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L.A. film critics name “Moonlight” best of 2016

“Moonlight,” director Barry Jenkins’ evocative tale of a young man’s coming-of-age.

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“Moonlight,” Barry Jenkins’ moving, multi-part tale depicting a boy’s growing self-awareness as he becomes a young adult, was named Best Film of 2016 by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association.

The L.A. group, whose choices are typically more esoteric than many other critics’ or industry groups, put much of its attention to two favorites: “Moonlight” (which received four awards, including Best Director and Best Cinematography), and Damien Chazelle’s musical, “La La Land” (which earned one award and was a runner-up in five other categories). 

Best Supporting Actor Mahershala Ali, as a drug dealer who befriends a bullied young boy in “Moonlight,” was also cited last week by the New York Film Critics Circle. Runner-up was Issey Ogata, in the Martin Scorsese religious drama, “Silence.”

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Adam Driver as a bus driver-poet in Jim Jarmusch’s “Paterson.”  

Amazon Studios

But some of their other choices were surprising.

Adam Driver, who plays a bus driver who writes poetry in-between his shifts behind the wheel in Jim Jarmusch’s “Paterson,” won the Best Actor award over Casey Affleck of “Manchester by the Sea.” 

Affleck’s costar, Michelle Williams, was also beat out for Best Supporting Actress by Lily Gladstone, who plays a girl strangely drawn to a female substitute teacher in “Certain Women.”

Isabelle Adjani received the Best Actress award for performances in two films: as a rape survivor in Paul Verhoeven’s “Elle,” and as a philosophy professor whose marriage dissolves in “Things to Come.” Runner-up in this category was Rebecca Hall as a TV newswoman who commits suicide on air in “Christine.”

“The Handmaiden,” Park Chan-wook’s sumptuous and twisty romantic thriller set in Korea during the Japanese occupation, earned the Best Foreign Language Film Award, while the Japanese anime “Your Name” won Best Animated Film.

Yorgos Lanthimos’ black-as-pitch dystopian romance “The Lobster,” in which single people who cannot find a mate must be turned into animals, picked up Best Screenplay.

2016 LAFCA Awards:

Best Picture: “Moonlight”
Runner-up: “La La Land”

Best Actor: Adam Driver, “Paterson”
Runner-up: Casey Affleck, “Manchester by the Sea”

Best Actress: Isabelle Huppert, “Elle” and “Things to Come”
Runner-up: Rebecca Hall, “Christine”

Best Supporting Actor: Mahershala Ali, “Moonlight”
Runner-up: Issey Ogata, “Silence”

Best Supporting Actress: Lily Gladstone, “Certain Women”
Runner-up: Michelle Williams, “Manchester by the Sea”

Best Director:  Barry Jenkins, “Moonlight”
Runner-up: Damien Chazelle, “La La Land”

Best Screenplay: Efthymis Filippou and Yorgos Lanthimos, “The Lobster”
Runner-up: Kenneth Lonergan, “Manchester by the Sea”

Best Cinematography: James Laxton, “Moonlight”
Runner-up: Linus Sandgren, “La La Land”

Best Foreign Film: “The Handmaiden” (South Korea)
Runner-up: “Toni Erdmann” (Germany)

Best Documentary: “I Am Not Your Negro”
Runner-up: “O.J.: Made in America”

Best Animated Film: “Your Name”
Runner-up: “The Red Turtle”

Best Production Design: Ryu Seong-hee, “The Handmaiden”
Runner-up: David Wasco, “La La Land”

Best Editing: Bret Granato, Maya Mumma and Ben Sozanski, “O.J.: Made in America”
Runner-up: Tom Cross, “La La Land”

Best Music Score: Justin Hurwitz, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, “La La Land”
Runner-up: Mica Levi, “Jackie”

New Generation Award: Trey Edward Shults and Krisha Fairchild, “Krisha”

The Douglas Edwards Independent/Experimental Film/Video Prize: “The Illinois Parables” by writer-director Deborah Stratman

Special Citation: To Turner Classic Movies, for preserving historic cinema and bringing it to a wider audience via FilmStruck

Career Achievement Award (previously announced): Shirley MacLaine

  • David Morgan

    David Morgan is a senior editor at CBSNews.com and cbssundaymorning.com.