Late Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman has received a posthumous award from the New York Film Critics Circle (NYFCC).
Boseman won best supporting actor, for his final performance in the August Wilson adaptation Ma Rainey's Black Bottom on Friday. Boseman died in August from cancer at age 43.
The critics also gave out awards to Borat Subsequent Movie Film co-star Maria Bakalova for best supporting actress.
The NYFCC voted Kelly Reichardt's Western fable First Cow the best film of 2020, while also giving special honours to Spike Lee and the art-house distributor Kino Lorber for their roles in a movie year deeply marred by the pandemic.
The film critics, assembling virtually, gave its top award to First Cow, a delicate tale of friendship and capitalism in mid-1800s Oregon Territory. Reichardt's film, released in theatres in March just days before the onset of COVID-19 forced cinemas to close nationwide, hasn't been widely seen but remains one of the year's most critically acclaimed film. The Associated Press also named First Cow its No. 1 film.
Best actor went to Delroy Lindo for his performance as a Vietnam War veteran in Spike Lee's Da Five Bloods. Best actress was given to Sidney Flanigan who plays a Pennsylvania teenager who travels to New York for an abortion in Never Rarely Sometimes Always. Eliza Hittman, who wrote and directed the film, won best screenplay. Chloe Zhao, the filmmaker of Nomadland, took best director.
Spike Lee released two features in 2020 — Da Five Bloods and David Byrne's American Utopia — but he was given a special award for a three-minute short he released on Instagram New York New York, a brief documentary tribute to his home city, made during the pandemic's first wave.
The group's other special citation went to Kino Lorber for creating the virtual cinema service Kino Marquee, which shares proceeds with independent theatres closed by COVID-19. The critics pointedly said the honour was for a service "designed to help support movie theatres, not destroy them."
The New York Film Critics Circle Awards are usually part of a wave of critics group honours that can occasionally influence awards season. Such awards would typically be a drumbeat this time of year, but little is normal about this year's awards season. The Oscars and the Golden Globes, along with many other awards shows, postponed by about two months.
Other NYFCC picks include: Time for best non-fiction film; Bacurau for best foreign language film; The Forty-Year-Old Version for best first film; Wolfwalkers for best animated film; and the five-film anthology Small Axe for best cinematography.