The prestigious group of experts voted for their best films of the year and on Thursday (01Dec16) they awarded Manchester by the Sea and Moonlight three prizes apiece.

Casey Affleck was named Best Actor for his role in Manchester by the Sea, while his co-star Michelle Williams earned a Best Supporting Actress honour for her performance in both the Kenneth Lonergan drama and Certain Women, and filmmaker Lonergan claimed the Best Screenplay accolade.

For Moonlight, Barry Jenkins took home Best Director, Mahershala Ali won Best Supporting Actor, and James Laxton was praised for Best Cinematography.

However, both pictures missed out on the biggest honour of Best Film, which went to Damien Chazelle's La La Land, which was shut out of the main categories at America's National Board of Review Awards, released on Monday (28Nov16).

Meanwhile, Isabelle Huppert was chosen as Best Actress for Elle and Things to Come, and the Best Animated Film honour was awarded to Zootopia.

There was also Special Awards for Marin Scorsese's longtime editor Thelma Schoonmaker, and for the 25th anniversary restoration of Julie Dash's Daughters of the Dust.

The NYFCC's top picks are considered to be among the best indicators of the films destined for success at the Oscars, although in the last 20 years, only four of the organisation's Best Film winners have gone on to score the Best Picture Academy Award, including The Hurt Locker in 2009 and The Artist in 2012.

Last year's (15) Best Film honour went to Cate Blanchett's lesbian drama Carol, which was not nominated for the Best Picture Oscar.