Road drama Nomadland takes top prizes at London Critics’ Circle film awards

Laura Harding, PA Deputy Entertainment Editor

Oscar-tipped drama Nomadland was the big winner at the London Critics’ Circle film awards, where British horror Saint Maud also scored prizes.

The movie, directed by Chloe Zhao, stars Frances McDormand as a woman who embarks on a journey through the American West living in a van.

It was named film of the year at the virtual ceremony, while McDormand was named actress of the year and Zhao won screenwriter of the year.

Saint Maud, which stars Morfydd Clark as a palliative care nurse and recent convert to high Catholicism, had led the nominations – heading into the ceremony with eight nods.

It came away with three prizes – British/Irish Film of the Year, British/Irish actress of the year for Clark, and breakthrough British/Irish filmmaker for writer-director Rose Glass.

Chadwick Boseman, who died in August 2020 at the age of 43 following a battle with colon cancer, won actor of the year for blues drama Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, and his award was accepted with a video message from co-star Colman Domingo.

Maria Bakalova appeared virtually to accept the supporting actress of the year prize for her role as Borat’s daughter in the sequel Borat Subsequent Moviefilm.

Sarah Gavron’s coming of age story Rocks took two prizes, with lead actress Bukky Bakray named young British/Irish performer of the year and Lucy Pardee given the technical achievement award for casting.

Steve McQueen was named director of the year for Small Axe, his anthology of five films all set within London’s West Indian community from the late 1960s to the early 80s.

Shaun Parkes, who starred in the first instalment, Mangrove, won supporting actor of the year, while Riz Ahmed was named British/Irish actor of the year for his work in Sound Of Metal and Mogul Mowgli.

The short film that Ahmed wrote, produced and starred in, The Long Goodbye – directed by Aniel Karia, was named British/Irish short film of the year.

Documentary Collective, which follows journalists as they uncover healthcare fraud in the wake of a deadly nightclub fire in Bucharest, Romania, was named documentary of the year, while black comedy Another Round was named foreign-language film of the year.

Rich Cline, chair of the film section of the London Critics’ Circle, said: “As always, the critics have spread the love around among a range of films this year, particularly recognising female filmmakers and a diverse range of talent both behind and in front of the cameras.

“This year, our 160 members watched an unusually large number of films, both theatrical and streaming releases, and they’ve sifted out the best of the best for our awards.

“We look forward to holding a party in-person, and of course getting back into cinemas, as soon as it’s safe to do so.”

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