Japanese film “Drive My Car” named best film

Ryusukue Hamaguchi’s “Drive My Car” was named Best Picture of 2021 by the New York Film Critics Circle, which announced its winners in New York on Friday.

The choice came as a real surprise at the end of an awards announcement that had been dominated by Jane Campion’s “The Power of the Dog”, which won awards for director Campion, lead actor Benedict Cumberbatch and the supporting actor Kodi Smit-McPhee.

“Drive My Car”, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in July, is a three-hour drama about a theater director and the young woman who is hired to drive him when he travels to Hiroshima to direct a production of ” Uncle Vanya “. “

Lady Gaga won the Best Actress award for her work in Ridley Scott’s “House of Gucci”.

In the Supporting Actress category, the group had a surprise winner, Kathryn Hunter for “The Tragedy of Macbeth”. Hunter, a British stage artist known for her physique, plays the Three Witches (plus an old man) in Shakespeare’s tragedy and contorts her body into strange bird shapes to do so.

Joachim Trier’s “The Worst Person in the World” was named Best Foreign Language Film of the Year, while Jonas Poher Rasmussen’s animated documentary “Leak” was named Best Non-Fiction Film. The Netflix animated feature “The Mitchells vs. the Machines ”won the Best Animated Feature category.

Maggie Gyllenhaal’s “The Lost Daughter”, which topped the Gotham Awards on Monday, was named best first feature of the year.

“Licorice Pizza” won the award for screenplay, while “West Side Story” won the award for cinematography.

Three special awards were also nominated: to Maya Cade for the creation of the Black Film Archive; to the late Diane Weyermann, who was honored for “supporting the making of bold and impactful films” at Sundance and Participant; and to Marshall Fine for his years of service as Managing Director of NYFCC.

While it is risky to take the critics’ awards as a true indicator of what might win top prizes once Academy and industry voters start voting, the good performance of “The Power of the Dog “was important, as it did a day after the film was completely excluded from the National Board of Review vote. “Drive My Car,” while a strong contender for a Best International Feature Oscar nomination, is unlikely to have much success as a Best Picture nominee.

The NYFCC, which likes to position itself as “a principled alternative to Oscar”, has awarded its first prize to the same film as the Oscars 30 times in its 86-year history, but only four times in this century, and not since “The Artist” won both awards in 2011. The last five NYFCC winners were “La La Land,” “Lady Bird,” “Roma” and “The Irishman,” all of which received multiple Oscar nominations. , including Best Picture and last year’s. winner, “First Cow,” who became the first NYFCC winner in history to be completely ignored by the Academy.

Of the 11 categories in which the two groups awarded awards, the only one of last year’s NYFCC winners to win the Oscar was director Chloe Zhao for “Nomadland.”

The New York Film Critics Circle was founded in 1935 and is the oldest group of film critics in the country. It consists of 50 members, with Stephanie Zacharek of Time Magazine as chair.

The NYFCC plans to hold its annual gala dinner on January 10 at Tao Downtown, if the pandemic permits.

The winners:

Best film: “Drive my car”
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 scenario: “Licorice Pizza”
Best fiction film: “To flee”
Best animated film: “The Mitchells against the Machines”
Best Foreign Language Film: “The worst person in the world”
Best first film: “The lost girl”
Best photography: “West Side Story”
Special price: Maya Cade for the creation of the Black Film Archive
Special price: Diane Weyermann, posthumous award for her support of making bold and impactful films at Sundance and Participant
Special price: Marshall Fine, for his years of service as Managing Director of NYFCC and decades in the New York film scene

Marie A. Evans