New York Film Critics Circle Spreads the Love

Why is this night different from all other [awards] nights? New York Magazine film critic and emcee for this annual awards fete David Edelstein had some answers about honoring the storytelling but Mark Ruffalo, on hand to present the Best Screenplay award to Kenneth Lonergan for "Manchester By the Sea," put it succinctly: the speeches are fresh. This being the beginning of the long slog to Oscars, everyone can let loose. And "Manchester"'s lead, Casey Affleck did, reading one-liners from negative reviews, especially from the night's emcee. Edelstein, for his part, was ruffled and began to praise Affleck for just about everything, until that wore thin. But it was all in good fun. Had the awards been televised as the Globes and Oscars are, this would have been a different night indeed.

Isabelle Huppert, on a roll starting with last month's Gothams, won Best Actress for her work in both "Elle" and "Things to Come," was gratified that the first such honor was bestowed upon Greta Garbo in 1935. Best Foreign Film went to "Toni Erdmann" and a man in creature suit--you have to see this comedy to get it-- appeared on stage to collect the prize along with director Maren Ade. Michelle Williams picked up an award for her work in "Manchester" and "Certain Women," and Mahershala Ali gave a dignified speech for Best Supporting Actor in "Moonlight."

It seemed that the night was divided between " Manchester" and "Moonlight" but ultimately belonged to Damien Chazelle and "La La Land." We first met Chazelle when his "Whiplash" was honored by the NYFCC at this same venue, Tao Downtown. When we asked about his next project, he said, "A musical set in L.A.," and we thought, good luck with that. Now he closed the night explaining his inspiration: "In movies, emotion can override logic much the way dreams can. It is important in our time to value love, art and dreams, whether or not the dreams come true."

A version of this post also appears on Gossip Central.