Nomadland and Saint Maud are the big winners at this year's London Critics' Circle Film Awards

Nomadland and Saint Maud are the big winners at this year's London Critics' Circle Film Awards

Frances McDormand in Nomadland

The stripped-back, online awards ceremony recognises female filmmakers and artists of colour

Broadcast live on their YouTube channel for the first time, the London Critics' Circle marked their 41st annual film awards with as glitzy an affair as current circumstances permit. Presenters were dressed in their finery, announcing the winners from their sometimes quite well-disguised homes and a number of impassioned acceptance speeches from British artists in particular helped lift our spirits.

Morfydd Clark winning British / Irish Actress of the Year in the first award of the evening kick-started a trend that would see one of her films, Saint Maud, pick up a further two prizes: the Philip French Award for Breakthrough British / Irish Filmmaker for first-time director Rose Glass, who also accepted Best British / Irish Film for her debut. Another notable British winner was Sarah Gavron's Rocks (which we at The List loved and awarded five-stars to), which bagged its young star Bukky Bakray the Young British / Irish Performer award, while its casting director Lucy Pardee picked up the prize for Technical Achievement.

Riz Ahmed not only won British / Irish Actor for his work on Sound of Metal and Mogul Mowgli but The Long Goodbye, in which he also stars, became British / Irish Short Film of the Year, an award accepted by its director Aneil Karia. In Ahmed's own speech he spoke of the challenges we all face right now and said, 'I hope people watching these films take some heart and some hope from them.'

Romania's Collective (five stars from us) was the winner of the Documentary prize, whilst another five-star List pick Another Round picked up Foreign Language Film of the Year. The latter's director Thomas Vinterberg spoke about how the film was inspired by a dark period in his life, and made us laugh when he said, 'In a time of confinement and death and bankruptcy, our film about four fat, drunken Danes dancing around exchanging body liquids and other liquids came in handy.'

Nomadland and Saint Maud are the big winners at this year's London Critics' Circle Film Awards

Mangrove

Winner of Supporting Actress of the Year, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm's Maria Bakalova dedicated her award to 'the many foreign artists that live and work in London' and shared her hopes for a more inclusive industry. Shaun Parkes, winner of Supporting Actor for Mangrove, to whom the win clearly meant a great deal, described how the role of Frank Crichlow was not only important for his career, but for his soul too. Mangrove's director Steve McQueen went on to win Director of the Year for his landmark work across the Small Axe anthology series, saying that, in this difficult time, 'the way people have responded to Small Axe has given me solace.'

Actor of the Year was poignantly won by the late Chadwick Boseman for his final performance, in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, and was accepted via video by his co-star Colman Domingo, who shared his experience of working with the actor and some of Boseman's own words: 'You have to cherish things in a different way when you know the clock is ticking,' he quoted him as saying.

And finally, perhaps the most significant winner of the night and the joint biggest, was another one of our five-star favourites, improvised US road movie Nomadland, which won Film of the Year, as well as the Screenwriter prize for its writer-director Chloé Zhao, and Actress of the Year for the great Frances McDormand. No speeches from them sadly, but a glass was raised by outgoing Film Section Chair Anna Smith to a truly incredible achievement.

London Critics' Circle Film Awards 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.

Rocks

  • 5 stars
  • 2019
  • UK
  • 1h 33min
  • 12A
  • Directed by: Sarah Gavron
  • Cast: Bukky Bakray, Kosar Ali, D'angelou Osei Kissiedu
  • UK release: 24 April 2020

Shola, aka Rocks (Bakray), lives with her mother Funke (Akinlude) and younger brother in East London. When Funke disappears, Rocks has to look after her younger brother. A richly-textured story of a modern teenager forced to grow up, with a joyful sense of female solidarity, and funny, moving and authentic portraits of…

Saint Maud

  • 4 stars
  • 2019
  • UK
  • 1h 24min
  • 15
  • Directed by: Rose Glass
  • Cast: Morfydd Clark, Jennifer Ehle, Lily Knight

Maud (Clark) is an obsessively religious nurse, working in palliative care for retired dancer Amanda (Ehle), whose uninhibited lifestyle sets Maud on edge. Impressive first feature from Glass, which turns into a surreal nightmare of loneliness and doom: barnstorming performances from Clark and Ehle set the screen on fire.

