The Seattle Film Critics Society (“SFCS”) announced the winners in 20 categories for the 2020 Seattle Film Critics Society Awards on Monday, February 15, 2021.
Chloé Zhao’s Nomadland proved the big winner this year, landing five awards, including Best Picture of the Year. The film, documenting one woman’s turn to a modern-day nomadic lifestyle following the 2008 economic recession, also earned Zhao the Best Director award and a win for Best Film Editing. Frances McDormand was named Best Actress in a Leading Role, while Joshua James Richards’ work behind the camera secured a win for Best Cinematography.
“As we continue to encounter challenges with COVID-19, movies have become more accessible to audiences. A movie like Nomadland is as beautiful and emotionally resonant as any film in recent memory,” said SFCS President Erik Samdahl. “Nomadland highlights how, though we may be more physically apart from one another, a sense of community and knowing we are not alone in the world can bring us all together.”
Lee Isaac Chung’s Minari, a semi-autobiographical drama about a Korean-American family’s pursuit of “The American Dream” in 1980s Arkansas, led all films with eight nominations, winning three SFCS awards: Best Film Not in the English Language, Best Youth Performance, honoring 7-year-old Alan Kim’s role as David, the family’s youngest child often tasked with dealing with his eccentric grandmother, played by Best Supporting Actress recipient Yuh-jung Youn.
Riz Ahmed was named Best Actor for his powerful work as Ruben in Sound of Metal, portraying a punk rock drummer forced to deal with the rapid onset of hearing loss and changes in his life he seemingly cannot control.
Daniel Kaluuya’s blistering work as civil rights activist Fred Hampton in Judas and the Black Messiahearned him the Best Supporting Actor prize.
Emerald Fennell’s Promising Young Womanearned the first-time writer/director the Best Screenplay award. Christopher Nolan’s Tenetearned two awards for Best Action Choreography and Best Visual Effects.
Jon Bois’ unique and innovative 220-minute YouTube documentary The History of the Seattle Mariners: Supercut Editionwon the Best Documentary Feature prize. Bois’ collaboration with writer and producer Adam Rubenstein received wide acclaim from sports and non-sports fans alike.
Other winners include: Wolfwalkers, which won Best Animated Feature; Soulfor Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross and Jon Batiste’s genre-bending Original Score; Da 5 Bloodsfor Best Ensemble Cast; Mank for Best Production Design; and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottomfor Best Costume Design.
The Villain of the Year was awarded to the title character in The Invisible Man, portrayed (in human form) by Oliver Jackson-Cohen.
After formation in the fall of 2016, The Seattle Film Critics Society officially became a non-profit organization in 2017, with a membership now consisting of 31 film critics, representing print, broadcast, podcasting, and online film criticism. This year’s awards are the fifth to be held under the banner of the SFCS, honoring the best films and performances of the year.
The full list of recipients of the 2020 Seattle Film Critics Society Awards are as follows:
The 2020 Seattle Film Critics Society Winners
Best Picture of the Year
- Nomadland (Searchlight Pictures)
- Chloé Zhao – Nomadland
Best Actor in a Leading Role
- Riz Ahmed – Sound of Metal
Best Actress in a Leading Role
- Frances McDormand – Nomadland
Best Actor in a Supporting Role
- Daniel Kaluuya – Judas and the Black Messiah
Best Actress in a Supporting Role
- Yuh-jung Youn – Minari
Best Ensemble Cast
- Da 5 Bloods – Kim Coleman, casting director
Best Action Choreography
- Promising Young Woman – Emerald Fennell
Best Animated Feature
- Wolfwalkers – Tomm Moore, Ross Stewart, director
Best Documentary Feature
- The History of the Seattle Mariners: Supercut Edition – Jon Bois, director
Best Film Not in the English Language
- Minari – Lee Isaac Chung, director
- Nomadland – Joshua James Richards
Best Costume Design
- Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom – Ann Roth
Best Film Editing
- Nomadland – Chloé Zhao
Best Original Score
- Soul – Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, Jon Batiste
Best Production Design
- Mank – Donald Graham Burt (Production Design); Jan Pascale (Set Decorator)
Best Visual Effects
- Tenet – Andrew Jackson, Andrew Lockley, Scott Fisher, Mike Chambers
Best Youth Performance (18 years of age or younger upon start of filming):
- Alan Kim – Minari
Villain of the Year:
- The Invisible Man/Adrian Griffin – The Invisible Man – portrayed by Oliver Jackson-Cohen
Jacob is a film critic and co-founder of the Music City Drive-In. He is a member of the Music City Film Critics’ Association and specializes in the awards season. You can find him on Twitter @Tberry57.