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'Beale Street' is top winner at inaugural Greater WNY Film Critics Association awards

"If Beale Street Could Talk," the heartbreaking story of a young black couple fighting a wrongful imprisonment, was the top winner of the first Greater Western New York Film Critics Association awards. The movie from Oscar-winning director Barry Jenkins ("Moonlight") won five awards - Best Picture, Best Director (Jenkins), Best Supporting Actress (Regina King), Adapted Screenplay (Jenkins) and Editing (Joi McMillon and Nat Sanders). It has a tentative Buffalo-area opening of Jan. 11.

"Roma," Alfonso Cuarón's black-and-white love letter to his Mexico City home, won four awards including two for actress Yalitza Aparicio (Lead Actress and Debut Performance). It is currently streaming on Netflix.

The GWNYFCA is a new collective of Western New York-based film critics including print and online media. The awards were given in a weighted scale voting. (The Foreign Film category was a tie as a result of the votes for both titles being identical across all tie-breakers.) Nominees were restricted to films released theatrically in the United States during 2018. For full info, including all the nominees, visit

Here is the list of winners.

Best Picture: "If Beale Street Could Talk"

Best Foreign Film: (tie) "Burning" ("Beoning"), South Korea and "Roma" (Mexico)

Best Animated Film: "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse"

Best Documentary: "Minding the Gap"

Best Director: Barry Jenkins ("If Beale Street Could Talk")

Lead Actor: Ethan Hawke ("First Reformed")

Yalitza Aparicio, center, was honored twice for her role in "Roma" in the inaugural Greater Western New York Film Critics Association awards. (Photo by Carlos Somonte/Netflix)

Lead Actress: Yalitza Aparicio ("Roma")

Supporting Actor: Steven Yeun ("Burning")

Supporting Actress: Regina King ("If Beale Street Could Talk")

Original Screenplay: Boots Riley ("Sorry to Bother You")

Adapted Screenplay: Barry Jenkins ("If Beale Street Could Talk")

Best Cinematography: Alfonso Cuarón ("Roma")

Best Editing: Joi McMillon and Nat Sanders ("If Beale Street Could Talk")

Best Debut Performance: Yalitza Aparicio ("Roma")

Best Debut Director: Boots Riley ("Sorry to Bother You")


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