The NYFCC announced the best films and performances of the year as awards season carries on.
The New York Film Critics Circle shook up the Oscar race on Friday, when the journalist collective named the best films and performances of the year.
Best Actress and Best Actor of 2021
Lady Gaga made her first significant stride in the hunt for Oscars attention, as the NYFCC deemed her the Best Actress of 2021 for her work in Ridley Scott’s House of Gucci. On the men’s side, Benedict Cumberbatch also earned his first significant trophy of the year, taking the Best Actor honor for his performance in Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog.
Oscar-buzzed Supporting Actor contender Kodi Smit-McPhee’s turn in Campion’s critically lauded Netflix dramaalso earned NYFCC support, ahead of what many pundits suspect could be a major year for the 25-year-old Australian star. Kathryn Hunter further scored for her supporting turn in Joel Coen’s The Tragedy of Macbeth.
Best Film went to Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s festival breakout Drive My Car, a three-hour dramatic epic that previously won Best Screenplay at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival.
Though it’s comprised of the city’s top journalists — including EW’s Leah Greenblatt and Joshua Rothkopf — the group shares no crossover with the Academy, but it’s widely considered to be a key cog in the pre-Oscars machine. Historically, it provides a visibility booster for esteemed projects seeking to break into the race at large or continuing the forward momentum of works that have already caught on elsewhere with industry voters.
Typically, the NYFCC shares several winners with the corresponding Oscars ceremony in a given year, namely recent Academy Award winners like Supporting Actress champions Laura Dern (Marriage Story) and Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk), and last year’s history-making Best Director victor Chloé Zhao (Nomadland).
Over the last 10 ceremonies, the NYFCC winner for Best Film has gone on to win or be nominated for the Best Picture Oscar eight times. Still, the group is also known for sometimes going rogue in key categories, like naming Kelly Reichardt’s First Cow as the best film of 2020.
The NYFCC’s 2021 winners fall at the end of the busiest week on the awards trail thus far, after Maggie Gyllenhaal’s The Lost Daughter swept the major categories at Monday’s Gotham Awards, while Paul Thomas Anderson’s period romance Licorice Pizza took top honors from the National Board of Review on Thursday.
See the full list of 2021 New York Film Critics Circle winners below
Best Film: Drive My Car (directed by Ryusuke Hamaguchi)
Best Director: Jane Campion — The Power of the Dog
Best Actor: Benedict Cumberbatch — The Power of the Dog
Best Actress: Lady Gaga — House of Gucci
Best Supporting Actor: Kodi Smit-McPhee — The Power of the Dog
Best Supporting Actress: Kathryn Hunter — The Tragedy of Macbeth
Best Screenplay: Paul Thomas Anderson — Licorice Pizza
Best Cinematography: Janusz Kamiński — West Side Story
Best Foreign Language Film: The Worst Person in the World (directed by Joachim Trier)
Best Documentary: Flee (directed by Jonas Poher Rasmussen)
Best Animated Film: The Mitchells vs. The Machines (directed by Michael Rianda)
Best First Film: The Lost Daughter (directed by Maggie Gyllenhaal)
Special Awards: Maya Cade (creator of the Black Film Archive), Diane Weyermann (of Sundance and Participant), and Marshall Fine (General Manager of the NYFCC)
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