Moonlight Wins Best Picture in Online Film Critics Society

Awards season heats up in the New Year as Moonlight dominates at the OFCS. Casey Affleck and Natalie Portman also take top prizes.

Another New Year has come and gone, and as we gratefully turn the page on 2016, it can mean only one thing in the immediacy: awards season has begun in full force. Oh sure, a new U.S. Congress has also just been sworn in, but let’s focus on the less soul-crushing aspects here at the top of 2017. With the Golden Globes, guild awards, and of course the Oscars just around the corner, the final critics groups are announcing their picks for the best of 2016, and that includes the Online Film Critics Society of which our own associate editor David Crow is a member. Indeed, the awards are one more indication of the current mood of critical opinion (if not necessarily the industry one that determines the Oscars and guilds).

In that vein, the OFCS picking Moonlight as Best Picture of the year continues to undermine the previous inevitability La La Land seemed to enjoy with its frontrunner status. Indeed, Moonlight dominated the OFCS, picking up Best Picture, Best Director for Barry Jenkins, Best Supporting Actor for Mahershala Ali, and Best Supporting Actress for Naomie Harris. Ms. Harris beating Viola Davis for Fences is also a major surprise. Manchester by the Sea’s Casey Affleck also continued his clean sweep of Best Actor awards thus far, earning Best Actor while Natalie Portman picked up another win for Jackie, highlighting the continued competiveness in the race between Ms. Portman and Emma Stone for La La Land.

Damien Chazelle’s musical did not go home completely empty-handed, however. It still has its critical admirers—including our David Crow who called it the best movie of the year—and it picked up awards for Best Editing and Best Cinematography at the OFCS. Still, this continued and growing critical push for Moonlight suggests that A24’s tiny-budgeted film about race and sexual orientation anguish in inner-city life has struck a chord strong enough to reverberate all the way to challenging Lionsgate’s musical throwback, as well as the more traditional “indie drama tragedy” in the form of Kenneth Lonergan’s Manchester. It will be curious if a film this outside of the traditional comfort zone for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will continue to grow in its competitive streak for top prizes.

Other major awards from the OFCS include Kubo and the Two Strings winning Best Animated Feature, Hell or High Water winning Best Original Screenplay, Arrival winning Best Adapted Screenplay, The Handmaiden winning Best Foreign Language Film, and O.J.: Made in America winning Best Documentary. You can see the full list of nominees and winners below.

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Best Picture


The Handmaiden

Hell or High Water


La La Land

Manchester by the Sea

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O.J.: Made in America


The Witch

Best Animated Feature

Finding Dory

Kubo and the Two Strings

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The Red Turtle


Best Director

Damien Chazelle – La La Land

Barry Jenkins – Moonlight

Pablo Larraín – Jackie

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Kenneth Lonergan – Manchester by the Sea

Denis Villeneuve – Arrival

Best Actor

Casey Affleck – Manchester by the Sea 

Adam Driver – Paterson

Ryan Gosling – La La Land

Viggo Mortensen – Captain Fantastic

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Denzel Washington – Fences

Best Actress

Amy Adams – Arrival

Isabelle Huppert – Elle

Ruth Negga – Loving

Natalie Portman – Jackie

Emma Stone – La La Land

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Best Supporting Actor

Mahershala Ali – Moonlight 

Tom Bennett – Love & Friendship

Jeff Bridges – Hell or High Water

Lucas Hedges – Manchester by the Sea

Michael Shannon – Nocturnal Animals

Best Supporting Actress

Viola Davis – Fences

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Lily Gladstone – Certain Women

Naomie Harris – Moonlight

Octavia Spencer – Hidden Figures

Michelle Williams – Manchester by the Sea

Best Original Screenplay

Hell or High Water – Taylor Sheridan

Jackie – Noah Oppenheim

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La La Land – Damien Chazelle

The Lobster – Yorgos Lanthimos, Efthymis Flippou

Manchester by the Sea – Kenneth Lonergan

Best Adapted Screenplay

Arrival – Eric Heisserer, Ted Chiang

Elle – DAvid Birke, Philippe Djian

Love & Friendship – Whit Stillman

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Moonlight – Barry Jenkins, Tarell Alvin McCraney

Nocturnal Animals – Tom Ford

Best Editing

Arrival – Joe Walker

Cameraperson – NEls Bangerter

Jackie – Sebastian Sepulveda

La La Land – Tom Cross

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Moonlight – Joi McMillon, Nat Sanders

Best Cinematography

Arrival – Bradford Young

Jackie – Stéphane Fontaine

La La Land – Linus Sandgren

Moonlight – James Laxton

The Neon Demon – Natasha Braier

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Best Film Not in the English Language

Elle – France

The Handmaiden – South Korea

Neruda – Chile

The Salesman – Iran

Toni Erdmann – Germany

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Best Documentary



I Am Not Your Negro

O.J.: Made in America


Best Non-U.S. Release

After the StormThe Death of Louis XIVThe Girl With All the GiftsGraduationNocturmaPersonal ShopperA Quiet PassionStaying VerticalThe Unknown GirlYourself and Yours

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