The New York Film Critics Circle having divvied up their choice awards in a mostly fair and judicious manner, first and foremost by handing their Best Film award to Damien Chazelle‘s La La Land. They also pleasured Moonlight‘s Barry Jenkins with a Best Director award, Manchester By The Sea’s Casey Affleck with a Best Actor trophy, and Elle‘s Isabelle Huppert as their Best Actress pick. The towering Michelle Williams won Best Supporting Actress for Manchester By The Sea, and Mahershala Ali won Best Supporting Actor for delivering a brief but compassionate performance in Moonlight. Manchester‘s Kenneth Lonergan won the NYFCC’s Best Screenplay award, and Ezra Edelman‘s O.J.: Made in America was named Best Documentary.
Best Film, La La Land (HE reaction: Agreement, approval. I would’ve gone for Manchester but La La Land is brilliant, exuberant — it gains with each viewing. And the Moonlight foo-foos were beaten back…yes!)
Best Director, Barry Jenkins, Moonlight (HE reaction — respectful disagreement — Moonlight is a fine, smallish film about caring, loneliness, intimacy and compassion, but using three separate actors in three succeeding stages of life to depict a single character is not, to me, a mindblowing dramatic strategy — it’s just a strategy — overpraised by the foo-foos and the focused-agenda crowd from the get-go);
Best Actor, Casey Affleck, Manchester By The Sea (HE reaction — approved);
Best Actress, Isabelle Huppert, Elle and The Things to Come (HE reaction — approving if a tiny bit surprised — two awards now for the deserving Huppert (NYFCC, Gothams) and zip so far for presumed front-runner, La La Land‘s Emma Stone);
Best Supporting Actor, Mahershala Ali, Moonlight (HE reaction — approved but Manchester‘s Lucas Hedges delivered so much more, hit so many more notes — Ali played a kind, nurturing soul who was gone after Act One);
Best Supporting Actress, Michelle Williams, Manchester By The Sea, Certain Women (HE reaction — approved);
Best Screenplay, Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester By The Sea (HE reaction — approved);
Best Cinematography, James Laxton, Moonlight;
Best Animated Film, Zootopia;
Best Non-Fiction Film, O.J.: Made in America (HE reaction — you bet! You can call it an 8-hour ESPN cable series, but it was too good not to win regardless);
Best Foreign Language Film, Maren Ade‘s Toni Erdmann (HE reaction — still don’t get it after catching this again on disc — dryly amusing here and there, but overlong with off-putting lead, and nowhere near as revelatory as admirers claim);
Best First Film, Kelly Fremon Craig, The Edge of Seventeen;
Best First Film, Trey Edward Shults, Krisha;
Special Award — Thelma Schoonmaker & Julie Dash.