Drive My Car: Japanese Film Sweeps National Society of Film Critics Awards

‘Drive My Car’ Best Picture by National Society of Film Critics (NSFC)

The society’s members voted virtually Saturday on the best in acting, direction, writing, cinematography and more from 2021’s onscreen and streaming U.S. releases.

The National Society of Film Critics named Drive My Car as its best picture of 2021 during the 56th annual meeting, which was held virtually on Saturday.

Drive My Car and Wheel of Fortune Ryusuke Hamaguchi was selected as best director, while Penélope Cruz won best actress for her performance in Parallel Mothers and Drive My Car‘s Hidetoshi Nishijima won in the category of best actor.

Due to Drive My Car winning best picture, the group did not vote on a best foreign-language film prize this year.

The society’s special citation for a film awaiting U.S. distribution to Jean-Gabriel Périot’s documentary Returning to Reims.

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.”

“Both crowned their careers with invaluable chronicles of their engagement with the cinema: Tavernier with the books 50 Years of American Cinema and American Friends, and Bogdanovich with the books Who the Devil Made It and Who the Hell’s In It?” the society shared on Twitter.

Maya Cade was also honored 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.”

This year, the NSFC dedicated their ceremony 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.”

They also announced that Liz Weis, who served as executive director of the National Society of Film Critics for 47 years, is stepping down.

“For her decades of extraordinary leadership and tireless service, we owe her an immeasurable debt.” the NSFC tweeted.

Critic Justin Chang, who serves as the group’s chairman, tweeted the winners live via the @NatSocFilmCrix Twitter account.

Typically, vote meetings are 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.

Previous year’s winners include Chloé Zhao’s drama Nomadland and Bong Joon Ho’s black comedy thriller Parasite have been among the NSFC’s recent best picture winners.

Founded in 1966, the NSFC features 59 elected and eligible members from major papers and outlets across the country including The Wall St. JournalThe L.A. Times, The New Yorker, Financial Times, Christian Science Monitor and NPR. The society annually honors the best in acting, direction, writing, cinematography and more across onscreen and streaming releases in the U.S.

Best picture: Drive My Car
Runners up: Petitie Maman
The Power of the Dog

Best actor: Hidetoshi Nishijima, Drive My Car
Runners up: Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power of the Dog
Simon Rex, Red Rocket

Best actress: Penélope Cruz, Parallel Mothers
Runners up: Renate Reinsve, The Worst Person in the World
Alana Haim, Licorce Pizza

Best supporting actress: Ruth Negga, Passing
Runners up: Ariana DeBose, West Side Story
Jessie Buckley, The Lost Daughter

Best supporting actor: Anders Danielsen Lie, The Worst Person in the World
Runners up: Vincent Lindon, Titane
Mike Faist, West Side Story
Kodi Smit-McPhee, The Power of the Dog

Best director: Ryusuke Hamaguchi, Drive My Car and Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy
Runners up: Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog
Céline Sciamma, Petitite Maman

Best screenplay: Ryusuke Hamaguchi and Takamasa Oe, Drive My Car
Runners up: Pedro Almodóvar, Paralell Mothers
Paul Thomas Anderson, Licorice Pizza

Best cinematography: Andrew Droz Palermo, Green Knight
Runners up: Ari Wegner, The Power of the Dog
Sayombhu Mukdeeprom, Memoria

Best nonfiction film: FLEE
Runners up: Procession
The Velvet Underground