‘Nomadland’ Wins Three Top Prizes from London Film Critics Circle


Like the New York Film Critics and the Oscars, the London Critics influence the BAFTAs.

The London Film Critics Circle are to the BAFTAs as the New York Film Critics Circle are to the Oscars — more influential than predictive. And the BAFTAs, which will announce nominations March 9 (their longlists are here), are quite predictive of the Oscars, which reveal their nominations six days later.

Clearly the LFCC, a group of 160 critics, adores smart horror flick “Saint Maud,” which won Breakthrough British or Irish Filmmaker for Rose Glass, and Best British or Irish Actress for Morfydd Clark (who beat Carey Mulligan in “Promising Young Woman”). But the London critics gave three top awards to American road movie “Nomadland,” which won Best Film and Screenplay for Chloé Zhao, and Actress for Frances McDormand.

Accepting Best Director for his Emmy-eligible “Small Axe” series from Amazon Studios, Steve McQueen said: “I’m trying to find out who we are, who we want to be, and who we could be. ‘Small Axe’ was a love letter to Black London and Black Britain.”

Best British or Irish Actor Riz Ahmed won for two independent films, “Sound of Metal” and “Mogul Mowgli.” “They are both stories about someone going through a health crisis who lands in purgatory and is forced to reassess what really matters,” he said, “which is what we are all going through right now.”

“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” star Colman Domingo accepted Best Actor for his costar, the late Chadwick Boseman, saying: “Working with him, I saw him put every ounce of love and joy, interrogation, spirit, and fight into Levee. He cherished every single moment and you see it in ‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.’ He gave you his heart and soul; he gave it everything he got.”

Romanian director Alexander Nanau’s “Collective,” nominated in three categories, won Best Documentary. “We’re living in a world,” he said, “where we have to be become more aware of the need for an independent press.”

Film of the Year


Director of the Year

Steve McQueen, “Small Axe”

Supporting Actress

Maria Bakalova, “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”

Supporting Actor

Shaun Parks, “Mangrove”


Chloé Zhao, “Nomadland”

Actress of the Year

Frances McDormand, “Nomadland”

Actor of the Year

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An Important British Film: Bryan Forbes’ “Whistle Down The Wind”

The other week, watching an old TV interview of Alfred Hitchcock by fellow film director Bryan Forbes, I was struck not only by Forbes’ wide jacket lapels, but also his seeming nervousness when confronted by the director of Pyscho: a nervousness he covered well by a somewhat contrived eloquence, and the casual lighting of a cigarette. After ten minutes or so, with Hitchcock given room to tell his often witty and dead-pan stories, Bryan Forbes had turned what might have been an awkard encounter between star and fan into an enlightening masterpiece.

But then enlightening masterpieces is what Forbes did, and Whistle Down The Wind is one of them.

Director Brian Forbes
Director Brian Forbes

1959 was a busy year for Bryan Forbes and his film producing partner Richard Attenborough, not least because of the creation of Allied Film Makers, a production company that had come about through the production of The League of Gentlemen, with a superbly witty script by Forbes. Continue reading

Why British film needs to form a countryside alliance

Out on Friday, new British film The Levelling is a breath of fresh air from its very first shot of a country lane. Why? Because this is a film that has escaped the cities with which British filmmakers are so obsessed – and not only that, offered an authentic depiction of our nation’s countryside for once.Our film industry has an awful habit of regurgitating successful movies until way after the dead horse has been flogged. Guy Ritchie’s Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels led to a plethora of cheap East End gangster film replicas. As we laughed and cried at Four Weddings and a Funeral, producers Working Title were busy starting a conveyor belt of upper-middle-class metropolitan comedies. Merchant Ivory created a cottage industry around [ . . . ]

Read Full Story: Why British film needs to form a countryside alliance