Horror film Saint Maud leads London Critics’ Circle film awards nominations

Horror film Saint Maud leads the nominations at the London Critics’ Circle film awards.

The movie, directed by Rose Glass, stars Morfydd Clark as a palliative care nurse and recent convert to high Catholicism.

It picked up eight nods including best film, director, screenwriter, actress, supporting actress and British/Irish film of the year, while Clark is also nominated for British/Irish actress for her body of work over the year.

The nominations are dominated by female writer-directors, with Sarah Gavron’s coming of age story Rocks in the running for six prizes and Chloe Zhao’s Nomadland, about a woman who embarks on a journey through the American West living in a van, nominated for five.

Emerald Fennell’s revenge thriller Promising Young Woman is nominated for four awards, alongside David Fincher’s black-and-white Hollywood biopic Mank, about the writing of Citizen Kane, and Sir Steve McQueen’s house-party drama Lovers Rock, from his Small Axe anthology.

Other works in the running for film of the year are reflective comedy About Endlessness; documentary Collective, which follows journalists as they uncover healthcare fraud in the wake of a deadly nightclub fire in Bucharest, Romania; Charlie Kaufman’s existential black comedy I’m Thinking of Ending Things; Guantanamo drama The Mauritanian and Minari, about a Korean family that moves to Arkansas to start a farm in the 1980s.

Chadwick Boseman, who died in August at the age of 43 following a battle with colon cancer, is nominated in the leading actor category for his role in blues drama Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and in the supporting actor category for his turn in Spike Lee’s Vietnam saga Da 5 Bloods.

He is nominated alongside Riz Ahmed for Sound of Metal, Anthony Hopkins – The Father, Delroy Lindo for Da 5 Bloods and Tahar Rahim for The Mauritanian in the best actor category.

His Ma Rainey co-star Viola Davis is nominated in the best actress category for her turn in the title role, and she will compete against Clark for Saint Maud, Vanessa Kirby for Pieces of a Woman, Frances McDormand for Nomadland and Carey Mulligan for Promising Young Woman.

Sir Steve, Glass and Zhao are all nominated for best director of the year, alongside Fincher for Mank and Kevin Macdonald for The Mauritanian.

Sir Steve is recognised for the Small Axe anthology as a whole, which was made up of five films all set within London’s West Indian community from the late 1960s to the early 80s.

More films released directly to streaming services were made eligible for awards this year as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, and the qualifying release dates were extended into March, as long as films had been screened in 2020 to critics or at festivals.

Rich Cline, chair of the Critics’ Circle film section, said: “This additional eligibility has put an extra strain on our members this year, watching more films than usual.

“And indeed we named 224 features across our ballots, out of which 49 were nominated.

“As always, there are some surprises that make our shortlists stand out, even in this year’s rather unusual awards season. And it’s great to see such a range of talent recognised, spread across genders, ethnicities and production budgets.”

The 41st London Critics’ Circle film awards will be presented virtually on February 7. A physical event will be held later in the year.