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National Board of Review Names ‘Manchester By the Sea’ Best Film of 2016, Other Winners Include ‘Moonlight’ and ‘Arrival’

Barry Jenkins picked up Best Director, while acting accolades went to Casey Affleck and Amy Adams. Plus, the group's ten best films of the year.

“Manchester by the Sea”

Roadside Attractions/Amazon Studios

The National Board of Review has named Kenneth Lonergan’s heartbreaking drama “Manchester By the Sea” the best film of 2016, while also awarding the filmmaker the Best Original Screenplay award for his script. Star Casey Affleck also pulled in the Best Actor win, while Amy Adams was awarded Best Actress for her turn in “Arrival.”

Best Director was awarded to Barry Jenkins for his indie favorite “Moonlight,” while his star Naomie Harris was given the Best Supporting Actress win. Another indie standout, “Hell or High Water,” earned a Best Supporting Actor win for Jeff Bridges. “Manchester” standout Lucas Hedges picked up the Breakthrough Performance (Male) accolade, while “The Fits” star Royalty Hightower picked up the Female version of the award.

READ MORE: National Board of Review Wins For ‘Manchester’ Can Mean Oscar Momentum, But It’s Not a Lock — Analysis

Other big awards were handed out to “Kubo and the Two Strings” for Best Animated Feature, Asghar Farhadi’s “The Salesman” for Best Foreign Language Film, and Ezra Edelman’s “O.J.: Made in America” for Best Documentary. The NBR also announced their list of top films for the year, including “Arrival,” “Hacksaw Ridge,” “Hail, Caesar!,” “Hell or High Water,” “Hidden Figures,” “La La Land,” “Moonlight,” “Patriots Day,” “Silence,” and “Sully.”



Paramount Pictures

As is typically the case come awards season, the NBR — a 107-year-old organization comprised of “knowledgeable film enthusiasts and professionals, academics, young filmmakers and students” — is coming out strong during the first real week of big time votes, nominations, and awards. Hot on the heels of last night’s Gotham Awards (and just before Critics Choice nominations and New York Film Critics Circle awards, coming later this week), the National Board of Review has issued their annual awards, including Best Film of the year, their top 10 list, and picks for both documentaries and foreign films, along with acting, writing, directing, and crafts accolades.

READ MORE: Here’s What Stallone, Matt Damon, and the NBR Teach Us About Awards Season

Last year, the organization awarded Best Film of the year to George Miller’s “Mad Max: Fury Road” and Best Director to Ridley Scott for his work on “The Martian,” though neither film duplicated those lauds at Oscar time. Acting accolades were awarded to Brie Larson for “Room” — a turn that eventually earned the actress her first Oscar — and Matt Damon for his starring role in “The Martian.”

Other winners that went on to Oscar glory included “Inside Out” for Best Animated Feature, “Amy” for Best Documentary,” and “Son of Saul” for Best Foreign Language Film. While some of the organization’s other big picks, including supporting nods to Sylvester Stallone in “Creed” and Jennifer Jason Leigh in “The Hateful Eight,” did result in Oscar nominations, neither actor ultimately picked up any hardware on Academy Awards night.

How will the NBR picks fare as awards season winds on? Only time will tell.

READ MORE: Gotham Awards 2016: Complete Winners List

Below is a full list of this year’s NBR awards:

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”

"Kubo and the Two Strings"

“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”

Top Films
“Hacksaw Ridge”
“Hail, Caesar!”
“Hell or High Water”
“Hidden Figures”
“La La Land”
“Patriots Day”



Top 5 Foreign Language Films
“The Handmaiden”
“Land of Mine”

Top 5 Documentaries
“De Palma”
“The Eagle Huntress”
“Life, Animated”
“Miss Sharon Jones!”

Annette Benning in 20th Century Women

“20th Century Women”


Top 10 Independent Films
“20th Century Women”
“Captain Fantastic”
“Creative Control”
“Eye in the Sky”
“The Fits”
“Green Room”
“Hello, My Name is Doris”
“Morris from America”
“Sing Street”

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