It’s been tight race between Casey Affleck and Denzel Washington throughout awards season, but on Sunday night the Academy deemed the Manchester By the Sea star this year’s Best Actor winner.
Manchester By the Sea
After months of hype and controversy, the big night is finally upon us. The red carpet has been rolled out, the votes have been cast, and host Jimmy Kimmel has rehearsed all his best Matt Damon jokes. At last, the 89th Academy Awards have arrived.
The Oscar nominations will be announced bright and early tomorrow morning, marking the beginning of the end for the plodding death march that is awards season. But critical groups continue to truck along for the time being, with the London Critics’ Circle the latest body to weigh in with their picks for the best of 2016’s cinematic offerings. Even across the Atlantic, La La Land continues to win over movie types; Damien Chazelle’s bittersweet romantic musical took the Film of the Year distinction, though stars Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone went unrecognized, as did director Chazelle.
La La Land, duh. Manchester By the Sea, right. Moonlight, you better. Deadpool – excuse me? It’s true, Ryan Reynolds’ superhero movie has just been named one of the 10 best films of 2016 by the Producers Guild of America (via Variety). Many of us thought its Golden Globes nominations were just a result of the HFPA’s always wacky taste, but it seems the Deadpool virus has spread across the nation to multiple voting bodies, from the Writer’s Guild of America to the Producers.
Like it, love it or hate it, La La Land is continuing its major sweep of awards season, unsurprisingly. After winning a record-breaking seven Golden Globes on Sunday night, the Damien Chazelle romance musical has come out on top of the 2017 British Academy of Film and Television Awards with 11 nominations. The surprising bits of the BAFTA announcement though, were the few very nominations given to its main competitors.
In a move that will come as a surprise to almost no one given the high acclaim for his performance, Casey Affleck has won the 2017 Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama for his subdued performance in Manchester by the Sea. Affleck’s win was pretty much a lock from the moment the nominees were first announced, with many speculating that his only real competition would be Denzel Washington, who gave a compelling performance in Fences.
It’s only logical: after cleaning up across the board with city-specific critics’ groups far and wide (ceding the occasional prize to La La Land, its closest awards-season competitor), Moonlight was awarded the distinction of 2016’s finest film from the National Society of Film Critics. In a decision stunning exactly nobody, Barry Jenkins’ heartfelt triptych about a young gay man’s coming-of-age in Miami took the Best Picture prize as well as the Best Director for Jenkins. Left in the runners-up column were all-but-certain Oscar nominees La La Land and Manchester by the Sea. In fact, Damien Chazelle’s crowd-pleasing musical got kind of skunked by the NSFC; Chazelle landed the runner-up Best Director spot behind Jenkins, the film shared the runner-up spot for Best Cinematography with Silence, and star Emma Stone was shut out entirely.
Everybody and their mother runs some declaration of the year’s best movies in late December, and yet one is more objectively correct than all the others. (Excepting, of course, the rulings from ScreenCrush’s beloved Senior Editor Erin Whitney, who is unassailably just in all matters.) Through the month of December, Indiewire conducts a massive survey of over 200 film critics, polling their picks for the Best Picture as well as standout performances, writing, directing, and the other usual categories. This is the most good, right, and true expression of the year 2016 on film that you’ll find online, and I’m not just saying that because this is the one poll to which I contribute every year. (That may be partly it.)
How you define the “best” of something varies from one person to the next. The “best” movies can be the ones crafted with the most artistry, the ones that feel particularly culturally significant, the ones you can’t shake hours, days, or months after seeing them. Or perhaps the best films are the ones you simply love the most and are eager returning to again and again.
On Tuesday, the Academy released their list of all the film scores eligible for a Best Original Score Oscar this year, but three of 2016’s biggest movies were absent. Arrival, Manchester by the Sea, and Martin Scorsese’s Silence were all shut out of the competition because the first two used pre-existing music, and the last wasn’t deemed “substantial” enough.