Film

London Critics name Steve McQueen Director of the Year for five Small Axe films

Steve McQueen was presented with Director of the Year for his five Small Axe films, while Shaun Parkes won Supporting Actor of the Year for the first drama in the collection, Mangrove. Riz Ahmed was named British/Irish Actor of the Year for his work in Sound of Metal and Mogul Mowgli. And the short that Ahmed wrote, produced and starred in, The Long Goodbye directed by Aniel Karia, was named British/Irish Short Film of the Year.

The improvised American road movie Nomadland won three top honours including Film of the Year, at the 41st London Critics’ Circle Film Awards, which were held in a virtual ceremony on Sunday night. The film’s lead Frances McDormand was named Actress of the Year, while writer-director Chloé Zhao won Screenwriter of the Year. Acclaimed British dramatic horror Saint Maud also won three awards: British/Irish Film of the Year, British/Irish Actress of the Year for Morfydd Clark, and Breakthrough British/Irish Filmmaker for writer-director Rose Glass.


Double winners included Sarah Gavron’s London coming-of-age drama Rocks, with lead actress Bukky Bakray named Young British/Irish Performer of the Year and Lucy Pardee given the Technical Achievement Award for casting.

The late Chadwick Boseman won Actor of the Year for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, and his award was accepted in a moving video message from costar Coleman Domingo. Maria Bakalova also appeared virtually to accept Supporting Actress of the Year for Borat Subsequent Moviefilm. In addition, Alexander Nanau’s journalistic documentary Collective won Documentary of the Year, while Thomas Vinterberg’s alcohol-infused black comedy Another Round was named Foreign-Language Film of the Year.

“As always, the critics have spread the love around among a range of films this year, particularly recognising female filmmakers and a diverse range of talent both behind and in front of the cameras,” said Film Section Chair Rich Cline. “This year, our 160 members watched an unusually large number of films, both theatrical and streaming releases, and they’ve sifted out the best of the best for our awards. We look forward to holding a party in-person, and of course getting back into cinemas, as soon as it’s safe to do so.”

The event was held on the Critics’ Circle’s YouTube channel for the first time, with awards presented by member critics who serve on the event’s organising committee and acceptance videos from almost all of the winners. An in-person celebration with nominees and winners is planned for later in the year along with long-time sponsors The May Fair Hotel and Audi.

Full list of winners:

FILM OF THE YEAR
Nomadland

FOREIGN-LANGUAGE FILM OF THE YEAR
Another Round

DOCUMENTARY OF THE YEAR
Collective

The Attenborough Award:
BRITISH/IRISH FILM OF THE YEAR
Saint Maud

DIRECTOR OF THE YEAR
Steve McQueen – Small Axe

SCREENWRITER OF THE YEAR
Chloé Zhao – Nomadland

ACTRESS OF THE YEAR
Frances McDormand – Nomadland

ACTOR OF THE YEAR
Chadwick Boseman – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

SUPPORTING ACTRESS OF THE YEAR
Maria Bakalova – Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

SUPPORTING ACTOR OF THE YEAR
Shaun Parkes – Mangrove

BRITISH/IRISH ACTRESS OF THE YEAR (for body of work)
Morfydd Clark – Eternal Beauty, Saint Maud

BRITISH/IRISH ACTOR OF THE YEAR (for body of work)
Riz Ahmed – Mogul Mowgli, Sound of Metal

The Philip French Award:
BREAKTHROUGH BRITISH/IRISH FILMMAKER
Rose Glass – Saint Maud

YOUNG BRITISH/IRISH PERFORMER
Bukky Bakray – Rocks

BRITISH/IRISH SHORT FILM
The Long Goodbye

TECHNICAL ACHIEVEMENT
Rocks – Lucy Pardee, casting

NB. Small Axe is a collection of five films: Alex Wheatle; Education; Lovers Rock; Mangrove; Red, White and Blue.

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