Damien Chazelle and Ezra Edelman named best by critics, Matthew Heineman set for Sundance

'La La Land' and 'O.J. Made In America' land critics' picks and 'City of Ghosts' prepares for its world premiere.

Superprime directors Damien Chazelle, Ezra Edelman, and Matthew Heineman have had a tremendous week, each being recognized for feature films that break new ground in storytelling.

The Broadcast Film Critics Association, the largest film critics group in the country, awarded Damien Chazelle’s dazzling comedy-drama La La Land an astonishing 12 nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay. The film leads all others at this year’s Annual Critics’ Choice Awards, which has one of the best track records in forecasting Oscar nominees and winners. “This year’s nominees showcase the best that Hollywood has to offer … we are so thrilled to be able to recognize these incomparable artists,” said BFCA President Joey Berlin.

La La Land’s dominance, as well as that of actors Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone who picked up nominations for their fantastic musical performances, place the original musical and its director as front runners for awards season. The winners will be revealed live at the Critics’ Choice Awards gala on Sunday, December 11.

Ezra Edelman’s O.J.: Made in America, which premiered at Sundance Film Festival and aired on ESPN mid-year, won four Critics’ Choice Awards. Edelman was recognized for the remarkable way in which his work tackled race and social justice in America, taking home Best Documentary and Best Director at the inaugural Documentary Awards.

The New York Film Critics Circle, an organization of New York-based film reviewers dedicated to honoring excellence in cinema, also awarded Best Film to Damien Chazelle’s La La Land and Best Documentary to Ezra Edelman’s O.J.: Made In America at their 2016 Awards this week.

Matthew Heineman, who last year won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature for his compelling film, Cartel Land will premiere his latest at the 2017 Sundance Film FestivalCity of Ghosts follows the extraordinary journey of a group of anonymous citizen journalists who banded together after their homeland was overtaken by ISIS. With unprecedented access, Heineman shows how they risk their lives to stand up against one of the greatest evils in the world today.

Heineman’s film was selected for its ability to “illuminate the ideas, people and events that shape the present day,” wrote Sundance. “The films in this year’s Festival show the human sides of issues, people and places we don’t often see. Independent filmmakers, with their fearless, bold perspectives, are challenging us to witness our world’s whole story. These artists, armed with their films, will lead us into the future,” John Cooper, Director of the Sundance Film Festival, said.