Another Round

  • 5 stars
  • 2020
  • Denmark
  • 1h 55min
  • 12A
  • Directed by: Thomas Vinterberg
  • Cast: Mads Mikkelsen, Thomas Bo Larsen, Lars Ranthe

Four high school teachers test the theory that all humans have deficient blood alcohol content, and should try to maintain a level of 0.5%.

Mogul Mowgli

  • 4 stars
  • 2020
  • UK, USA
  • 1h 30min
  • Directed by: Bassam Tariq
  • Cast: Riz Ahmed, Aiysha Hart, Kiran Sonia Sawar

Riz Ahmed plays a British-Pakistani rapper whose life spirals out of control when he succumbs to a debilitating illness, right on the cusp of his big break.

Mangrove

  • 5 stars
  • 2020
  • UK
  • 2h 4min
  • Directed by: Steve McQueen
  • Cast: Letitia Wright, Shaun Parkes, Malachi Kirby

Part of director Steve McQueen's anthology series Small Axe, which centres upon life in London's West Indian community in the '50s through to the '80s. Mangrove tells the story of the Notting Hill restaurant that becomes a site of resistance against police brutality committed against Black Londoners.

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

  • 3 stars
  • 2020
  • US
  • 1h 35min
  • 18
  • Directed by: Jason Woliner
  • Cast: Sacha Baron Cohen, Maria Bakalova
  • UK release: 23 October 2020

Lovers Rock

  • 5 stars
  • 2020
  • UK
  • 1h 8min
  • Directed by: Steve McQueen
  • Cast: Amarah-Jae St. Aubyn, Micheal Ward, Shaniqua Okwok

Part of director Steve McQueen's anthology series Small Axe, which centres upon life in London's West Indian community in the '50s through to the '80s. An evening at a house party in 1980s sets the scene, developing intertwined relationships against a background of violence, romance and music.

Education

  • 4 stars
  • 2020
  • UK
  • 1h
  • Directed by: Steve McQueen
  • Cast: Kenyah Sandy, Naomi Ackie, Daniel Francis

Part of director Steve McQueen's anthology series Small Axe, which centres upon life in London's West Indian community in the '50s through to the '80s. The coming of age story of 12-year-old Kingsley, who has a fascination for astronauts and rockets.

Alex Wheatle

  • 4 stars
  • 2020
  • UK
  • 1h
  • Directed by: Steve McQueen
  • Cast: Elliot Edusah, Sheyi Cole, Jonathan Jules

Part of director Steve McQueen's anthology series Small Axe, which centres upon life in London's West Indian community in the '50s through to the '80s.

Red, White and Blue

  • 4 stars
  • 2020
  • UK
  • 1h
  • Directed by: Steve McQueen
  • Cast: John Boyega, Steve Toussaint, Antonia Thomas

Part of director Steve McQueen's anthology series Small Axe, which centres upon life in London's West Indian community in the '50s through to the '80s. The true story of Leroy Logan, who at a young age saw his father assaulted by two policemen. This motivated him to join the Metropolitan Police and change their racist…

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom

  • 4 stars
  • 2020
  • US
  • 1h 34min
  • 15
  • Directed by: George C. Wolfe
  • Cast: Chadwick Boseman, Viola Davis, Glynn Turman

Film adaptation of August Wilson's play about a trailblazing blues singer and an ambitious horn player in her band.

Nomadland

  • 5 stars
  • 2020
  • US
  • 1h 48min
  • 12A
  • Directed by: Chloé Zhao
  • Cast: Frances McDormand, David Strathairn, Linda May, Charlene Swankie, Bob Wells

Chloé Zhao's Oscar-winning drama starring Frances McDormand, which follows a women who begins living as a modern day nomad across western United States after losing her job in the Great Recession.

Collective

  • 5 stars
  • 2019
  • Romania / Luxembourg
  • 1h 49min
  • 15
  • Directed by: Alexander Nanau

In 2015, a fire at Bucharests Colectiv club leaves 27 dead and 180 injured. Soon, more burn victims begin dying in hospitals from wounds that were not life-threatening. Then a doctor blows the whistle to a team of investigative journalists. One revelation leads to another as the journalists start to uncover vast health…