Damien Chazelle’s musical “La La Land” has been named the best film of 2016 by the New York Film Critics Circle, one of the oldest and most prestigious critics groups in the United States.
Until the announcement of the final award, the NYFCC voting had been dominated by the dramas “Moonlight” and “Manchester by the Sea,” which each won three awards. But Chazelle’s film, a rousing critics’ favorite since its debut in Venice three months age, claimed the last and biggest award of voting.
The NYFF awards kick off a month that will see dozens of critics groups pick their favorites of the year.
Isabelle Huppert was also honored for a pair of performances, wining the best-actress award for “Elle” and “Things to Come.” Mahershala Ali took the supporting-actor award for “Moonlight.”
Barry Jenkins was named best director for “Moonlight.”
“Zootopia” won the award for best animated film, while “O.J.: Made in America” won for best documentary and “Toni Erdmann” was named best foreign-language film.
Kenneth Lonergan won the screenplay award for “Manchester by the Sea,” while James Laxton was honored for his cinematography for “Moonlight.”
“The Edge of Seventeen” and “Krisha” tied in voting for the year’s best first film.
The NYFCC also voted special honors for editor Thelma Schoonmaker and for the 25th anniversary restoration of Julie Dash’s “Daughters of the Dust.”
The NYFCC currently consists of 37 New York-based critics from a variety of print and online publications. The organization has been awarding prizes since 1936, when it honored “The Informer” as the best film of that year.
In the last 20 years, the New York Film Critics Circle winner has gone on to win the Best Picture Oscar only four times: “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” in 2004, “No Country for Old Men” in 2008, “The Hurt Locker” in 2009 and “The Artist” in 2012.
Other recent NYFCC winners include “American Hustle,” “Zero Dark Thirty,” “The Social Network,” “Milk,” “United 93” and “Boyhood.”
Last year’s winner, Todd Haynes’ “Carol,” did not land an Oscar nomination for Best Picture, though Oscars did go to three NYFCC winners in other categories: supporting actor Mark Rylance, animated film “Inside Out” and foreign film “Son of Saul.”
Best Film: “La La Land”
Best Director: Barry Jenkins, “Moonlight”
Best Actor: Casey Affleck, “Manchester by the Sea”
Best Actress: Isabelle Huppert, “Elle” and “Things to Come”
Best Supporting Actor: Mahershala Ali, “Moonlight”
Best Supporting Actress: Michelle Williams, “Manchester by the Sea” and “Certain Women”
Best Animated Film: “Zootopia”
Best Screenplay: Kenneth Lonergan, “Manchester by the Sea”
Best Cinematography: James Laxton, “Moonlight”
Best Documentary: “O.J.: Made in America”
Best First Film: (TIE) “The Edge of Seventeen” and “Krisha”
Best Foreign Film: “Toni Erdmann”
Special Awards: Thelma Schoonmaker; 25th anniversary restoration of Julie Dash’s “Daughters of the Dust”