Seemingly earlier than ever this year, major critics groups have begun announcing their year-end awards. So far, three films have emerged as critical favorites: Damien Chazelle’s Los Angeles musical fantasia La La Land, Kenneth Lonergan’s New England drama Manchester by the Sea and Barry Jenkins’ Miami coming-out tale Moonlight.
The National Board of Review named Manchester by the Sea Best Film. The New York Film Critics Circle gave its Best Film award to La La Land, while Moonlight took the Best Picture award at the Gotham Awards. And now the Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA) has announced its choices as well.
LAFCA announced Sunday that Moonlight is its pick for Best Picture, followed by La La Land as runner-up, as reported by EW (LAFCA announnces one winner and one runner-up for each award). Jenkins also took home the group’s Best Director award, with Chazelle picked as the runner-up. Moonlight’s Mahershala Ali won Best Supporting Actor, while Moonlight was also named winner of the Best Cinematography award, with James Laxton beating out La La Land’s Linus Sandgren.
Read the full list of winners below:
RUNNER-UP: La La Land
WINNER: Barry Jenkins - Moonlight
RUNNER-UP: Damien Chazelle - La La Land
WINNER: Adam Driver - Paterson
RUNNER-UP: Casey Affleck - Manchester by the Sea
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
WINNER: Your Name.
RUNNER-UP: The Red Turtle
Best Foreign Language Film
WINNER: The Handmaiden
RUNNER-UP: Toni Erdmann
WINNER: I Am Not Your Negro
RUNNER-UP: OJ: Made in America
WINNER: Efthymis Filippou and Yorgos Lanthimos - The Lobster
RUNNER-UP: Kenneth Lonergan - Manchester by the Sea
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
WINNER: James Laxton - Moonlight
RUNNER-UP: Linus Sandgren - La La Land
New Generation Award
WINNER: Trey Edward Shults and Krisha Fairchild - Krisha
It’s still very early, of course, but the awards bode very well for Moonlight, the urban drama that has gained nearly universal praise since its release in October. It figures to compete across numerous Oscar categories, from Best Picture to Best Director to even more technical categories like cinematography. And since the film’s cast is split among three different eras, it’s more good news for Moonlight that Ali managed to win an acting award. Jenkins, should he win, would become the first-ever African-American Best Director winner.
But don’t count out the other films yet -- La La Land and Manchester by the Sea remain top contenders, while a pair of films not yet seen by most critics -- Denzel Washington’s Fences and Martin Scorsese’s Silence -- may still catch on later in awards season. It is, after all, still only the first week in December.