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‘La La Land’ rules Critics Choice – Affleck, Portman win top actor’s honors

Director Damien Chazelle (center), accepts the award for best picture for ‘La La Land’ at the 22nd annual Critics’ Choice Awards at the Barker Hangar on Dec 11, in Santa Monica, California. Pictured on stage from left: Gary Gilbert, Jordan Horowitz, Mary Zophres, Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling. (AP)

LOS ANGELES, Dec 12, (Agencies): “La La Land,” a musical love story of two struggling artists set in Los Angeles, on Sunday swept the top prizes at the Critics’ Choice Awards, taking Best Picture and Best Director for Damien Chazelle.

The film won in eight of the 11 categories in which it was nominated, cementing its status as an early front-runner in the Hollywood awards season.

Casey Affleck was named Best Actor for his role as the reluctant guardian of a 16-year-old nephew in “Manchester by the Sea”.

Best Actress went to Natalie Portman for her portrayal of former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy in “Jackie”, which blends factual events with fiction in depicting the week after the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Viola Davis’ reprisal of her Broadway role as a concerned mother and wife in the film adaptation of August Wilson’s play “Fences” garnered her the Best Supporting Actress award.

Mahershala Ali won Best Supporting Actor for his depiction of a crack dealer in the drama “Moonlight”.

Accolades were also given to the top television series and stars in several categories. “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story” was recognised as the Best Movie Made For Television or Limited Series.

The Critics’ Choice Awards are chosen by the more than 300 members of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA).

Although its members are not usually part of the same guilds that pick nominees and winners for most of Hollywood’s awards shows, the critics’ awards help to build the buzz for potential Oscar front-runners.


* Best Picture: La La Land

* Best Actor: Casey Affleck — Manchester By The Sea

* Best Actress: Natalie Portman — Jackie

* Best Supporting Actor: Mahershala Ali — Moonlight

* Best Supporting Actress: Viola Davis — Fences

* Best Young Actor/Actress: Lucas Hedges — Manchester By The Sea

* Best Acting Ensemble: Moonlight

* Best Director: Damien Chazelle — La La Land

* Best Original Screenplay: Damien Chazelle — La La Land; Kenneth Lonergan — Manchester By The Sea

* Best Adapted Screenplay: Eric Heisserer — Arrival

* Best Cinematography: Linus Sandgren — La La Land

* Best Production Design: La La Land — David Wasco, Sandy Reynolds-Wasco

* Best Editing: Tom Cross — La La Land

* Best Costume Design: Madeline Fontaine — Jackie

* Best Hair & Makeup: Jackie

* Best Visual Effects: The Jungle Book

* Best Animated Feature: Zootopia

* Best Action Movie: Hacksaw Ridge

* Best Actor In An Action Movie: Andrew Garfield — Hacksaw Ridge

* Best Actress In An Action Movie: Margot Robbie — Suicide Squad

* Best Comedy: Deadpool

* Best Actor In A Comedy: Ryan Reynolds — Deadpool

* Best Actress In A Comedy: Meryl Streep — Florence Foster Jenkins

* Best Sci-Fi/Horror Movie: Arrival

* Best Foreign Language Film: Elle

* Best Song: ‘City Of Stars’ — La La Land

* Best Score: Justin Hurwitz — La La Land


* Best Drama Series: Game Of Thrones — HBO

* Best Actor In A Drama Series: Bob Odenkirk — Better Call Saul — AMC

* Best Actress in a Drama Series: Evan Rachel Wood — Westworld — HBO

* Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series: John Lithgow — The Crown — Netflix

* Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series: Thandie Newton — Westworld — HBO

* Best Guest Performer in a Drama Series: Jeffrey Dean Morgan — The Walking Dead — AMC

* Best Comedy Series: Silicon Valley — HBO

* Best Actress in a Comedy Series: Kate Mckinnon — Saturday Night Live — NBC

* Best Actor In A Comedy Series: Donald Glover — Atlanta — FX

* Best Supporting Actress In A Comedy Series: Jane Krakowski — Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt — Netflix

* Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series: Louie Anderson — Baskets — FX

* Best Guest Performer in a Comedy Series: Alec Baldwin — Saturday Night Live — NBC

* Best Animated Series: Bojack Horseman — Netflix

* Best Reality Competition Series: The Voice — NBC

* Best Structured Reality Series: Shark Tank — ABC

* Best Unstructured Reality Series: Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown — CNN

* Best Talk Show: The Late Late Show With James Corden — CBS

* Best Reality Show Host: Anthony Bourdain — Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown — CNN

* Best Movie Made for Television or Limited Series: The People V. O.J. Simpson — FX

* Best Actor in a Movie Made for Television or Limited Series: Courtney B. Vance — The People v. O.J. Simpson — FX

