Critics Choice Awards 2021: Nominations in All Categories

Critics Choice Favor ‘Mank’ and ‘News of the World,’ while Dealing Blows for ‘The Father’

News of the World

Universal Pictures
The nominations for the 26th annual Critics Choice Awards, which will be held March 7, were announced by the Critics Choice Association (of which I’ve been a member for 23 years).

In the best picture category, which has 10 slots, most of the usual suspects made the cut: NomadlandThe Trial of the Chicago 7MinariMa Rainey’s Black BottomOne Night in MiamiSound of MetalDa 5 Bloods and Mank.

Mank led the field with an impressive 12 noms, most in the technical categories.

But whereas AFI opted for Judas and the Black Messiah and Soul, those were bounced here by News of the World and Promising Young Woman. And once again, The Father and Tenet are MIA.

There is virtually no overlap between the memberships of the CCA and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Judas was, however, among the six nominees for best ensemble. The other five being the same titles nominated for the SAG Award, Da 5 BloodsMa RaineyMinariOne Night in Miami and Trial.

The 10 best picture Critics Choice nominees have some strong support from the directing and screenplay categories.

All seven best director nominees — three of whom are women — directed best picture nominees. The only best picture nominees not up for best director are Ma RaineyNews and Sound of Metal.

Among the 12 screenplay nominees, six adapted and six original, all best picture nominees are represented except for Da 5 Bloods. (The only films up for screenplay but not picture at Never Rarely Sometimes Always on the original side — not Judas or Soul, notably — are The Father and First Cow on the adapted side.)

The individual acting categories at the Critics Choice Awards bizarrely vary in size, ostensibly due to ties. For instance, both supporting categories have six slots, lead actress has seven and lead actor, in something of an absurdity, has eight.

The eight lead actor nominees were all expected to score: top-tier contenders Chadwick Boseman (Ma Rainey), Riz Ahmed (Sound of Metal) and Anthony Hopkins (The Father); Da 5 Bloods‘ Delroy Lindo (rebounding from inexplicable Globe and SAG misses), Mank‘s Gary OldmanMinari‘s Steven Yeun.

Two A-listers are getting on the board for the first time this season, The Way Back‘s Ben Affleck and News of the World‘s Tom Hanks.

This is not great news for the longer shots, like Golden Globe nominees Sacha Baron Cohen (Borat Subsequent Moviefilm) Tahar Rahim (The Mauritanian), or Mads Mikkelsen (Another Round).

There were some interesting choices among the seven actresses. The slam-dunks were Frances McDormand (Nomadland), Viola Davis (Ma Rainey) and Carey Mulligan (Promising Young Woman), who have been nominated for everything. Vanessa Kirby (Pieces of a Woman) was, expectedly, right up there with them. But then what?

CCA voters gave big boosts to The United States vs. Billie Holiday standout Andra Day, hot on the heels of Golden Globe nom; Zendaya, the leading lady of Malcolm & Marie, which was another late release; and most notable of all, Sidney Flanigan, the 22-year-old newcomer who rocked Never Rarely Sometimes Always en route to the best actress New York Film Critics Circle Award.

The supporting categories both panned out pretty much according to the odds — at least as the odds existed before the Globe and SAG noms both bestowed noms on The Little Things‘ Jared Leto and News of the World‘s Helena Zengel.

The supporting actor field was filled out by Trial‘s Cohen, One Night in Miami‘s Leslie Odom, Jr.Judas‘ Daniel Kaluuya and On the Rocks‘ Bill Murray — the other Globe nominees — plus Boseman for Da 5 Bloods (the only person to score multiple noms on the film side) Paul Raci for Sound of Metal.

At this point, things aren’t looking good for Nomadland‘s David StrathairnOne Night in Miami‘s other supporting hopeful, Eli Goree; any of the Bloods supporting actors other than Boseman; any of the Trial cast — all of whom are being pushed as supporting players — other than Cohen; or any of the Ma Rainey supporting actors at all.

Supporting actress, meanwhile, remains the most perplexing of the four acting categories this year. Borat Subsequent Moviefilm‘s Maria BakalovaHillbilly Elegy‘s Glenn Close and The Father‘s Olivia Colman — all of whose performances received Globe and SAG noms, but none of whom seem like obvious Oscar winners — were again nominated here. So, too, were Globe nominee Amanda Seyfried (Mank) and SAG nominee Yuh-Jung Youn (Minari). And veteran Ellen Burstyn (Pieces of a Woman) rounded out the category, chosen over not only Zengel — which is weird given that voters liked News enough to nominate it for best picture — but also Globe nominee Jodie Foster (The Mauritanian) and Olivia Cooke (Sound of Metal).

I am pleased to report that 12-year-old Zengel was nominated for best young actor/actress — a category limited to talent under the age of 21 — and will compete for that prize against, among others, Never Rarely Sometimes Always‘ criminally under-recognized Talia Ryder, who is 18 and every bit as good in the film as Flanigan; and Minari‘s adorably mischievous grandson Alan Kim, who is seven.

The best foreign language film category is comprised of the same five titles as the corresponding Globes category — Minari (one of its formidable 10 noms, second only to Mank), Another RoundLa LloronaThe Life Ahead and Two of Us — plus Collective, a wonderful film that wasn’t eligible at the Globes because it is a documentary.

Another RoundCollectiveLa Llorona and Two of Us might be shortlisted for the Oscar when finalists are announced on Tuesday–they were the submissions of Denmark, Romania, Guatemala and France, respectively. Minari and The Life Ahead, however, will not be — neither was submitted for the prize, the former because it’s essentially a Korean-language American production and the latter because Italy opted to submit Notturno instead.

Which brings us to the music awards, original song and original score.

Four of the song nominees are repeats from the Globe noms: Judas‘ “Fight for You” by H.E.R., who performed “America the Beautiful” at Sunday’s Super Bowl; The Life Ahead‘s “Io Si,” via perennial contender Diane Warren; “Speak Now,” which Odom performs over the end-credits of One Night in Miami; and “Tigress & Tweed,” which Day performs in Billie Holiday. The other two nominees are “Husavik,” which is the marquee number in the Will Ferrell comedy Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga, and “Everybody Cries,” a deeply personal song about loss that was written by The Outpost‘s director Rod Lurie with Rita Wilson and Larry Groupe. They beat out Globe nominee “Hear My Voice” from Trial.

All five Globe-nominated scores were nominated again on Monday — Alexandre Desplat‘s for The Midnight SkyLudwig Goransson‘s for TenetJames Newton Howard‘s for News; and two by Trent Reznor and Atticus RossMank and Soul. The sixth? Emile Mosseri‘s for Minari.