'Moonlight' triumphs at LA Film Critics Awards: Diverse Oscar nominee?

The latest accolades for the movie 'Moonlight' came at the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards, with the movie winning the best picture prize, among others. Will the movie be nominated at the Oscars and make the awards more diverse?

David Bornfriend/A24/AP
A scene from 'Moonlight,' starring Trevante Rhodes as Chiron.

The acclaimed film “Moonlight” scored more awards-season recognition when it won best picture, best director, and best supporting actor at the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards. 

“Moonlight” is the story of a Chiron, a gay, African-American man coming of age in Miami. Three actors portray Chiron as the character ages: Alex R. Hibbert, Ashton Sanders, and Trevante Rhodes. Costars include Mahershala Ali, Janelle Monáe, and Naomie Harris. 

At the LAFCA Awards, “Moonlight” won the best picture award, the best cinematography prize, the best director award for Barry Jenkins, and the best supporting actor prize for Mr. Ali.

The movie also won best feature at the Gotham Awards. 

Other winners at the LAFCA Awards include Isabelle Huppert, who won the best actress award for the films “Things to Come” and “Elle”; Adam Driver, who won the best actor award for “Paterson”; Lily Gladstone, who won the best supporting actress prize for “Certain Women”; and Efthymis Filippou and Yorgos Lanthimos, who won the best screenplay award for the film “The Lobster.”

As for “Moonlight,” Monitor film critic Peter Rainer gave the movie a B grade, writing that “too often ‘poetic’ in ‘Moonlight’ becomes ‘precious,’ ” but praised the movie’s actors, writing that “full-out, richly layered acting need not clash with the mood, as triumphantly demonstrated by Ali, Harris, [André] Holland, and Monáe. There may not be a better quartet of performances in a single movie this year.”  

Industry watchers are seeing “Moonlight” as a strong Oscars contender. If, for example, Ali is nominated for best supporting actor, the Oscar nominees will be more diverse than they were for the past two years, when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences nominated only white actors for all the acting prizes.

Oscar nominations will be announced on Jan. 24.

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