LOS ANGELES •La La Land, a musical love story of two struggling artists set in Los Angeles, swept the top prizes at the Critics' Choice Awards on Sunday, taking Best Picture and Best Director for Damien Chazelle.
It won in eight of the 11 categories in which it was nominated, cementing its status as an early front-runner in the Hollywood awards season. But its stars, Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, lost out in the acting categories.
Casey Affleck won Best Actor for his role as the reluctant guardian of a 16-year-old nephew in Manchester By The Sea while Natalie Portman grabbed Best Actress for her portrayal of former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy in Jackie, which blends factual events with fiction in depicting the week after the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
Viola Davis' reprisal of her Broadway role as a concerned mother and wife in the film adaptation of August Wilson's play, Fences, garnered her the Best Supporting Actress award. Mahershala Ali won Best Supporting Actor for his depiction of a crack dealer in the drama Moonlight.
Accolades were also given to the top television series and stars in several categories. The People V O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story was recognised as the Best Movie Made For Television or Limited Series.
The awards are chosen by the more than 300 members of the Broadcast Film Critics Association. Comedian T.J. Miller hosted the ceremony at the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica.
Although its members are not usually part of the same guilds that pick nominees and winners for most of Hollywood's awards shows, the critics' awards help to build the buzz for potential Oscar front-runners.
Critics were expecting La La Land to lead the pack again when the Golden Globe nominations were announced at dawn yesterday in Beverly Hills (last night in Singapore).