For the first time ever, The Boston Society of Film Critics kicks off the Year-End Awards Season.
Usually led by either the New York Film Critics Circle or the National Board of Review, the Awards Season of 2020 looks like it’ll be as different and funky as the calendar year itself with its unprecedented launch by the Boston Critics.
That said, the two films receiving top honors from the BSFC are likely to find favor from critics throughout the 2020 awards campaign. Nomadland was named Best Film while First Cow was cited as the Runner-Up. The directors for both movies — Chloé Zhao and Kelly Reichardt – were also honored, respectively, in the Best Director category.
Zhao’s Nomadland (which also won for Best Cinematography) is the microbudget indie starring Frances McDormand as an off-the-grid nomad in modern-day America. Playing in a small Oscar-qualifying run now, it’s slated to open wide in February.
Nomadland is more likely to be a player in the actual Oscar race than First Cow, a low-key Western indie set in the pre-San Francisco region of 1820. Reichardt’s latest slow-burn will probably see its accolades limited to critics but ignored by the industry.
In the acting awards, Anthony Hopkins positioned himself as an early Best Actor favorite for his turn as a man with Alzheimer’s in The Father, from first-time filmmaker and acclaimed playwright Floran Zeller, who was named Best New Filmmaker. Best Actress went to Sidney Flanigan, star of the Teen Abortion indie Never Rarely Sometimes Always.
The biggest and most pleasant surprise came in the Best Supporting Actor category. Paul Raci, a mostly-unknown actor, won for his turn as a deaf counselor in Sound of Metal (streaming now on Amazon Prime). It stars Riz Ahmed as a metal band drummer and recovering drug addict who struggles with his onset of deafness.
For Supporting Actress, Yuh-jung Youn was cited for her work in Minari, a 1980s-set story of Korean immigrants in rural Arkansas.
Raci hasn’t been appearing on many (if any) of the Oscar prediction lists that are made and updated by awards season gurus throughout Oscar race, but he deserves to be there. Hopefully more critics will honor Raci and boost his stock. (Ahmed won the BSFC’s Best Actor runner-up.)
While Netflix has major contenders like Mank and The Trial of the Chicago Seven in its slate, it was Charlie Kaufman’s bleak entry I’m Thinking of Ending Things that garnered multiple wins here, with Kaufman’s script cited as Best Screenplay and Robert Frazen for Best Film Editing.
The other big win for Netflix: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom – led by Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman in his final role – which took the Best Ensemble Cast prize. Based on the August Wilson play, Ma Rainey’s seems to be a lock for the Cast prize from the Screen Actors Guild as well. The Asian-led cast of Minari took runner-up honors.
Here’s the full list of winners and runners-up for the 2020 Boston Society of Film Critics Film Awards:
BOSTON SOCIETY OF FILM CRITICS
Best Film: Nomadland
Runner Up: First Cow
Best Director: Chloé Zhao, Nomadland
Runner Up: Kelly Reichardt, First Cow
Best Actor: Anthony Hopkins, The Father
Runner Up: Riz Ahmed, Sound of Metal
Best Actress: Sidney Flanigan, Never Rarely Sometimes Always
Runner Up: Julia Garner, The Assistant
Best Supporting Actor: Paul Raci, Sound of Metal
Runner Up: Brian Dennehy, Driveways
Best Supporting Actress: Yuh-jung Youn, Minari
Runner Up: Amanda Seyfried, Mank
Best Screenplay: I’m Thinking of Ending Things, Charlie Kaufman
Runner Up: First Cow, Kelly Reichardt and Jonathan Raymond
Best Ensemble Cast: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Runner Up: Minari
Best Animated Film: The Wolf House
Runner Up: Wolfwalkers
Best Non-English Language Film (awarded in memory of Jay Carr):, La llorona (dir. Jayro Bustamante), Guatemala
Runner Up: The Painted Bird (dir. Václav Marhoul), Czech Republic
Best Documentary: Collective
Runner Up: The Painter and the Thief
Best Cinematography: Nomadland, Joshua James Richards
Runner Up: Lovers Rock (Small Axe Anthology; Episode 2), Shabier Kirchner
Best Film Editing (awarded in memory of Karen Schmeer): I’m Thinking of Ending Things, Robert Frazen
Runner Up: Nomadland, Chloé Zhao
Best Original Score: Minari, Emile Mosseri
Runner Up: Mank, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross
Best New Filmmaker: Florian Zeller, The Father
Runner Up: Autumn de Wilde, Emma.
Click on links below for other Critics Group Awards and Guild Nominees that have been announced so far for the 2020 / 21 season: