The Southeastern Film Critics Association, including Asheville members Edwin Arnaudin, Chip Kaufmann, Michelle Keenan, Tony Kiss, and Marcianne Miller, have chosen Moonlight as the best film of 2016.

Writer/director Barry Jenkins’ poetic depiction of a gay black man as a child, teenager and adult earned multiple awards from the group, including Best Supporting Actor for Mahershala Ali, Best Ensemble, Best Adapted Screenplay and a tie for Best Director with Damien Chazelle of La La Land.

Moonlight was also the runner-up in the categories for Best Supporting Actress for Naomie Harris, Best Cinematography and the Wyatt Award for the Spirit of the South.

“At a time when expensive, heavily-marketed ‘popcorn movies’ dominate the cultural conversation about cinema, the ability of a small, quiet and personal film like ‘Moonlight’ to break through can give film fans hope for the future,” association president Curt Holman said in a written news release.

Casey Affleck won Best Actor for his performance as a grieving handyman returning to his hometown under tragic circumstances in Manchester by the Sea. Natalie Portman won Best Actress for her turn as First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy dealing with her husband’s assassination in Jackie. Viola Davis won Best Supporting Actress for Fences, reprising a role for which she’d already received a Tony Award for her Broadway performance.

The association’s 25th annual awards saw ballots from 53 members, all film journalists working in print, radio and on-line media in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.

TOP TEN FILMS, as chose by the Southeastern Film Critics Association
1. Moonlight
2. Manchester by the Sea
3. La La Land
4. Hell or High Water
5. Loving
6. Arrival
7. (Tie) Fences and Jackie
8. Nocturnal Animals
9. Hidden Figures

BEST ACTOR
Winner – Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea)
Runner-up – Denzel Washington (Fences)

BEST ACTRESS
Winner – Natalie Portman (Jackie)
Runner-up – Ruth Negga (Loving)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Winner – Mahershala Ali (Moonlight)
Runner-up – Jeff Bridges (Hell or High Water)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Winner – Viola Davis (Fences)
Runner-up – Naomie Harris (Moonlight)

BEST ENSEMBLE
Winner – Moonlight
Runner-up – Manchester by the Sea

BEST DIRECTOR
Winner (tie) – Damien Chazelle (La La Land)
Winner (tie) – Barry Jenkins (Moonlight)

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Winner – Manchester by the Sea
Runner-up – Hell or High Water

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Winner – Moonlight
Runner-up – Arrival

BEST DOCUMENTARY
Winner – I Am Not Your Negro
Runner-up – OJ: Made in America

BEST FOREIGN-LANGUAGE FILM
Winner – The Handmaiden
Runner-up – Elle

BEST ANIMATED FILM
Winner – Zootopia
Runner-up – Kubo and the Two Strings

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Winner – La La Land
Runner-up – Moonlight

The GENE WYATT AWARD
Winner – Loving
Runner-up – Moonlight

Image link for Moonlight.

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