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 civics lesson for the ages, writer-director Aaron Sorkin’s riveting account of “The Trial of the Chicago 7” is a potent examination of injustice during a politically charged time of civil disobedience. Through the lens of a riveting courtroom drama, the film is an acting showcase and one of the best films of the year.

And because the maestro is Sorkin, the film is also a discourse on cultural revolution and political theater, all while working in the confines of a true story. Because it is not a documentary, some of the timeline jumps around and incidents are embellished, but trial transcripts are used, along with archival footage, to create an authentic portrait.

In August 1968, several activist groups opposed to the Vietnam War converged at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago – the Students for a Democratic Society led by Tom Hayden (Eddie Redmayne) and Rennie Davis (Alex Sharp), the Youth International Party (Yippies) led by radical revolutionaries Abbie Hoffman (Sacha Baron Cohen) and Jerry Rubin (Jeremy Strong) and the National Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam (MOBE), led by older conscientious objector David Dellinger (John Carroll Lynch).  Bobby Seale (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II), leader of the Black Panthers, is also present but not connected with the others. They, along with eventually acquitted Lee Weiner (Noah Robbins) and John Froines (Danny Flaherty), are the Chicago 8. Seal’s case would later be declared a mistrial, thus leaving seven.

Demonstrators violently clashed with police in and around Grant Park, which was captured on live television and the reason for a courtroom circus the next year after Nixon was elected President. Using a new law, the eight are charged with conspiracy to cross state lines to incite a riot. 

The infamous 1969 trial, orchestrated by Nixon’s Department of Justice, is presided over by Judge Julius Hoffman (Frank Langella). The legal eagles are civil rights attorney William Kunstler (Mark Rylance) and Ben Weinglass (Leonard Shenkman) for the defense and Justice Department prosecutors Richard Schultz (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and Thomas Foran (J.C. MacKenzie).

The Trial of the Chicago 7. Mark Rylance as William Kunstler, Eddie Redmayne as Tom Hayden in The Trial of the Chicago 7. Cr. Niko Tavernise/NETFLIX © 2020

The casting is impeccable. Sorkin’s breakthrough was the play “A Few Good Men” in 1989, later a movie. Known for “The West Wing,” he won an Oscar for best adapted screenplay for “The Social Network.” With his fast-paced dialogue and customary insightful monologues, Sorkin’s original screenplay now vaults to leading awards contender. It is a marvel of nuance and first amendment passion, focusing on change – how people make it happen.

Sorkin immerses us in the atmosphere of the ’60s volatile times, as dissent grew throughout the country. Martin Luther King Jr. had been assassinated in April, followed by the killing of presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Bobby Kennedy two months later. More anti-war activists took to the streets when the conflict in Southeast Asia escalated. But “the Establishment” attacked free speech and peaceful protests, fearing anarchy and widespread unrest.

His dialogue, nimbly spoken by this extraordinary ensemble, astutely advances character development and shows the duality of law – when it works in a courtroom, and when it doesn’t. With such a large cast, Sorkin has managed to bring out the distinct personalities of the iconoclast rebels.

Sorkin has shrewdly opted to concentrate only on the present with the major defendants, providing little backstory to their rise as movement leaders. While everyone snugly fits their roles, stand-outs are Eddie Redmayne as fervent Tom Hayden, convinced working inside the system is the right conduit for progress, and Sacha Baron Cohen as the mouthy disrupter Abbie Hoffman, who mastered media for his own purposes. Their different approaches lead to confrontations but ultimately, they are on the same page.

As the clearly biased tyrannical judge, Frank Langella is chilling as a man who thinks he does not discriminate but his cruelty to Seale suggests otherwise. Mark Rylance, Oscar winner for the 2015 “The Bridge of Spies” and three-time Tony Award winner, will likely score nominations for his remarkable portrayal of impassioned lawyer William Kunstler.

Abdul-Mateen II, who won an Emmy for HBO’s “Watchman,” is powerful in his silence as Seale and bears the brunt of the injustice during the trial. Seale, who co-founded the Black Panthers in 1966, was just in Chicago to give a speech and did not know the other guys.

Alex Sharp excels as the dedicated Rennie Davis, who is less flashy than the other counterculture activists but whose involvement is significant nonetheless. Sharp won a Tony Award for “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” in 2105.

Sorkin had only directed once before, 2017’s “Molly’s Game,” an uneven but interesting account of a true story. For this legal drama, he keeps the courtroom scenes taut and the street scenes intense and chaotic.

Sorkin gets terrific assistance from cinematographer Phedon Papamichael, who shot last year’s “Ford v. Ferrari,” and editor Alan Baumgarten, known for other Sorkin films and “American Hustle.” Composer Daniel Pemberton scores the action with the right tempo without using popular protest music from the times.

As an important acknowledgement of this case in America’s evolution, “The Trial of the Chicago 7” conveys precious civil liberties. And demonstrates what makes compelling stories – Americans speaking out, what inspires revolution and why civil discourse matters.

Sasha Baron Cohen and Jeremy Strong as Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin

“The Trial of the Chicago 7” is a courtroom drama based on real events, directed and written by Aaron Sorkin. It starts Eddie Redmayne, Frank Langella, Sacha Baron Cohen, Jeremy Strong, John Carroll Lynch, Alex Sharp, Michael Keaton, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, J.C. MacKenzie and Ben Schenkman. Rated: R for language throughout, some violence, bloody images and drug us, The runtime is 2 hr. 10 min. Lynn’s Grade: A
Available in select theatres Oct. 9 and on Netflix Oct. 16.