In a year largely marked by isolation and displacement, “Nomadland,” the nostalgic and melancholy film that explores these themes in its story about a woman living as a nomad after the recession a decade ago, has was named Best Picture of 2020 by the National Society of Film Critics.
“Nomadland” was a favorite as the critics group announced the recipients of its 55th annual awards on Saturday. Chloe Zhao, who wrote and directed the film, won Best Director, while Joshua James won Best Cinematography for his work on the drama. The film’s star Frances McDormand won Best Actress for her role as Fern, the homeless widow in her 60s who travels West in a van looking for a job.
Zhao was a critical favorite heading into the Oscars. Last month, she was named Best Director by the Los Angeles Film Critics Assn. and the New York Film Critics Circle when each group announced their 2020 awards. LAFC selected Steve McQueen’s “Small Axe” for Best Picture, while NYFCC presented the award to Kelly Reichardt’s “First Cow.”
Elsewhere in the acting categories, Maria Bakalova won Best Supporting Actress for her breakthrough (and headline-grabbing) performance in Sacha Baron Cohen’s “Borat Next Moviefilm,” in which she played the title character’s teenage daughter who accompanies Borat on his travels around the United States. Bakalova was also honored by the New York Critics Group.
The Best Actor award went to Delroy Lindo for his role in Spike Lee’s ‘Da 5 Bloods’ as a Vietnam War veteran who returns home with three other comrades to find the remains of their squad leader – played by Chadwick Boseman in one of his final performances – and reclaim the gold they left behind during the war. Boseman was a finalist for his role in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” Previously, Lindo won the NYFCC Best Actor award. And Paul Raci received the Society’s Best Supporting Actor award for his turn as the deafened counselor who runs a sober Midwestern home for deaf drug addicts in Darius Marder’s eloquent drama “Sound of Metal.”
Meanwhile, Eliza Hittman’s coming-of-age drama “Never Rarely Sometimes Always,” which tells the story of a teenage girl’s quest to get an abortion outside of her hometown where she needs of parental consent, won him the prize for best screenplay.
Last year, the company’s Best Picture award went to Bong Joon Ho’s “Parasite,” a dark comedy thriller about a family of con artists who hatch an intricate plan to sneak into a woman’s house. rich family. The film went on to win the Best Picture Oscar.
The national society, which has 60 members across the country, met virtually Saturday to determine the winners through its usual weighted ballot system. Any film released in the United States in 2020 was eligible – in a year in which release strategies changed due to the still-raging COVID-19 pandemic – including films that opened on the big screen or on streaming platforms.
The list of winners 2020:
Best picture: “Nomadic Land”
Director: Chloe Zhao, “Nomadland”
Script: Eliza Hittman, “Never Rarely Sometimes Always”
Cinematography: Joshua James, “Nomadland”
Actress: Frances McDormand, “Nomadland”
Actor: Delroy Lindo, “Da 5 Bloods”
Supporting Actress: Maria Bakalova, “Later Borat Film”
Supporting actor: Paul Raci, “The Sound of Metal”
Non-fiction film: “Time”
Film in foreign language: “Collective”
Film Heritage Awards: The society honored the Brattle Theater in Cambridge, Mass. Founded by Cyrus I. Harvey and Bryant N. Halliday, the small, single-screen movie theater has been an art house haven since 1953; Women Make Movies, the New York-based nonprofit media arts organization that supports female filmmakers and distributes their work; and Film Comment, currently on hiatus, the influential American film magazine founded in 1962.