27 members of the august National Society of Film Critics have given their Best Picture award to Barry Jenkins‘ Moonlight — a nicely woven, entirely admirable small-scale drama about timidity, cowering, sexuality, nurturing and acceptance. Never saw that one coming! The critical dweeb elite has been creaming over this film since Telluride, and there’s nothing wrong with their having done so. The film is good, Barry is cool, the A24 guys have refined taste buds, etc.
But a bigger headline is the fact that the NSFC has given the great Isabelle Huppert its Best Actress award for her performances in Elle and Things To Come. Huppert power! The Best Actress runner-ups were 20th Century Women‘s Annette Bening and Toni Erdmann‘s Sandra Huller (who’s actually quite good in an otherwise mostly tiresome film).
And — surprise of surprises! — the Viola Davis inevitability factor in the Best Supporting Actress race has been temporarily halted by the NSFC’s decision to give their trophy to Manchester By The Sea‘s Michelle Williams…amazing! Not to mention richly deserved. Almost every other critics org (except for those eccentric, food-obsessed LAFCA guys, who went for Certain Women‘s Lily Gladstone along with maybe two or three other outliers) has bowed down to the Davis blitzkrieg.
The NSFC’s Best Supporting Actress runners-up were Gladstone and Moonlight‘s Naomi Harris.
Manchester By The Sea‘s Casey Affleck — undimmed, unbowed, inevitable — has won the NSFC’s Best Actor trophy. Fences‘ Denzel Washington and Paterson‘s Adam Driver were first and second runners-up.
Moonlight‘s Mahershala Ali continues to run the table with this, his latest Best Supporting Actor trophy, which, boiled down, is basically about giving “Little” a swimming lesson in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Miami. Good dad, kindly nurturer, gentle vibes…Ali wins. (And Manchester‘s Lucas Hedges, who gave the year’s best supporting performance, wins zip.)
The NSFC’s Best Supporting runners-up are Hell or High Water‘s Jeff Bridges followed by Nocturnal Animals‘ Michael Shannon.
Manchester By The Sea‘s Kenneth Lonergan has won their Best Screenplay award with Moonlight‘s Barry Jenkins and Hell or High Water‘s Taylor Sheridan occupying the first and second runners-up positions.
Moonlight‘s James Laxton has won the NSFC’s Best Cinematography award. The runners-up are La La Land‘s Linus Sandgren and Silence‘s Rodrigo Prieto (bravo!).