'Moonlight' named best picture of 2016 by the National Society of Film Critics

“Moonlight,” the lush coming-of-age drama of a young black man grappling with his sexuality and a harsh upbringing amid the Miami drug war era, was named best film of 2016 by the National Society of Film Critics on Saturday.

Barry Jenkins, who adapted the screenplay from playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney’s unproduced drama school project "In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue,” was named best director. The film also won for supporting actor (Mahershala Ali) and cinematography.

“Moonlight” as best picture again outshone  “La La Land” and “Manchester by the Sea,” its two key rivals on the awards circuit. Both those films were named runners-up for the honor.

A major frontrunner this awards season, “Moonlight” dominated the Los Angeles Film Critics Assn. awards and earned multiple honors at the Gotham Independent Film Awards and the New York Film Critics Circle. The drama  is up for six Golden Globes on Sunday, including best motion picture in the drama category. 

“Manchester by the Sea” also took multiple awards. Acting honors went to Casey Affleck and Michelle Williams (best actor and best supporting actress, respectively) and the drama was named best screenplay. 

Isabelle Huppert was named best actress for her roles in “Elle” and “Things to Come.” 

Founded in 1966, the National Society of Film Critics elects its members from publications all over the country. 

Los Angeles Times film critic Justin Chang serves as its current chair. 

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gerrick.kennedy@latimes.com

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