Japanese drama ‘Drive My Car’ was named the best picture of 2021 during the 56th annual meeting of the National Society of Film Critics, held virtually on Saturday. As per The Hollywood Reporter, the society’s members voted virtually Saturday on the best in acting, direction, writing, cinematography and more from 2021’s onscreen and streaming US releases.
‘Drive My Car’ and ‘Wheel of Fortune’ and ‘Fantasy’s Ryusuke Hamaguchi was selected as best director, while Penelope Cruz won the best actor (female) for her performance in ‘Parallel Mothers’ and ‘Drive My Car’s Hidetoshi Nishijima won in the category of best actor. This year’s Film Heritage Award was bestowed on the late Bertrand Tavernier and Peter Bogdanovich, “distinguished critic-filmmakers who never lost their passion for other people’s movies and film history.”
The Hollywood Reporter confirmed that Maya Cade was also honoured as a winner of this year’s Film Heritage Awards for the Black Film Archive, “which expands knowledge of and access to Black films made between 1915 and 1979.” The society’s special citation for a film awaiting US distribution to Jean-Gabriel Periot’s documentary titled ‘Returning to Reims’.
The ceremony was dedicated to Morris Dickstein and Michael Wilmington, “two esteemed colleagues and longtime members” who wrote about movies in reviews, essays and books “with wit, warmth, passion and skill, and will both be deeply missed.” The organisation also announced that Liz Weis, who served as executive director of the National Society of Film Critics for 47 years, is stepping down.
Critic Justin Chang, who serves as the group’s chairman, tweeted the winners live via the @NatSocFilmCrix Twitter account. Here is the list of the winners:
1. Best picture: ‘Drive My Car’ Runners up: ‘Petite Maman’, ‘The Power of the Dog’
2. Best actor: Hidetoshi Nishijima for ‘Drive My Car’ Runners up: Benedict Cumberbatch for ‘The Power of the Dog’, Simon Rex for ‘Red Rocket’
3. Best actor (female): Penelope Cruz for ‘Parallel Mothers’ Runners up: Renate Reinsve for ‘The Worst Person in the World’, Alana Haim for ‘Licorice Pizza’
4. Best supporting actor (female): Ruth Negga for ‘Passing’ Runners up: Ariana DeBose for ‘West Side Story’, Jessie Buckley for ‘The Lost Daughter’
5. Best supporting actor: Anders Danielsen Lie for ‘The Worst Person in the World’ Runners up: Vincent Lindon for ‘Titane’, Mike Faist for ‘West Side Story’, Kodi Smit-McPhee for ‘The Power of the Dog’
6. Best director: Ryusuke Hamaguchi for ‘Drive My Car’, ‘Wheel of Fortune’ and ‘Fantasy’ Runners up: Jane Campion for ‘The Power of the Dog’, Celine Sciamma for ‘Petitite Maman’
7. Best screenplay: Ryusuke Hamaguchi and Takamasa Oe for ‘Drive My Car’ Runners up: Pedro Almodovar for ‘Paralell Mothers’, Paul Thomas Anderson for ‘Licorice Pizza’
8. Best Cinematography: Andrew Droz Palermo for ‘The Green Knight’ Runners up: Ari Wegner for ‘The Power of the Dog’, Sayombhu Mukdeeprom for ‘Memoria’
9. Best nonfiction film: ‘FLEE’ Runners up: ‘Procession’, ‘The Velvet Underground’
For the unversed, the vote meetings for the annual event were held at New York’s Film Society of Lincoln Center but due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the event was held virtually for the second year in a row and will not have an awards party. The previous year, Chloe Zhao’s highly acclaimed drama ‘Nomadland’ was NSFC’s best picture titleholder.