The 2020-2021 awards season is now beginning to pick up, as the New York Film Critics Circle has announced the winners of its annual awards. Made up of critics from newspapers, magazines, and online publications, the critics group dates back to 1935 and includes IndieWire’s own Eric Kohn, David Ehrlich, and Kate Erbland.
Taking the top prize, Best Film, is Kelly Reichardt’s “First Cow,” released theatrically in March before being pulled from theaters and rescheduled for a VOD release later in the year due to the pandemic. The rest of the winners cover a range of films, with “Da 5 Bloods” and “Never Rarely Sometimes Always” being the only two titles to score two separate wins: “Da 5 Bloods” won Best Actor for Delroy Lindo and Best Supporting Actor for Chadwick Boseman, while “Never Rarely Sometimes Always” won Best Screenplay for its writer-director, Eliza Hittman, and Best Actress for newcomer Sidney Flanigan.
Every other film honored won just one award: the prize for what many consider to be one of this year’s Oscar frontrunners, “Nomadland,” was Best Director for Chloé Zhao. Maria Bakalova won Best Supporting Actress for playing Borat’s daughter Tutar in “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm.” The “Small Axe” anthology collectively won the prize for Best Cinematography, with no one of those five films by Steve McQueen singled out. “Time” won Best Non-Fiction Film, “Bacurau” won Best Foreign-Language Film, and “The Forty-Year-Old Version” won Best First Film.
The NYFCC Awards mark the first major critics group to hand out accolades during an awards season that has shifted to follow the Academy Awards’ lead. The Oscars ceremony was pushed back two months.
Up until this point, the Gotham Award nominees have been announced and the European Film Awards handed out trophies virtually last week.
While the NYFCC is known for honoring major Oscar contenders, it also doles out praise for unconventional and beloved choices, like when the Safdie Brothers won Best Director for “Uncut Gems” or when it gave Best Actress to Regina Hall for “Support the Girls” in 2018.
The winner for Best Feature often goes on to be an Oscars heavyweight, with recent winners “The Irishman,” “Roma,” “Lady Bird,” and “La La Land” all earning Best Picture nominations.
The 2019 NYFCC winners that went on to take home Oscars are “Parasite” (which swept the Oscars with wins for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best International Feature, after winning NYFCC’s foreign-language award) and Best Supporting Actress winner Laura Dern (“Marriage Story”). NYFCC winners “I Lost My Body,” “Honeyland,” Joe Pesci (“The Irishman”), and Antonio Banderas (“Pain and Glory”) were nominated for Academy Awards after their wins.
Here is the full list of winners:
Best Film: “First Cow”
Best Director: Chloé Zhao, “Nomadland”
Best Screenplay: Eliza Hittman, “Never Rarely Sometimes Always”
Best Actress: Sidney Flanigan, “Never Rarely Sometimes Always”
Best Actor: Delroy Lindo, “Da 5 Bloods”
Best Supporting Actress: Maria Bakalova, “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”
Best Supporting Actor: Chadwick Boseman, “Da 5 Bloods”
Best Cinematography: “Small Axe” (All Films)
Best Non-Fiction Film: “Time”
Best Foreign Language Film: “Bacurau”
Best Animated Feature: “Wolfwalkers”
Best First Film: “The 40-Year-Old Version”
Special Award: Kino Lorber, “for their creation of Kino Marquee, a virtual cinema distribution service that was designed to help support movie theaters, not destroy them.”
Special Award: Spike Lee, “for inspiring the New York community with his short film ‘New York New York’ and for advocating for a better society through cinema.”