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In awards announced Tuesday by the National Board of Review, Manchester by the Sea also took best actor for Casey Affleck’s lead performance, best screenplay for Lonergan’s script and best supporting actor for the breakout performance by Lucas Hedges.
Best supporting actor went to Jeff Bridges for his retiring sheriff in Hell or High Water.
The National Board of Review, a collection of film enthusiasts and academics founded in 1909, is one of the country’s oldest such groups. Without significant ties to the movie industry, their awards — known for spreading around the love to attract a room-full of celebrities — hold little influence on Hollywood’s awards season. But they’re a regular stop on the road to the Academy Awards.
Manchester by the Sea is seen as a favourite this year, in a field also crowded by La La Land, Moonlight and Denzel Washington’s upcoming Fences. Later this week, the New York Film Critics Circle and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association will ring in with their picks.
Recent NBR top winners have been somewhat eccentric. Mad Max: Fury Road, A Most Violent Year and Her were named best feature the last three years, none of which prevailed in the best picture categories at either the Academy Awards or Golden Globes.