly. Insofar as this allows for more exceptional documentaries that can be seen by wider audiences, we welcome this development.”

Founded in 1935, the New York Film Critics Circle is the oldest and most prestigious in the country. The circle’s membership includes critics from daily and weekly newspapers, magazines and the web’s most respected online publications. Every year the organization meets in New York to vote on awards for the calendar year’s films.
 
The Circle’s awards are often seen as shaping the Oscar race. They’re also viewed — perhaps more accurately — as a principled alternative to the Oscars, honoring aesthetic merit in a forum that is immune to commercial and political pressures.

The New York Film Critics Circle gala is the one time of the year when the journalists and the filmmakers they write about mix and mingle and play nice. It’s also a great party!

The awards will be handed out during their annual ceremony on Tuesday, January 3 at Tao Downtown.

Complete list of winners:

Best Film: La La Land.

Best Director: 
Barry Jenkins, Moonlight.

Best Screenplay: 
Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea.

Best Actress: 
Isabelle Huppert for both Elle and The Things to Come.

Best Actor: 
Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea.

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

Best Supporting Actor: 
Mahershala Ali, Moonlight.

Best Foreign Language Film: Toni Erdmann.

Best Cinematography:
 James Laxton, Moonlight.

Best Nonfiction Film: O.J.: Made in America.

Best First Film: 
TIE,
The Edge of Seventeen
and Krisha.

Best Animated Film: Zootopia.
 
Special Awards:
 Editor Thelma Schoonmaker and
Julie Dash’s Daughters of the Dust 25th Anniversary Restoration.

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