Houston Film Critics Society 2020 Awards

Frances McDormand in the film NOMADLAND. Photo Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures. © 2020 20th Century Studios All Rights Reserved

Chloé Zhao’s “Nomadland” takes top honors, named Best Picture of the Year by the Houston Film Critics Society (HFCS). Zhao was also named Best Director while Joshua James Richards was honored for his cinematography. The film stars Frances McDormand as a modern-day nomad living in a van after losing her job in the Great Recession.

Acting honors went to Riz Ahmed, named Best Actor for his portrayal of a heavy metal drummer suffering from hearing loss in “Sound of Metal,” while Carey Mulligan was named Best Actress for her performance in the biting dark comedy “Promising Young Woman” which also nabbed the Best Screenplay honor for Emerald Finnell.

One of 2020’s biggest surprises included the debut of Bulgarian actress Maria Bakalova who plays Borat’s daughter Tutar Sagdiyev in the irreverent comedy “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm.” Her performance earned the Best Supporting Actress honor while Leslie Odom Jr.’s portrayal of Sam Cooke in “One Night in Miami” earned him the Best Supporting Actor award. Odom was also recognized for Best Song with “Speak Now” which he wrote with Sam Ashworth for the film directed by Regina King.

HFCS president Doug Harris observed, “While 2020 may have seen changes in how we view movies, the year should be remembered for the quality of those films that ultimately reached audiences.” He added, “It may have been a bit tougher to see some of these remarkable films, but the wait and the effort were worth it. And that’s the message our Society members take to their listeners, viewers, and readers.”

In lieu of COVID-19, the 14th Annual HFCS Film Awards will move from an in-person ceremony to a televised event. “We look forward to further spotlighting all of our award winners,” says Harris, “during our first television broadcast on January 31, 4 p.m. CST, on Houston’s KUBE 57. That programming will also celebrate our Texas Independent Film Award nominees and feature the announcement of the winners of our special honors for filmmaking in the state.”

The 40 members of the Houston Film Critics Society are working film journalists on television, radio, online and in traditional print. Together, they reach millions of people each week across the United States with their critiques and commentaries on film. The organization’s mission is to promote the advancement and appreciation of film in the Houston community and beyond. For a list of members, visit www.HoustonFilmCritics.com.

2020 Houston Film Critic Society Awards:

Best Picture: Nomadland

Best Director: Chloé Zhao, Nomadland

Best Actor in a Leading Role: Riz Ahmed, Sound of Metal

Best Actress in a Leading Role: Carey Mulligan, Promising Young Woman

Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Leslie Odom Jr., One Night in Miami

Best Actress in a Supporting Role: Maria Bakalova, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

Best Original Screenplay: Promising Young Woman

Best Animated Feature: Soul

Best Cinematography: Nomadland

Best Documentary Feature: My Octopus Teacher

Best Foreign Language Feature: A Sun (Taiwan)

Best Original Score: Soul

Best Original Song: One Night in Miami, “Speak Now”

Best Visual Effects: Tenet

Best Stunt Coordination Team: Tenet

Best Movie Poster Art: Da 5 Bloods

Outstanding Cinematic Achievement: Sound of Metal (for its Immersive Sound Design)

Texas Independent Film Awards: To be announced January 31

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Joe Friar is a member of the Critics Choice Association (Los Angeles) and the Houston Film Critics Society. A lifelong fan of cinema, he co-founded the Victoria Film Society, Frels Fright Fest, and is a Rotten Tomatoes approved critic. 

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Joe Friar is a member of the Critics Choice Association (Los Angeles) and the Houston Film Critics Society. A lifelong fan of cinema, he co-founded the Victoria Film Society, Frels Fright Fest, and is a Rotten Tomatoes approved critic.

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