Barry Jenkins wins best director for Moonlight; Casey Affleck, Amy Adams scoop top acting awards.

Manchester By The Sea

The National Board Of Review (NBR) on Tuesday declared Amazon Studios’ Manchester By The Sea its best film of 2016 as it honoured the drama with four awards.

Even though NBR best film winners seldom go on to claim the best picture Oscar – one must go back to 2009 and Slumdog Millionaire for the last time that happened – the accolade confirms this drama and Monday’s Gothams victor Moonlight as the early awards season heavyweights, a view that the oncoming rush of critics groups awards could very well endorse.

It is notable too that there was a complete shut-out of La La Land and Fences, while Jay Cocks and Martin Scorsese took adapted screenplay honours for Paramount’s little-seen Silence.

Besides the top accolade Manchester By The Sea also earned best actor for Casey Affleck, original screenplay for Kenneth Lonergan, and breakthrough performance (male) award for Lucas Hedges. Amazon Studios and Roadside Attractions distributes Manchester By The Sea in North America.

Amy Adams took home best actress for Arrival, which is distributed in North American via Paramount and heralds a timely win for the acclaimed performer in what is shaping up to be a fiercely competitive category this season. Jeff Bridges earned best supporting actor for CBS Films’ Hell Or High Water.

Barry Jenkins was named best director for Moonlight while Naomie Harris won best supporting actress, adding fuel to A24’s drama following its record haul of four Gothams on Monday evening.

Asghar Farhadi’s The Salesman, released in the US via Amazon Studios, earned best foreign language honours, Ezra Edelman’s ESPN sensation O.J.: Made In America scooped the documentary prize, and Laika Entertainment / Focus Features’ Kubo And The Two Strings won best animation.

Manchester By The Sea is a masterful film which explores love, loss, and redemption in a deeply moving and completely original way,” said NBR president Annie Schulhof. “We are thrilled to award it our best film, as well as to honour Barry Jenkins’ singular directorial vision for Moonlight.”

The voting group of film enthusiasts, filmmakers, professionals, academics, and students considered more than 250 features. The NBR’s annual gala will take place on January 4.

Full list of National Board Of Review 2016 award recipients:

Best Film: Manchester By The Sea

Best Director: Barry Jenkins, Moonlight

Best Actor: Casey Affleck, Manchester By The Sea

Best Actress: Amy Adams, Arrival

Best Supporting Actor: Jeff Bridges, Hell Or High Water 

Best Supporting Actress: Naomie Harris, Moonlight

Best Original Screenplay: Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester By The Sea

Best Adapted Screenplay: Jay Cocks and Martin Scorsese, Silence

Best Animated Feature: Kubo And The Two Strings
Breakthrough Performance (Male): Lucas Hedges, Manchester By The Sea

Breakthrough Performance (Female): Royalty Hightower, The Fits

Best Directorial Debut: Trey Edward Shults, Krisha

Best Foreign Language Film: The Salesman   

Best Documentary: O.J.: Made In America

Best Ensemble: Hidden Figures

Spotlight Award: Creative collaboration of Peter Berg and Mark Wahlberg

NBR Freedom of Expression Award: Cameraperson

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