Friday, June 21, 2024

Los Angeles Film Critics Give Best Picture to Small Axe, a Series of Five Films for TV Directed by Steve McQueen


Steve McQueen’s “Small Axe” is a series of five films made for British television. So the Los Angeles Film Critics decided they were, together, the Best Film of 2020. Chloe Zhao’s “Nomadland,” the actual best film of the year, was their runner up.

Well, it’s going to be that kind of year for the critics groups in various cities. Yesterday we had the New York Film Critics anoint “First Cow,” a very small kind of depressing film as their Best Picture. And so it goes.

The LA Film Critics made pretty good choices in the acting departments: Chadwick Boseman is Best Actor and Glynn Turman as Best Supporting Actor in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” I told you those two were going to clean up. The NY Film Critics put Boseman in Supporting. Go figure.

Carey Mulligan in the fascinating and entertaining “Promising Young Woman” is enlivened choice as Best Actress. They went for Youn Yuh-jung in “Minari” for supporting actress.

This means that “Small Axe”– comprising five films– had no acting prizes. Yet it was Best Picture. Please. “Small Axe” isn’t even eligible for the Oscars.

The movie I thought the LA Critics would go for, “Mank,” yielded one award, for Production Design.

“Time” won Best Documentary, as I predicted, and will win the Oscar. It will be the second movie in a row produced by Barack and Michelle Obama to win the Oscar for Best Doc. No kidding.

Best Picture


Runner-up: NOMADLAND

Best Director

Winner: Chloe Zhao, NOMADLAND

Runner-up: Steve McQueen, SMALL AXE

Best Actress

Winner: Carey Mulligan, PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN

Runner-up: Viola Davis, MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM

Best Actor

Winner: Chadwick Boseman, MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM

Runner-up: Riz Ahmed, SOUND OF METAL

Best Documentary

Winner: TIME


Best Screenplay

Winner: Emerald Fennell, PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN


Best Animation


Runner-up: SOUL

Best Supporting Actress

Winner: Winner: Youn Yuh-jung, MINARI

Runner-up: Amanda Seyfried, MANK

Best Supporting Actor

Winner: Glynn Turman, MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM

Runner-up: Paul Raci, SOUND OF METAL


Winner: Yorgos Lamprinos, THE FATHER

Runner-up: Gabriel Rhodes, TIME

Best Production Design

Winner: Donald Graham Burt, MANK

Runner-up: Sergey Ivanov, BEANPOLE

Best Music/Score

Winner: SOUL

Runner-up: LOVERS ROCK

Best Cinematography

Winner: SMALL AXE, Shabier Kirchner

Runner-up: NOMADLAND, Joshua James Richards

Best Foreign-Language Film


Runner-up: MARTIN EDEN

The Douglas Edwards Experimental Film Award

Winner: John Gianvito’s HER SOCIALIST SMILE

New Generation Award

Winner: Radha Blank, THE 40-YEAR-OLD-VERSION

Career Achievement Award

Hou Hsiao-Hsien

Harry Belafonte

Legacy Award

Norman Lloyd

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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