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Moonlight was named this year’s best picture by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association on Sunday. The critics group also recognized the drama about a gay black man coming of age in a rough Miami neighborhood with awards for director Barry Jenkins; supporting actor Mahershala Ali, who plays a drug dealer who takes a fatherly interest in a fearful boy; and cinematographer James Laxton.
The LAFCA voted as best picture runner-up the musical La La Land, which was named best picture by the New York Film Critics Circle earlier in the week. La La Land was also cited for its music score by Justin Hurwitz, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul.
French actress Isabelle Huppert was hailed as best actress for both Elle, in which she plays a strong woman dealing with rape, and Things to Come, in which she plays a philosophy teacher dealing with grief and betrayal.
In several categories, the LAFCA chose to shine their spotlight on smaller indie films, tapping Adam Driver as best actor for playing a poetic bus driver in Paterson and Lily Gladstone as best supporting actress for portraying a lonely Montana ranch hand in Certain Women.
In one surprise result, the critics group gave its best editing award not to a narrative feature but to Ezra Edelman’s epic documentary O.J.: Made in America. (La La Land was the editing runner-up.) But O.J. lost the documentary prize, coming in runner-up to Raoul Peck’s I Am Not Your Negro, which uses the words of James Baldwin to examine black life in America.
This winners will be celebrated at the annual awards dinner on Jan. 14 at the InterContinental Hotel in Century City. Shirley MacLaine will receive this year’s career achievement honor, and the ceremony will be dedicated to late director Curtis Hanson.
Runner-up: Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea
Douglas Edwards Independent/Experimental Film/Video Prize: The Illinois Parables from writer-director Deborah Stratman
Next Generation: Trey Edward Shults, Krisha Fairchild, Krisha
Special Citation: Turner Classic Movies for preserving historic cinema and bringing it to a wider audience via FilmStruck.
Lifetime achievement: Shirley MacLaine
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