Darkest Hour stands apart from more routine historical dramas.
The Alliance of Women Film Journalists, of which I am a member, announced the winners of their 2016 EDA awards, which are divided into three categories. The EDA "Best Of" Awards honor the work of both genders in the film community, while the EDA Female Focus Awards shine a spotlight on the achievements of women. There is also a third category called Special Mentions which including such honors as "Actress Defying Age and Ageism," which went this year to Annette Bening and Isabelle Huppert. It also includes awards for "Bravest Performance" (also awarded to Isabelle Huppert for "Elle"), and "Actress Most in Need Of A New Agent" (Jennifer Aniston for "Mother's Day" and "Office Christmas Party").
Barry Jenkins' marvelous coming-of-age drama, "Moonlight", which is poised to potentially make Oscar history next year, garnering EDA Awards in seven categories, including Best Film, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Ensemble Cast, Best Cinematography and Best Editing. "Machester by the Sea"'s Casey Affleck and "Moonlight"'s Mahershala Ali continued to dominate their respective categories by earning accolades for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor. Ruth Negga's beautifully understated performance in Jeff Nichols' "Loving" was honored with the Best Actress and Best Breakthrough Performance, while Viola Davis won Best Supporting Actress for her powerhouse performance in Denzel Washington's "Fences."
"Selma" director Ava DuVernay's acclaimed documentary, "13th," earned her three EDAs for Best Documentary, Best Female Director, and Outstanding Achievement by a Woman in the Film Industry. Kelly Reichardt won the Best Women Screenwriter prize for her ensemble film, "Certain Women," while Ginnifer Goodwin and Auli'i Cravalho won Best Animated Female for their vocal work as the heroines in Disney's "Zootopia" and "Moana," respectively.
“This year has brought heightened awareness of the impact movies and cinema culture have on setting our social norms,” states AWFJ founder and film critic Jennifer Merin. “The need for gender parity and greater diversity in the movie industry is patently clear. These goals are fundamental to AWFJ’s mission and core values. I'm thrilled that in our 10th anniversary awards season AWFJ members voted to honor such a diverse array of talent representing such a broad spectrum of perspectives, making the 2016 EDA Awards particularly relevant at a time when art – and film, in particular – must be the vanguard of social progress.”
The acronym "EDA" stands for "Excellent Dynamic Activism" and is a tribute to Merin's mother, actress Eda Reiss Merin.
Here is the full list of winners in all three categories:
AWFJ EDA ‘BEST OF’ AWARDS
Best Director (Female or Male)
Barry Jenkins for MOONLIGHT
Best Screenplay, Original
MANCHESTER BY THE SEA – Kenneth Lonergan
Best Screenplay, Adapted
MOONLIGHT – Barry Jenkins
13TH – Ava DuVernay
Ruth Negga in LOVING
Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Viola Davis in FENCES
Casey Affleck in MANCHESTER BY THE SEA
Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Mahershala Ali in MOONLIGHT
Best Ensemble Cast
MOONLIGHT – Yesi Ramirez, casting director
MOONLIGHT – Joi McMillion and Nat Sanders
MOONLIGHT – James Laxton
Best Non-English-Language Film
THE HANDMAIDEN – Park Chan-Wook
EDA FEMALE FOCUS AWARDS
Best Woman Director
Ava DuVernay for 13TH
Best Woman Screenwriter
Kelly Reichardt for CERTAIN WOMEN
Best Animated Female (Tie)
Judy (GInnifer Goodwin) in ZOOTOPIA
Moana (Auli'i Cravalho) in MOANA
Best Breakthrough Performance
Ruth Negga in LOVING
Outstanding Achievement by A Woman in The Film Industry
Ava DuVernay – For 13TH and raising awareness about the need for diversity and gender equality in Hollywood
EDA SPECIAL MENTION AWARDS
Actress Defying Age and Ageism (Tie)
Annette Bening in 20TH CENTURY WOMEN
Isabelle Huppert in ELLE and THINGS TO COME
Actress Most in Need Of A New Agent
Jennifer Aniston in MOTHER'S DAY and OFFICE CHRISTMAS PARTY
Isabelle Huppert in ELLE
Remake or Sequel That Shouldn't Have Been Made
For more information on the Alliance of Women Film Journalists, visit their official site.
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