Gay film ‘Moonlight’ tops DFW Film Critics picks

MoonlightThe 20-plus members of the Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association (an organization for which I serve as vice president) tapped Moonlight —  the acclaimed indie film about being a gay black man in contemporary society — as their top film of 2016.

Moonlight was named best picture, best director Barry Jenkins and best supporting actor Mahershala Ali. The film also took the Russell Smith Award, named after the late gay film critic, which recognizes the best in low-budget or cutting-edge films.

It was followed in the voting for best picture with Manchester by the Sea, which won for best actor Casey Affleck and best screenplay; the musical La La Land (which opens in Dallas Friday), which also won for cinematography and score; the Texas-set Hell or High Water; Arrival; Jackie, about the former first lady in the wake of the presidential assassination in Dallas, which also won best actress for Natalie Portman; Loving; 20th Century Women; Hacksaw Ridge; and Silence.

Viola Davis took best supporting actress for her role in Fences, which comes out Christmas Day. Best documentary went to Tower, about the 50-year-old sniper attack in Austin; and Zootopia took best animated feature.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

And the winner is…

… Actually, the winners are. In a few different ways.

First, there are the nominees for the Golden Globe awards, which came out this morning. Among those in contention: Glenn Close and Janet McTeer for playing trans men in Albert Nobbs (look for a feature in Dallas Voice next week on that film), Leo DiCaprio for playing the gay FBI chief in J. Edgar, Kenneth Branagh for playing the bisexual Laurence Olivier in My Week with Marilyn, Christopher Plummer for playing a gay man who comes out late in life in Beginners, Rooney Mara for playing the bisexual investigator in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Jodie Foster as a mom in Carnage and Michael Fassbender as a sex addict in Shame. That’s a lot of gay for the Oscars… A lot of them are also winners of other awards from the National Board of Review, New York Film Critics and the Screen Actors Guild.

The other winner this week: Liz Mikel. I have to say, I take a little credit for being about the only local critic actually to like the world premiere of Lysistrata Jones (back when it was called Give It Up). Mikel was the only original cast member to move to the Broadway version, and the New York Times raved about the premiere last night, singling out Mikel for praise. Good for Liz, good for the Dallas Theater Center, good for everyone.


EDITOR’S NOTE: Liz Mikel actually isn’t the only Dallas cast member to make it to New York — Patti Murin, Lindsay Nicole Chambers and Katie Boren are also in the show.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones