‘First Cow’ named 2020’s best film by New York Film Critics

NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Film Critics Circle voted Kelly Reichardt’s Western fable First Cow the Best Film of 2020, while also giving special honours to Spike Lee and the art-house distributor Kino Lorber for their roles in a movie year deeply marred by the pandemic.

The film critics, assembling virtually, gave its top award to First Cow, a delicate tale of friendship and capitalism in mid-1800s Oregon Territory.

Reichardt’s film, released in theatres in March just days before the onset of COVID-19 forced cinemas to close nationwide, hasn’t been widely seen but remains one of the year’s most critically acclaimed film. The Associated Press (AP) also named First Cow its No 1 film.

The critics also gave out awards to Borat Subsequent Movie Film co-star Maria Bakalova for Best Supporting Actress, and Chadwick Boseman for best supporting actor, for his final performance in the August Wilson adaptation Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. Boseman died in August 2020.

Best Actor went to Delroy Lindo for his performance as a Vietnam War veteran in Spike Lee’s Da Five Bloods. Best Actress was given to Sidney Flanigan who plays a Pennsylvania teenager who travels to New York in Never Rarely Sometimes Always. Eliza Hittman, who wrote and directed the movie won best screenplay. Chloe Zhao, the filmmaker of Nomadland, took Best Director.

Spike Lee released two features in 2020 — Da Five Bloods and David Byrne’s American Utopia — but he was given a special award for a three-minute short he released on Instagram.

John Magaro in a scene from the film ‘First Cow’. PHOTO: AP