Nomadland and Saint Maud are the big winners at this year's London Critics' Circle Film Awards
- Emma Simmonds
- 8 February 2021
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.'
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
FOREIGN-LANGUAGE FILM OF THE YEAR
DOCUMENTARY OF THE YEAR
The Attenborough Award:
BRITISH/IRISH FILM OF THE YEAR
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
Rocks - Lucy Pardee, casting
NB. Small Axe is a collection of five films: Alex Wheatle; Education; Lovers Rock; Mangrove; Red, White and Blue.