Sep­a­rate from award sea­son pack

China Daily (Canada) - - NEWS CAPSULE - By AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS in New York

InHol­ly­wood’s early but rapidly so­lid­i­fy­ing awards sea­son, two films rad­i­cally dif­fer­ent in tone and tune have sep­a­rated them­selves from the pack: Moonlight and La La Land.

Moonlight, Barry Jenk­ins’ lyri­cal com­ing-of-age tale, added to its al­ready hefty haul on Sun­day, tak­ing best pic­ture from the Los An­ge­les Film Crit­ics As­so­ci­a­tion. The group also gave best di­rec­tor to Jenk­ins, best sup­port­ing ac­tor to Ma­her­shala Ali and best cinematography to James Lax­ton.

Those three awards mir­rored the picks last week by the LAFAA’s East Coast corol­lary, the New York Film Crit­ics Cir­cle. But the New York crit­ics ul­ti­mately chose Damien Chazelle’s La La Land as the year’s best film, whereas the LA crit­ics had La La Land, a col­or­ful ode to the group’s home­town, as run­ner-up for best pic­ture and best di­rec­tor.

Which film will have the edge in the com­ing weeks when the more cru­cial in­dus­try groups be­gin ring­ing in with their awards is an open ques­tion. Moonlight, which also tri­umphed at theGothamAwards, is per­haps the year’s most crit­i­cally cel­e­brated film. Across three chap­ters, it fol­lows a boy grow­ing up black, gay and poor in­Mi­ami.

But La La Land, star­ring Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, is only just hit­ting the­aters. (It opens Fri­day.) It has widely been seen as the best-pic­ture fron­trun­ner since win­ning the au­di­ence award at the Toronto In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val. While Moonlight is brac­ingly in­ti­mate, the song-and-dance La La Land is a starry, show-stop­ping crowd-pleaser.

La La Land is also likely to dom­i­nate in sheer num­ber of nom­i­na­tions, thanks to its lead per­for­mances, high-level of craft and orig­i­nal songs. It was hon­ored by the LA crit­ics for the mu­si­cal work of Justin Hur­witz, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul.

The only film that has ri­valed ei­ther in the early awards is Ken­neth Lon­er­gan’s Manch­ester by the Sea. The Na­tional Board of Re­viewbestowed­its top awar­don the New Eng­land drama, and the film’s star, Casey Af­fleck, has been the most com­mon pick so far.

And de­spite a crowded bestac­tress field, in­clud­ing Stone for La La Land andNatalie Port­man for Jackie, the early fa­vorite has been French ac­tress Is­abelle Hup­pert, star of both Elle and Things to Come. She was the choice of the LA and New York crit­ics, as well as the Gotham In­de­pen­dent Film Awards.

Next week, the Golden Globe and Screen Ac­tors Guild nom­i­na­tions will be an­nounced, likely giv­ing the cur­rent fa­vorites ad­di­tional mo­men­tum.

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