'Moonlight,' 'Love & Friendship' Lead London Critics' Circle Film Awards Nominations

Moonlight
Barry Jenkins’s "Moonlight," a drama about a gay black man coming to terms with his sexuality, has won critical praise from Los Angeles, New York and now London. London Film Festival

London's film critics are as enamored with Moonlight, Barry Jenkins' quietly heartbreaking drama about a gay black man coming to terms with his sexuality, as their counterparts in New York and Los Angeles.

The film has tied with Love & Friendship for the most nominations at the 37th annual London Critics' Circle Film Awards, with seven nods apiece. This follows victories at the the New York and Los Angeles critics' film awards in early December, where Moonlight won best film at both ceremonies.

The Oscar favorite is nominated for film of the year and director of the year for Jenkins. Supporting actors Naomie Harris and Mahershala Ali also earned recognition.

Kate Beckinsale in Love & Friendship
Kate Beckinsale in "Love & Friendship." Curzon Artificial Eye

Love & Friendship, director Whit Stillman's sharp and acerbic adaptation of Jane Austen's 1794 novella Lady Susan (but taking its title from a different Austen book, somewhat confusingly), is up for film of the year and British/Irish film of the year. The film's lead, Kate Beckinsale, is up for the Actress of the Year and British/Irish Actress of the Year titles.

Speaking to Newsweek at the British Independent Film Awards earlier in the month, Jenkins said he was only just starting to become aware of his film's potency with awards voters. Moonlight is tipped for Oscars success in February.

Related: Watch Kate Beckinsale Talks Jane Austen, Her Surprising Career and Terrifying Social Media

"It would be immodest to not admit that I'm starting to be aware that some of these things are a possibility. It truly would be an honor just to be nominated," Jenkins said.

Rich Cline, vice-president of the London Critics' Circle film chapter and chair of the awards committee, told Newsweek, "The film should do really well, it should get a lot of attention. Our members see around 300-500 films a year and this film stood out for us."

Cline says Jenkins' film is, "beautifully written, directed and acted … it's dealing with a series of big issues, economic, racial and sexuality issues, in a way that's very personal without preaching a message."

Love & Friendship's success among the London Critics' Circle voters is more surprising. The modestly budgeted movie was a minor hit in the U.K. despite positive reviews from critics, particularly for Beckinsale's performance as cunning aristocrat Lady Susan Vernon.

Neither the movie nor Beckinsale were included in nominations for the likes of the Golden Globe Awards—a surprise to Cline.

"It's a rare Jane Austen adaptation that isn't stodgy. It's lively, funny. It's Kate Beckinsale's best performance ever," he says.

Other big contenders include Cannes Film Festival favorite Toni Erdmann, which has six nominations. La La Land, Manchester by the Sea and American Honey, which recently swept the British Independent Film Awards, each have five nominations.

The London Critics' Circle Film Awards take place on January 22.

London Critics' Circle Film Awards 2017—selected nominations:

Film of the Year
American Honey
Fire at Sea
I, Daniel Blake
La La Land
Love & Friendship
Manchester by the Sea
Moonlight
Nocturnal Animals
Son of Saul
Toni Erdmann

British/Irish Film of the Year
American Honey
High-Rise
I, Daniel Blake
Love & Friendship~
Sing Street

Actor of the Year
Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
Adam Driver, Paterson
Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge
Jake Gyllenhaal, Nocturnal Animals
Peter Simonischek, Toni Erdmann

Actress of the Year
Amy Adams, Arrival
Kate Beckinsale, Love & Friendship
Sandra Hüller, Toni Erdmann
Isabelle Huppert, Things to Come
Emma Stone, La La Land

Supporting Actor of the Year
Mahershala Ali, Moonlight
Tom Bennett, Love & Friendship
Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water
Shia LaBeouf, American Honey
Michael Shannon, Nocturnal Animals

Supporting Actress of the Year
Viola Davis, Fences
Greta Gerwig, 20th Century Women
Naomie Harris, Moonlight
Riley Keough, American Honey
Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea

Director of the Year
Maren Ade, Toni Erdmann
Damien Chazelle, La La Land
Barry Jenkins, Moonlight
Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea
László Nemes, Son of Saul

British/Irish Actor of the Year
Tom Bennett, Love & Friendship; Life on the Road
Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge; Silence
Hugh Grant, Florence Foster Jenkins
Dave Johns, I, Daniel Blake
David Oyelowo, A United Kingdom; Queen of Katwe

British/Irish Actress of the Year
Kate Beckinsale, Love & Friendship
Rebecca Hall, Christine
Naomie Harris, Moonlight; Our Kind of Traitor; Collateral Beauty
Ruth Negga, Loving; Iona
Hayley Squires, I, Daniel Blake

'Moonlight,' 'Love & Friendship' Lead London Critics' Circle Film Awards Nominations | Culture