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2016 CFCA Award Winners

December 16, 2016



It was a tight race between “Moonlight”, “Manchester by the Sea” and “La La Land” this past week in Chicago, as the three films with the most nominations from the Chicago Film Critics Association (CFCA) competed in several of the same categories. The selection of such a trio confirms that I’m not the only one who feels that these are some of the very best films of the year – in fact, many critics associations in other cities had a list of nominations that looked quite similar. While one film inevitably must be crowned “Best”, all three of them won awards at last night’s annual CFCA awards dinner, so it was a rare year that delivered few upsets or surprises – although there were a few.

“Moonlight”, Barry Jenkins’ acclaimed drama which follows the journey of self-discovery taken by a young African-American man over the course of three key moments between adolescence and adulthood, was named Best Picture of 2016. The film, moved into the final round of balloting with 11 nominations and also earned a Best Director win for Jenkins and Best Supporting Director Mahershala Ali (who’s had a banner year with “Luke Cage” and the upcoming “Hidden Figures”) for his performance as a neighborhood  drug dealer who provides the young man with sanctuary from his abusive home life.

“Manchester by the Sea”, the wrenching drama about a troubled man returning home following the death of his brother, earned the most awards from the CFCA (now in its 27th year). The award  for Best Actor went to Casey Affleck, writer/director Kenneth Lonergan won for Best Original Screenplay,Michelle Williams earned the Best Supporting Actress award for her work in the film and newcomer Lucas Hedges (who had bit parts in Wes Anderson’s “Moonrise Kingdom” and “The Grand Budapest Hotel”) won the award for Most Promising Performer.

In addition, three other films took home multiple awards. “The Handmaiden”, the erotic and twisted Korean thriller about a plot to defraud an heiress in 1930’s-era Korea was named Best Foreign Language Film and also won awards for Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Art Direction. Natalie Portman was named Best Actress for her powerful performance in “Jackie”, the drama which looked at the first few days following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy through the eyes of his widow. The film also earned Mica Levi (“Under the Skin”) the award for Best Original Score. The visionary and irresistible “La La Land” was given awards for Best Cinematography and Best Editing.

Among the other winners, the innovative ““Kubo and the Two Strings” beat out heavy competition to win the Best Animated Feature prize. The epic-length “OJ; Made in America” won the Best Documentary award. Finally, Robert Eggers was named Most Promising Filmmaker for his unnerving horror favorite “The Witch.”

Read the entire list of winners below….



BEST DIRECTOR: Barry Jenkins, Moonlight

BEST ACTOR: Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea

BEST ACTRESS: Natalie Portman, Jackie

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Mahershala Ali, Moonlight

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Manchester by the Sea by Kenneth Lonergan

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: The Handmaiden by Seo Kyung-Chung & Chan-wook Park



BEST ANIMATED FEATURE: Kubo and the Two Strings

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: La La Land, Linus Sandgren

BEST EDITING: La La Land, Tom Cross

BEST ART DIRECTION: The Handmaiden, Seong-hie Ryu


MOST PROMISING PERFORMER: Lucas Hedges, Manchester by the Sea




4 Awards—Manchester by the Sea

3 Awards—The Handmaiden, Moonlight

2 Awards—Jackie, La La Land

1 Award—Kubo and the Two Strings, OJ: Made in America, The




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