Carrying the Oscar precursor torch from coast to coast three days after the awards ceremony of its New York City counterpart, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association announced its annual set of film honorees Sunday afternoon.
Playing a vital part in the run-up to the Academy Awards, critics circles often give a much-needed visibility boost to smaller films (like this year’s Moonlight and Manchester by the Sea) jockeying for slots in the Oscar race, positioning them at the forefront of the awards season conversation as the industry guilds (namely the Screen Actors Guild, the first round of balloting for which closes on Dec. 11) prepare to vote for their respective nominees.
Increasingly independent in their tastes, however, the LAFCA typically heralds films hovering on the Oscar bubble outside the mainstream conversation. This year, the group — which includes writers like Christy Lemire, Glenn Whipp, and Jen Yamato — boosted the profile of Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight, awarding the critical favorite its Best Picture, Best Director (Jenkins), Best Supporting Actor (Mahershala Ali), and Best Cinematography (James Laxton) honors.
Since 2006, the LAFCA has correctly predicted the Best Picture winner only two times; once in 2009, when Kathryn Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker went on to earn the Academy’s highest honor, and again last year, when Tom McCarthy’s Spotlight emerged from a solid run at the fall festivals to claim the Best Picture Oscar.
Moonlight has thus far performed well in the burgeoning race at large, though. After its dominance at Monday’s Gotham Awards, where it won Best Screenplay, the Audience Award, and Best Feature — which has gone to recent Best Picture Oscar winners like Spotlight and Birdman — the film, about a young black boy’s emotional and sexual maturation on the streets of Miami, received 10 nominations at the Critics Choice Awards (a far more accurate Oscar bellwhether). Additionally, it earned three notices from the New York Film Critics Circle on Thursday, including Best Director, Best Screenplay, and Best Cinematography.
Keeping in-line with their long-standing affinity for foreign actresses, the LAFCA awarded Isabelle Huppert with its Best Actress award for her work in Paul Verhoeven’s Elle. Her win here marks Huppert’s third major accolade of the season, after she won in the same category at the Gothams and the NYFCC Awards. After Huppert, Christine‘s Rebecca Hall clocked in as the runner-up. In the last decade, the LAFCA has awarded an eventual Oscar-winning performance five times (Helen Mirren, Marion Cotillard, Jennifer Lawrence, Cate Blanchett, and Patricia Arquette) in Lead Actress, with two additional honorees (Emmanuelle Riva, Charlotte Rampling) going on to receive nominations from AMPAS.
In Supporting Actress, Certain Women’s breakout star Lily Gladstone picked up a win with the LAFCA, while Manchester by the Sea‘s Michelle Williams took the runner-up position. On the men’s side, Adam Driver scored a win for Best Actor for his work in Jim Jarmusch’s Paterson, and current Oscar frontrunner Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea) finished just behind him as the category’s runner-up.
Check out a full list of the 2016 LAFCA Award winners below.
RUNNER-UP: La La Land
WINNER: Barry Jenkins – Moonlight
RUNNER-UP: Damien Chazelle – La La Land
WINNER: Adam Driver – Paterson
RUNNER-UP: Casey Affleck – Manchester by the Sea
WINNER: Isabelle Huppert – Elle
RUNNER-UP: Rebecca Hall – Christine
Best Supporting Actor
WINNER: Mahershala Ali – Moonlight
RUNNER-UP: Issy Ogata – Silence
Best Supporting Actress
WINNER: Lily Gladstone – Certain Women
RUNNER-UP: Michelle Williams – Manchester by the Sea
WINNER: Your Name.
RUNNER-UP: The Red Turtle
Best Foreign Language Film
WINNER: The Handmaiden
RUNNER-UP: Toni Erdmann
WINNER: I Am Not Your Negro
RUNNER-UP: OJ: Made in America
WINNER: Efthymis Filippou and Yorgos Lanthimos – The Lobster
RUNNER-UP: Kenneth Lonergan – Manchester by the Sea
WINNER: Bret Granato, Maya Mumma, Ben Sozanski – OJ: Made in America
RUNNER-UP: Tom Cross – La La Land
Best Production Design
WINNER: Ryu Seong-hee – The Handmaiden
RUNNER-UP: David Wasco – La La Land
Best Music Score
WINNER: Justin Hurwitz – La La Land
RUNNER-UP: Mica Levi – Jackie
WINNER: James Laxton – Moonlight
RUNNER-UP: Linus Sandgren – La La Land
New Generation Award
WINNER: Trey Edward Shults and Krisha Fairchild – Krisha