LA Film Critics Awards: Steve McQueen’s ‘Small Axe’ Wins Best Picture, ‘Nomadland’ Is Runner-Up

Ryan Lattanzio
·3 min read

The voting for the Los Angeles Film Critics Association’s (LAFCA) best films and best performances of 2020 took place virtually on Sunday. The awards were announced via the group’s Twitter account. The top prizes went to Steve McQueen’s Amazon Prime Video anthology film series “Small Axe” for Best Picture, plus Best Director Chloé Zhao, Best Actor Chadwick Boseman (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”), and Best Actress Carey Mulligan (“Promising Young Woman”). See the full list below.

The LAFCA vote arrives on the heels of Friday’s New York Film Critics Circle announcements, which crowned Kelly Reichardt’s “First Cow” as the best film of the year, and Chloé Zhao as the best director of the year for “Nomadland.”

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These awards are a chance for voters to shine a light on under-appreciated gems, or throw support behind films already gaining steam in a long awards season ahead. With the Oscars delayed until April 25, there’s still plenty of time for new films, or even forgotten ones, to resurface and make an impact. As December winds to a close, critics will also be filing their year-end top 10 lists, another opportunity to bring attention to movies otherwise vulnerable to getting lost in the fray of bigger titles.

Last year’s big LAFCA prize went to Bong Joon Ho’s “Parasite,” and he also won best director. Those wins went on to repeat at the 2020 Academy Awards. LAFCA’s other winners last year included Antonio Banderas for Best Actor for “Pain and Glory,” and more idiosyncratic (but no less deserved) choice of Mary Kay Place for Best Actress for “Diane,” plus Song Kang Ho for Best Supporting Actor, “Parasite,” and Jennifer Lopez for Best Supporting Actress, “Hustlers.” In 2018, “Roma” took LAFCA’S Best Picture prize, with Debra Granik taking Best Director for “Leave No Trace.”

As previously announced for this year, the recipients of LAFCA’s 2020 Career Achievement award are Hou Hsiao-Hsien and Harry Belafonte. Meanwhile, legend Norman Lloyd is honored with the organization’s first-ever Legacy Award. LAFCA is led by Claudia Puig as president, with more than 60 other journalists comprising the voters.

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
“Small Axe,” Shabier Kirchner
Runner-Up: “Nomadland,” Joshua James Richards

BEST SCORE/MUSIC
“Soul,” Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross
Runner-Up: “Lovers Rock,” Mica Levi

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Glynn Turman, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”
Runner-Up: Paul Raci, “Sound of Metal”

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
“Mank,” Donald Graham Burt
Runner-Up: “Beanpole,” Sergey Ivanov

BEST EDITING
“The Father,” Yorgos Lamprinos
Runner-Up: “Time,” Gabriel Rhodes

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Youn Yuh-jung, “Minari”
Runner-Up: Amanda Seyfried, “Mank”

BEST ANIMATION
“Wolfwalkers”
Runner-Up: “Soul”

DOUGLAS EDWARDS EXPERIMENTAL FILM PRIZE
“Her Socialist Smile,” John Gianvito

BEST SCREENPLAY
“Promising Young Woman,” Emerald Fennell
Runner-Up: “Never Rarely Sometimes Always,” Eliza Hittman

BEST DOCUMENTARY
“Time”
Runner-Up: “Collective”

BEST ACTOR
Chadwick Boseman, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”
Runner-Up: Riz Ahmed, “Sound of Metal”

BEST ACTRESS
Carey Mulligan, “Promising Young Woman”
Runner-Up: Viola Davis, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”

BEST DIRECTOR
Chloé Zhao, “Nomadland”
Runner-Up: Steve McQueen, “Small Axe”

NEW GENERATION
Radha Blank, “The 40-Year-Old Version”

BEST PICTURE
“Small Axe”
Runner-Up: “Nomadland”

BEST FOREIGN-LANGUAGE FILM
“Beanpole”
Runner-Up: “Martin Eden”

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