The independent drama “Nomadland” has won four awards from the St. Louis Film Critics Association, including film, director, editing and cinematography.

After losing everything in the 2008 recession, middle-aged Fern (Frances McDormand) embarks on a journey through the American west in writer-director Chloe Zhao’s “Nomadland.” Zhao also edited the film. Joshua James Richards earned Best Cinematography.

“Promising Young Woman,” writer-director Emerald Fennell’s social commentary thriller about toxic masculinity, was recognized for Carey Mulligan’s performance and Fennell’s original screenplay as well as soundtrack for a total of three awards.

Other multiple award winners included Pixar’s “Soul” for animated feature and music score by Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross and Jon Batiste; Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet” as best action film and visual effects; and “The Invisible Man” for best horror film and best scene in which the sisters meet to dine at a restaurant.

In acting honors, Chadwick Boseman was named Best Actor for his final performance in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” Paul Raci of “Sound of Metal” and Youn Yuh-jung of “Minari” for supporting roles.

The Romanian film “Collective” won for documentary and the Danish film “Another Round” won for foreign language film.

The awards were announced on Sunday, Jan. 17, with nominations in 22 categories were announced Jan. 10.

Eligible films include those that opened in St. Louis during the 2020 calendar year or were made available as a video on demand or streaming service release.

For more information, visit the website, www.stlfilmcritics.org, follow us on Twitter (@stlfilmcritics) and “Like” our Facebook page.

Here is a complete list of the awards:

BEST FILM: Nomadland
Runner-up (tie): “First Cow” and “Promising Young Woman”

BEST DIRECTOR: Chloé Zhao – “Nomadland:
Runner-up: Emerald Fennell “Promising Young Woman”

BEST ACTOR: Chadwick Boseman – “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”
Runner-up: Delroy Lindo, “Da 5 Bloods”

BEST ACTRESS: Carey Mulligan – “Promising Young Woman”
Runner-up: Frances McDormand, “Nomadland”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Paul Raci – “Sound of Metal”
Runner-up: Sacha Baron Cohen, “The Trial of the Chicago 7”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Youn Yuh-jung – “Minari”
Runner-up: Maria Bakalova, “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: “Promising Young Woman” – Emerald Fennell
Runner-up: Aaron Sorkin, “The Trial of the Chicago 7”

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: “I’m Thinking of Ending Things” – Charlie Kaufman (Screenplay); Iain Reid (Novel)

Runner-up: Kemp Powers (screenplay and play) “One Night in Miami”

BEST EDITING: “Nomadland” – Chloé Zhao

Runner-up: Robert Frazen, “I’m Thinking of Ending Things”

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: “Nomadland” – Joshua James Richards

Runner-up: “Mank” – Erik Messerschmidt

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN: “Mank” – Donald Graham Burt\

Runner-up: “Emma” – Kave Quinn

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS: Tenet
Runner-up: The Invisible Man

BEST SCORE: Soul – Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross and Jon Batiste
Runner-up: Nomadland – Ludovico Einaudi

BEST SOUNDTRACK: Promising Young Woman
Runner-up: Hamilton

BEST ACTION FILM: Tenet
Runner-up: Birds of Prey

BEST COMEDY FILM: Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
Runner-up: Palm Springs

BEST HORROR FILM: The Invisible Man

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE: Soul
Runner-up: Wolfwalkers

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: Collective

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FEATURE: Another Round
Runner-up: Beanpole

BEST SCENE: The Invisible Man – A restaurant meet-up between sisters is interrupted.
Runner-up: Rudy Guiliani visits hotel room in “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”

Here is a complete list of nominations:

BEST FILM
First Cow
I’m Thinking of Ending Things
Nomadland
Promising Young Woman
The Trial of the Chicago 7


BEST DIRECTOR
Emerald Fennell, “Promising Young Woman”
Lee Isaac Chung, “Minari”
Spike Lee, “Da 5 Bloods”
Aaron Sorkin, “The Trial of the Chicago 7”
Chloe Zhao, “Nomadland”

BEST ACTOR
Riz Ahmed, “Sound of Metal”
Chadwick Boseman, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”
Delroy Lindo, “Da 5 Bloods”
Anthony Hopkins, “The Father”
Gary Oldman, “Mank”

BEST ACTRESS
Jessie Buckley, “I’m Thinking of Ending Things”
Viola Davis, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”
Vanessa Kirby, “Pieces of a Woman”
Frances McDormand, “Nomadland”
Carey Mulligan, “Promising Young Woman”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Bo Burnham, “Promising Young Woman”
Sacha Baron Cohen, “The Trial of the Chicago 7”
Bill Murray, “On the Rocks”
Leslie Odom Jr., “One Night in Miami”
Paul Raci, “Sound of Metal”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Maria Bakalova, “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”
Ellen Burstyn, “Pieces of a Woman”
Olivia Colman, “The Father”
Amanda Seyfried, “Mank”
Yuh-jung Youn, “Minari”

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Lee Isaac Chung, “Minari”
Emerald Fennell, “Promising Young Woman”
Jack Fincher, “Mank”
Andy Siara, “Palm Springs”
Aaron Sorkin, “The Trial of the Chicago 7”


BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Charlie Kaufman, “I’m Thinking of Ending Things”
Kemp Powers, “One Night in Miami”
Jon Raymond and Kelly Reichardt, “First Cow”
Ruben Santiago-Hudson, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”
Chloe Zhao, “Nomadland”

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Benjamin Kracun, “Promising Young Woman
Erik Messerschmidt, “Mank”
Joshua James Richards, “Nomadland”
Newton Thomas Sigel, “Da 5 Bloods”
Dariusz Wolski, “News of the World”

BEST EDITING
Alan Baumgarten, “The Trial of the Chicago 7”
Kirk Baxter, “Mank”
Robert Frazen, “I’m Thinking of Ending Things”
Jonah Moran, “Hamilton”
Chloe Zhao, “Nomadland”

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
Donald Graham Burt, “Mank”
Christina Casali, “The Personal History of David Copperfield”
Michael Perry, “Promising Young Woman”
Kave Quinn, “Emma”
Mark Ricker, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”

BEST SOUNDTRACK
Birds of Prey
Da 5 Bloods
Hamilton
Lovers Rock
Promising Young Woman

BEST MUSIC SCORE
Ludovico Einaudi, “Nomadland”
Ludwig Goransson, “Tenet”
James Newton Howard, “News of the World”
Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, Jon Batiste, “Soul”
Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, “Mank”

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Birds of Prey
The Invisible Man
Mank
The Midnight Sky
Tenet

BEST ACTION
Birds of Prey
The Gentlemen
Greyhound
The Old Guard
Tenet

BEST HORROR
Alone
The Invisible Man
La Llorona
Possessor Uncut
The Vast of Night


BEST COMEDY
Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
Emma
The King of Staten Island
On the Rocks
Palm Springs

BEST DOCUMENTARY
City Hall
Collective
Dick Johnson is Dead
My Octopus Teacher
The Social Dilemma

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
Onward
Over the Moon
Soul
The Wolf House
Wolfwalkers

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
Another Round
Bacurau
Beanpole
Collective
Vitalina Varela


BEST SCENE
Human Resources complaint discussion in “The Assistant”
Rudy Guiliani hotel room visit in “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”
Dinner with parents at farmhouse in “I’m Thinking of Ending Things”
Sisters dine in restaurant in “The Invisible Man”
Questionnaire administered in “Never Rarely Sometimes Always”

By Lynn Venhaus
A film of remarkable grace and wonder, “Nomadland” demonstrates power in stillness as a fiercely independent woman makes her way along the ribbon of highways through Arizona, the Dakotas, California and other places.

Fern (Frances McDormand) packs up her van and sets off on the road, finding work along the way, as she joins other modern-day nomads off-the-grid in the American West. It’s a transient life outside of conventional society, with freedom a trade-off. A widow, she lived in Empire, Nevada, but the company town collapsed when the sheet-rock facility closed in 2011, an economic victim in the Great Recession. This is Fern’s hard-fought middle-age journey.

In writer-director Chloe Zhao’s third film, she charts a third-act journey that is authentic in every possible way, making the impact even greater by using real-life people as Fern’s friends and mentors.

Linda May, Bob Wells and Charlene Swankie are memorable characters in this subculture. The only actor besides Frances McDormand is the superb character actor David Strathairn, who plays Dave, a park ranger she runs into on several occasions and develops a friendship with, and they later work together.

Based on journalist Jessica Bruder’s 2017 book, “Nomadland: Surviving America in the 21st Century,” Zhao draws on that experience, where Bruder documented itinerant Americans while living in a camper van for three years and traveling 15,000 miles.

As blue-collar Fern, McDormand delivers another lived-in performance that doesn’t have a false move. She fits in the landscape in a thoroughly believable way, her face a roadmap of a life lived on her terms.

Still grieving her husband, who died of cancer, and reducing her memories to a few boxes in the van she lives in, Fern shows strength in the roads not taken. She’s resourceful and resilient, not able to retire in a society that has marginalized her.

She depicts the dignity of hard work, whether it’s boxing up orders at an Amazon warehouse or working as a seasonal fry cook. She captures the essence of Fern, a restless soul who can no longer settle down. As opportunities for work and better conditions come along, we see her embrace the alone time.

When some former neighbors run into her, she refuses to be pitied. “I’m not homeless, I’m houseless.” There is a difference, she emphasizes.

With the stunning backdrop of the West’s natural beauty, we feel her loneliness but also the sense of community shared by other self-sufficient RV-living travelers. They learn from each other, show compassion in their humanity and maintain that connection: “See you down the road.”

Zhao also edited the film, and the way she frames shots is a beautiful thing. So is the camera work by cinematographer Joshua James Richards.

Composer Ludovico Einaudi has created a haunting piano score that beautifully captures the moods depicted.

“Nomadland” is one of the best films of the year and shows why McDormand is an uncommon talent full of enormous depth and sincerity. Every move she makes is reality-based, and we are the richer for her portrait, as we all try to understand the human condition ourselves.

“Nomadland” is a drama written and directed by Chloe Zhao, starring Frances McDormand, David Strathairn. Rated R for some full nudity, it is 1 hr. 48 min. long. Lynn’s Grade: A+