‘Nomadland’ voted best film by the National Society of Film Critics

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Chloe Zhao’s “Nomadland” has been named the best film of 2020 by the National Society of Film Critics, which conducted its annual vote at a virtual meeting on Saturday.

The film starring Frances McDormand as a woman hitting the road after tough economic times picked up a narrow victory over Kelly Reichardt’s “First Cow,” scoring 52 points to the runner-up’s 50. Zhao also won Best Director by a wide margin over Steve McQueen (“Small Axe”) and Reichardt, while McDormand won Best Actress and cinematographer Joshua James Richards also won. in its category.

The Best Actor award went to Delroy Lindo for “Da 5 Bloods” in a narrow win over Chadwick Boseman for “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” McDormand’s second was Viola Davis, also of “Ma Rainey”.

In the supporting categories, the NSFC went with more unexpected winners in Maria Bakalova for “Borat Later Moviefilm” and Paul Raci for “Sound of Metal.”

The screenplay award went to writer-director Eliza Hittman for “Never Rarely Sometimes Always.”

The documentary “Time” won the prize for the best non-fiction film, and another documentary, the Romanian film “Collective”, received the prize for the best foreign language film of the year.

This year, in a rule change prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic, any film released in 2020 in theaters or on streaming platforms was eligible for the awards.

The National Society of Film Critics is made up of 60 critics from across the country, although a handful chose not to vote if they hadn’t seen enough films. The organization was established in 1966 and for much of its history has made more idiosyncratic choices for its top awards than Oscar voters.

Last year’s pick of ‘Parasite’ was only the eighth time in 54 years that the NSFC and Oscars have agreed on Best Picture of the Year – but four of those eight matches have come in the course of of the past 11 years, with ‘The Hurt Locker’, ‘Spotlight’, ‘Clair de lune’ and ‘Parasite’. Other recent winners include ‘The Rider’, ‘Lady Bird’, ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’, ‘ Love” and “Goodbye to Language” by Jean-Luc Godard.

“Nomadland” win gives Zhao two wins for NSFC’s Best Image in the past three years, after “The Rider” in 2018. The second win ties him to Robert Altman, Clint Eastwood, Mike Leigh, David Lynch and Lars von Trier for the second most wins. (Ingmar Bergman has the most, with three.)

Voting took place on a weighted ballot system in which members rank their top three choices. Voting continues for as many rounds as necessary until a film receives the most points and is mentioned on the majority of ballots.

Rewards, with point totals:

Best Picture: “Nomadland” (52 points)
Finalists: “First cow” (50); “Never Rarely Sometimes Always” (41)
Best Director: Chloe Zhao, “Nomadland” (58)
Finalists: Steve McQueen, “Small Axe” (41); Kelly Reichardt, “First Cow” (30)
Best actor: Delroy Lindo, “Da 5 Bloods” (52)
Finalists: Chadwick Boseman, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” (47); Riz Ahmed, “The Sound of Metal” (32)
Best Actress: Frances McDormand, “Nomadland” (46)
Finalists: Viola Davis, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” (33); Sidney Flanigan, “Never Rarely Sometimes Always” (29)
Best Supporting Actor: Paul Raci, “The sound of metal” (53)
Finalists: Glynn Turman, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” (36); Chadwick Boseman, “Da 5 Bloods” (35)
Best Supporting Actress: Maria Bakalova, “Borat’s next film” (47)
Finalists: Amanda Seyfried, “Mank” (40); Youn Yuh-jung, “Minari” (33 years old)
Best Screenplay: Eliza Hittman, “Never Rarely Sometimes Always” (38)
Finalists: Jon Raymond and Kelly Reichardt, “First Cow” (35); Charlie Kaufman, “I Think About Ending Things” (29)
Best Cinematography: Joshua James Richards, “Nomadland” (47)
Finalists: Shabier Kirchner, “Lovers Rock” (41); Leonardo Simoes, “Vitalina Varela” (34)
Best Foreign Language Film: “Collective” (38)
Finalists: “Bacurau” (36), “Beanpole” (36), “Vitalina Varela” (32)
Best Non-Fiction Film: “Time” (46)
Finalists: “Town Hall” (28); “Collective” (22)
Film Heritage Award: Women make movies
Film Heritage Award: Movie commentary
Film Heritage Award: The Brattle Theater in Cambridge, MA

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