"La La Land" earned the best picture prize at the Critics Choice Awards, which kicked off awards show season a bit earlier than usual Sunday night.
Other big winners included Casey Affleck for best actor for "Manchester by the Sea" and Natalie Portman for her role as Jacqueline Kennedy in "Jackie."
Viola Davis was honored with the first-ever #SEEHER Award, which is an outgrowth of an effort to eliminate bias against women in entertainment.
The "How to Get Away With Murder" star remarked in an emotional acceptance speech that "it's hard to accept being a role model for women when you're trying to lose weight." Davis said she has overcome her initial apprehension of the taking on the role in the ABC drama because she thought she would have to conform to preconceived notions of body image and style.
"I truly believe that the privilege of a lifetime is being who you are, and I just recently embraced that at 51," said Davis, who also won an award for her supporting work in the film "Fences."
"Silicon Valley" star T.J. Miller hosted for the second straight year and avoided discussing his Friday night arrest. Police say Miller slapped a car service driver on the head after remarks about President-elect Donald Trump.
The awards were moved up by a month from its traditional mid-January slot. The move gave them an edge over the Golden Globes, which announces nominees Monday and hands out its trophies on Jan. 8.
The big winners at the show include:
IN THE FILM CATEGORIES
— "La La Land" for best picture.
— Casey Affleck for best actor for his lead role in "Manchester by the Sea."
— Natalie Portman for best actress for her lead role in "Jackie."
— Mahershala Ali for his supporting role in "Moonlight."
— Viola Davis for her supporting role in "Fences"
IN THE TELEVISION CATEGORIES
— Courtney B. Vance for his "The People v. O. J. Simpson" role as Simpson attorney Johnnie Cochran.
— Donald Glover as lead actor in a comedy series for his role in "Atlanta."
— Thandie Newton as supporting actress in a drama series for her role in the "Westworld."