After “Moonlight” took the top prize at the Gotham Independent Awards, “Manchester by the Sea” was awarded Best Film Tuesday by the National Board of Review.
These awards are voted on by a mixture of film academics, enthusiasts, and professionals. Their track record for predicting Academy Award Best Picture winners is not as solid as other award competitions. Last year, for example, the board gave the Best Film nod to “Mad Max: Fury Road” — while “Spotlight” went on to win Best Picture.
Past winners include films like “A Most Violent Year,” a movie that was ignored entirely by the Oscars.
Still, the “Manchester by the Sea” win confirms the highly acclaimed film will be a heavy contender for Oscar gold. The movie stars Casey Affleck as an uncle forced to look after his nephew when the boy’s father passes away. It holds a fresh rating of 97 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.
Affleck also walked away with Best Actor for the film, an award he received at the Gothams as well. Other major acting awards went to a variety of films.
Jeff Bridges took the Best Supporting Actor nod for the modern-day western “Hell or High Water,” and Amy Adams won Best Actress for the sci-fi flick, “Arrival,” currently in theaters. Best Supporting Actress went to Naomie Harris for “Moonlight.”
“Moonlight” also took home the Best Director prize for Barry Jenkins, while Kenneth Lonergan won Best Original Screenplay for “Sea.” Best Adapted Screenplay went to Martin Scorsese and Jay Cocks for the long-in-development “Silence,” a film about the persecution of Christians in the 17th century.
Other awards included Best Documentary, which was given to “O.J.: Made in America,” and Best Animated Feature, to “Kubo and the Two Strings.”
Further awards to come before the highly coveted Oscars include the Critics Choice Awards, the SAG (Screen Actors Guild) Awards, and the Golden Globes. Thus far, award season front-runners are the highly praised “Manchester by the Sea” and “Moonlight.”