This week’s reviews by TFCA critics, including Alita: Battle Angel, Isn’t It Romantic? and Trouble in the Garden.
The TFCA names Moonlight the Best Film of 2016
December 12, 2016
Capping a year in which issues of race and gender loomed large, the Toronto Film Critics Association has awarded Best Picture to Moonlight, by American director Barry Jenkins, a lyrical and nuanced coming-of-age story about a gay African-American male coming to terms with his sexuality. The film was also honoured with a Best Supporting Actor Award for Mahershala Ali.
The awards were voted by TFCA members at a meeting on Sunday, December 11, 2016.
The TFCA, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary, gave its Best Director Award to German filmmaker Maren Ade for her epic father-daughter comedy, Toni Erdmann. The film, due to be released in Canada early in the new year, won the most prizes, also taking Best Foreign Language Film and Best Actress for Sandra Hüller.
Best Actor went to Adam Driver as a bus-driving poet in Jim Jarmusch’s Paterson.
Writer-director Kenneth Lonergan’s elegiac drama, Manchester by the Sea, won two awards—Best Screenplay and Best Supporting Actress for Michelle Williams.
Meanwhile, the Canadian Tire Allan King Documentary Award, which comes with a $5,000 cheque, went to Cameraperson, an innovative documentary memoir directed by New York cinematographer Kirsten Johnson.
Zootopia, a satirical tale of a world run by animals directed by Byron Howard and Rich Moore, was named the year’s Best Animated Feature.
The membership also chose the three finalists for the Rogers Best Canadian Film Award: How Heavy This Hammer, directed by Kazik Radwanski; Operation Avalanche, directed by Matt Johnson, and The Stairs, directed by Hugh Gibson (who was also one of two runners-up for the documentary award). The winner will be named at the TFCA Awards Gala, to be held at The Carlu in Toronto January 10, 2017.
The winner of the Stella Artois Jay Scott Prize for an emerging artist, to be announced at a later date, will be presented with a $5,000 cheque at the gala.
As previously announced, the 2016 recipient of the Technicolor Clyde Gilmour Award is Alanis Obomsawin, the veteran NFB filmmaker of such landmark films as Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance. She will present Amanda Strong (Four Faces of the Moon, Indigo, Mia), a young filmmaker of her choice, with $50,000 worth of services from Technicolor at the gala.
The 2016 TFCA Awards Gala will be co-hosted by Cameron Bailey, Artistic Director of the Toronto International Film Festival, and performer extraordinaire Mary Walsh. There the TFCA will reveal the winner of the Rogers Best Canadian Film Award, which carries a record-setting $100,000 cash prize, the richest film award in the country. The runners-up will each receive $5,000.
At the gala the TFCA will also present director Denis Villeneuve with the 20th Anniversary Special Award for Excellence, recognizing his record win of three Rogers Best Canadian Film Awards (for Polytechnique, Incendies and Enemy), and saluting his extraordinary success in making original and powerful films within the Hollywood system without compromising his independent vision.
“This year’s winning films not only signalled themes of diversity,” said TFCA President Brian D. Johnson, “they represented a wide diversity of filmmaking styles. Moonlight, Manchester by the Sea, and Toni Erdmann run the gamut from grim drama to riotous comedy, yet they all are highly original films that take radical departures from convention.”
(Under the TFCA’s guidelines, contenders eligible for the awards include films released in Canada in 2016 plus films that qualify for the 2016 Oscars and have Canadian distribution scheduled by the end of February 2017.)
The TFCA is extremely grateful to founding sponsor Rogers Communications Inc. and Labatt’s for the Stella Artois Jay Scott Prize for an emerging artist and welcomes new sponsors, Canadian Tire and Taxi. Thanks to returning sponsors Cineplex, Technicolor Creative Services, Globe and Mail, Shangri-La Hotel Toronto, Birks and Ontario Media Development Corporation.
The TFCA Awards gala will take place in the historic art-deco Round Room at The Carlu, with cuisine provided by chef Christopher Palik, Executive Chef, O&B and The Carlu. A cocktail reception sponsored by Cineplex will precede the dinner and awards ceremony.
The Toronto Film Critics Association was established in 1997 and is comprised of Toronto based journalists and broadcasters who specialize in film criticism and commentary. All major dailies, weeklies and a variety of other print, electronic and web outlets are represented. Members of the TFCA also participate in the Federation of International Film Critics (FIPRESCI). As such, they have sat on juries at festivals in Cannes, Berlin, Venice, Toronto, Montreal, Miami, Palm Springs, Chicago, Pusan, Moscow, Amsterdam, London and Vienna, among others.
The full list of 2016 Toronto Film Critics Association Awards winners and runners-up:
“Moonlight” (Elevation Pictures)
“Manchester by the Sea” (Mongrel Media)
“Toni Erdmann” (Mongrel Media)
Adam Driver, “Paterson” (Mongrel Media)
Casey Affleck, “Manchester by the Sea”
Peter Simonischek, “Toni Erdmann”
Sandra Hüller, “Toni Erdmann”
Rebecca Hall, “Christine” (The Orchard)
Isabelle Huppert, “Elle” (Mongrel Media)
Natalie Portman, “Jackie” (Fox Searchlight)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Mahershala Ali, “Moonlight”
Ralph Fiennes, “A Bigger Splash” (Elevation Pictures)
Michael Shannon, “Nocturnal Animals” (Focus Features)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Michelle Williams, “Manchester by the Sea”
Viola Davis, “Fences” (Paramount)
Naomie Harris, “Moonlight”
Maren Ade, “Toni Erdmann”
Damien Chazelle, “La La Land” (Entertainment One)
Barry Jenkins, “Moonlight”
BEST SCREENPLAY, ADAPTED OR ORIGINAL
“Manchester by the Sea” by Kenneth Lonergan
“Moonlight” by Barry Jenkins
“Toni Erdmann” by Maren Ade
BEST FIRST FEATURE
“The Witch” directed by Robert Eggers (Elevation Pictures)
“The Edge of Seventeen” directed by Kelly Fremon Craig (VVS Films)
“Swiss Army Man” directed by Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (D Films)
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
“Zootopia” (Walt Disney Animation Studios)
“The Red Turtle” (A-Z Films)
“Kubo and the Two Strings” (Focus Features)
BEST FOREIGN-LANGUAGE FILM
“Elle” (Mongrel Media)
“The Handmaiden” (Mongrel Media)
CANADIAN TIRE ALLAN KING DOCUMENTARY FILM AWARD
“Cameraperson” (Films We Like)
“Fire at Sea” (Films We Like)
“The Stairs” (Midnight Lamp Films)
ROGERS BEST CANADIAN FILM AWARD FINALISTS
“How Heavy This Hammer” directed by Kazik Radwanski (MDFF)
“Operation Avalanche” directed by Matt Johnson (Entertainment One)
“The Stairs” directed by Hugh Gibson (Midnight Lamp Films)