* Best Supporting Actor in a Movie Made for Television or Limited Series: Sterling K. Brown — The People V. O.J. Simpson — FX

* Best Actress in a Movie Made for Television or Limited Series: Sarah Paulson — The People v. O.J. Simpson — FX

* Best Supporting Actress in a Movie Made for Television or Limited Series: Regina King — American Crime — ABC

The Broadcast Film Critics Assn. shifted the entire calendar for the annual Critics’ Choice Awards up a month this year in order to capitalize on being first out of the gate with a critical assessment of the year’s filmmaking accomplishments. An early voting deadline in November meant the group could preempt the New York and Los Angeles film critics’ announcements, while a mid-December ceremony gave them a major jump on the Golden Globe Awards (the competition, as BFCA brass sees it).

However, this also meant there was no time to screen Martin Scorsese’s “Silence,” considered in some quarters one of the year’s finest films, for the nationwide membership. Same for late-breaking blockbuster fare like “Passengers” and “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” which might have found a home in some of the BFCA’s genre categories.

The group is slightly embattled lately, on the heels of shoe-horning last year’s Lucasfilm entry, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” into the best picture category after the fact, as well as key members of sister group the Broadcast Television Journalists Assn. resigning in protest to a partnership with Entertainment Weekly last month. Thankfully, there was no such move to insinuate “Rogue One” into the picture this time around. Meanwhile, requests to screen “Silence” for only a portion of the membership, in New York and Los Angeles, were declined out of fairness.

So the scandals were more or less behind them as the BFCA/BTJA set out to honor the year’s best film and TV at a Santa Monica ceremony Sunday night. Well…all but telecast host T.J. Miller’s arrest for getting physical with a Trump-supporting Uber driver Friday.


The big winner at the end of the night was Damien Chazelle’s “La La Land,” and it’s no surprise, given that the film is a consensus favorite this year primed for Academy Awards. In the world of Oscar prognostication, if the Critics’ Choice Awards are good for anything it’s seeing how a broad group of people respond to the year in film; that’s in part why their choices have so often lined up with the Academy’s.

Chazelle’s film also won prizes for director, original screenplay (in a tie with “Manchester by the Sea”), cinematography, editing, production design, song and score. That doesn’t quite topple “Mad Max: Fury Road’s” nine-trophy haul last year, but it’s good enough to make “La La Land” the second-most awarded film in Critics’ Choice history.

As ever, a number of winners were announced as commercial bumpers, including the screenplay categories, which best actor winner Casey Affleck thought it worth pointing out. “That seems like a funny thing to skip over considering none of us would be here without that,” he said, adding: “They probably would write some interesting speeches.” But alas, you can only squeeze so much in when you’re handing out film and television awards as well as a slew of genre prizes aimed at beefing up the celebrity profile of the show.

However, it appeared some of those celebrities didn’t bother to show. But the BFCA found extra star wattage in “Deadpool” star Ryan Reynolds, who took the stage not once but three times: to accept the best actor in a comedy prize, to bask in the film’s overall win in the comedy movie category (somehow edging out more critically acclaimed movies — go figure) and to collect an Entertainment Weekly-branded Entertainer of the Year honor.


On the TV side, it was interesting to note that Netflix’s “The Crown,” FX’s “Atlanta,” and HBO’s “Westworld” all picked up their first-ever prizes, lest the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. seize upon their usual kingmaker status first. John Lithgow (best supporting actor), Donald Glover (best actor in a comedy series), and Evan Rachel Wood/Thandie Newton (best actress/supporting actress) won for each respective program. Given the mass defections, though, one wonders how the overall TV vote was affected.

So indeed, congratulations to the Critics’ Choice Awards for being “FIRST!” The question with the early jump, however, is whether it will actually provide the exposure the group is hoping for, or if it will be too much too soon. The BFCA had a nice groove going for the handful of years the ceremony was held on the same day the Oscar nominations were announced. They ended up with dibs on the first red (er, blue) carpet walked by many newly minted nominees, as handlers were eager for their talent to attend and take the dive into phase two campaigning.

But tomorrow’s Golden Globe nominations will overwhelm all awards coverage, with the Screen Actors Guild announcing just two days later. Will Sunday night feel more like a distant rehearsal than early standard-setting when the season finally times out?

Other prizes of note: “The People v O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story,” Game of Thrones,” and “Silicon Valley” won the top TV categories. Actor Lakeith Stanfield interrupted the the latter’s presentation in what appeared to be a bit of a protest on behalf of his show “Atlanta.”

Casey Affleck (“Manchester by the Sea”), Natalie Portman (“Jackie”), Bob Odenkirk (“Better Call Saul”), and Kate McKinnon (“Saturday Night Live”) won other top performance categories.

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