It's been a tough year for the movie business. Obviously, the COVID-19 pandemic affected every aspect of American life in 2020, but it posed particular problems for the distribution of new films. Many big movies were shelved until next year, while others were put on VOD or streaming services that were not equally accessible to all viewers. Nonetheless, there were still several acclaimed films and performances released this year, and the New York Film Critics Circle — made up of the city's top film journalists and critics, including EW’s Leah Greenblatt — rewarded some of the best during its annual prize-giving ceremony on Friday. Da 5 Bloods and Never Rarely Sometimes Always each won multiple awards, while Kelly Reichardt's First Cow took home the top prize.
Would the Borat sequel have gotten awards attention in another year? There's no way to know for sure, but NYFCC did give its Best Supporting Actress honor to Maria Bakalova for her work on Borat Subsequent Moviefilm. Even those who didn't watch the movie (an Amazon Prime streaming original) probably heard about Bakalova's performance, because whole news cycles were generated by her scenes with Rudy Giuliani.
Da 5 Bloods swept the male acting awards, with Delroy Lindo winning Best Actor for his acclaimed performance as a troubled Vietnam veteran and the late Chadwick Boseman winning Best Supporting Actor for one of his last performances, as Lindo's comrade who never left Vietnam. Nomadland's Chloé Zhao beat out New York's own Spike Lee for the Best Director award, but Lee got a Special Award for "inspiring the New York community with his short film New York New York and for advocating for a better society through cinema." This means that both the Best Film and Best Director honors went to movies directed by women (are you listening, Academy?).
Abortion drama Never Rarely Sometimes Always scored two wins, for Best Actress (Sidney Flanigan) and Best Screenplay (Eliza Hittman). Shabier Kirchner's work on all five of Steve McQueen's Small Axe films — Mangrove, Lovers Rock, Red White and Blue, Alex Wheatle, and Education, all now streaming on Amazon Prime — earned the Best Cinematography award.
Check out the full list of winners below.
Best Film: First Cow
Best Director: Chloé Zhao — Nomadland
Best Actor: Delroy Lindo — Da 5 Bloods
Best Actress: Sidney Flanigan — Never Rarely Sometimes Always
Best Supporting Actor: Chadwick Boseman — Da 5 Bloods
Best Supporting Actress: Maria Bakalova — Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
Best Screenplay: Eliza Hittman — Never Rarely Sometimes Always
Best Cinematography: Small Axe (all films)
Best Foreign Language Film: Bacurau
Best Nonfiction Film: Time
Best Animated Film: Wolfwalkers
Best First Film: The 40-Year-Old Version
Special Award: Spike Lee
For more on our Entertainers of the Year and Best & Worst of 2020, order the January issue of Entertainment Weekly or find it on newsstands beginning Dec. 18. Don’t forget to subscribe for more exclusive interviews and photos, only in EW.