Barry Jenkins' film wins Best Picture, Director, Supporting Actor; Isabelle Huppert takes Best Actress
ALL CROPS: Moonlight (2016) Alex R. Hibbert (L) and Mahershala Ali
Credit: David Bornfriend

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.

Best Picture

WINNER: Moonlight


Best Director

WINNER: Barry Jenkins – Moonlight

RUNNER-UP: Damien Chazelle – La La Land

Best Actor

WINNER: Adam Driver – Paterson

RUNNER-UP: Casey Affleck – Manchester by the Sea

Best Actress

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

Best Animation

WINNER: Your Name.

RUNNER-UP: The Red Turtle

Best Foreign Language Film

WINNER: The Handmaiden

RUNNER-UP: Toni Erdmann

Best Documentary

WINNER: I Am Not Your Negro

RUNNER-UP: OJ: Made in America

Best Screenplay

WINNER: Efthymis Filippou and Yorgos Lanthimos – The Lobster

RUNNER-UP: Kenneth Lonergan – Manchester by the Sea

Best Editing

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

Best Cinematography

WINNER: James Laxton – Moonlight

RUNNER-UP: Linus Sandgren – La La Land

New Generation Award

WINNER: Trey Edward Shults and Krisha Fairchild – Krisha

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