The New York Film Critics Circle has announced its winners for the Best of 2020. Kelly Reichardt’s “First Cow” won Best Picture, “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” actress Maria Bakalova won for Best Supporting Actress, Delroy Lindo from “Da 5 Bloods” won for Best Actor and Chadwick Boseman posthumously won Best Supporting Actor for “Da 5 Bloods” (but not for “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”).
Chloé Zhao won Best Director on behalf of her film “Nomadland.” “Never Rarely Sometimes Always” picked up two awards, one for Best Director Eliza Hittman and another for Best Actress Sidney Flanigan. The Brazilian film “Bacurau” won the prize for Best Foreign Language Film. All five films in Steve McQueen’s “Small Axe” anthology were honored collectively for Best Cinematography. “Wolfwalkers” won Best Animated Film. Radha Blank’s “The Forty Year Old Version” won Best First Film. And the documentary “Time” won Best Non-Fiction Film.
For its Special Awards, the New York Film Critics even took a veiled shot at streaming services like HBO Max, awarding a prize to Kino Lorber for its rollout of the virtual cinema platform Kino Marquee and calling it “a virtual distribution service that was designed to help support movie theaters, not destroy them.” The critics also awarded Spike Lee a special award for “inspiring the New York community with his short film ‘New York New York’ and for advocating for a better society through cinema.”
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Last year, the New York Film Critics Circle awarded its Best Picture prize to Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman,” which went on to collect 10 Oscar nominations. At the same time, the NYFCC has proven more eclectic in its taste than other awards bodies in the long road for awards season, and the group has not agreed on the eventual Academy Award Best Picture winner since “The Artist” in 2011.
The NYFCC made a point this year to not delay the voting on its annual awards, as other awards bodies have done in response to the coronavirus — specifically with many following the Oscars’ lead by delaying their ceremonies by two months. The NYFCC said that only movies released in theaters or on digital platforms between the 2020 calendar year of Jan. 1 to Dec. 31 would be considered, so that may have knocked a handful of potential Oscar contenders out of contention as they wait for theatrical releases in the winter. Dec. 18, however, is still later than the group usually votes on its awards.
With COVID-19 also affecting many film critics’ jobs, membership for 2020 was frozen this year — with all current members still eligible to vote — and no new members were voted in this year.
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The New York Film Critics Circle was founded in 1935 and features Time magazine critic Stephanie Zacharek as 2020 chairman, Jordan Hoffman as vice chair and Marshall Fine as NYFCC general manager. It also includes critics from TheWrap, The Hollywood Reporter, Variety, Vox, Indiewire, Entertainment Weekly and many more.
A full list of winners in all categories announced Friday is below:
Best Film: “First Cow”
Best Director: Chloé Zhao, “Nomadland”
Best Actor: Delroy Lindo, “Da 5 Bloods”
Best Actress: Sidney Flanigan, “Never Rarely Sometimes Always”
Best Supporting Actor: Chadwick Boseman, “Da 5 Bloods”
Best Supporting Actress: Maria Bakalova, “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”
Best Screenplay: Eliza Hittman, “Never Rarely Sometimes Always”
Best Nonfiction Film: “Time”
Best Animated Feature: “Wolfwalkers”
Best Foreign-Language Film: “Bacurau”
Best First Film: “The Forty Year Old Version”
Best Cinematography: “Small Axe” (All Films)
Special Award: Kino Lorber, for their creative use of Kino Marquee, a virtual 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