Austin Film Critics Association Announces 2021 Awards Short Lists

The Power of the Dog leads the pack with nine nominations

The Austin Film Critics Association nominees for Best Film of 2021: Dune, The Green Knight, Licorice Pizza, Pig, The Power of the Dog

Award season has arrived in the ATX. The Austin Film Critics Association has released its list of nominees for its 2021 film awards.

The most nominated film this year (well, not quite a year) is Jane Campion's chilly Western The Power of the Dog, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Kirsten Dunst (both nominees for their performances), and scored by Johnny Greenwood (in competition against himself as double nominee for score with this and Spencer), while Campion herself is nominated as both director and writer, for her adaptation of Thomas Savage's 1967 novel.

The Power of the Dog wrangled nine nods, but faces stiff competition from two movies that scored eight nominations each: Denis Villeneuve's space epic Dune, and Paul Thomas Anderson's LA historical reminiscence Licorice Pizza.

The AFCA also released its nominees for the best Austin film released in the last year. All titles are directed by filmmakers resident in Austin during production. This year's list includes Caleb Michael Johnson's black comedy The Carnivores; Will Bakke's coming-of-age party flick The Get Together; Robert Rodriguez's concert movie for Billie Eilish, Happier Than Ever: A Love Letter to Los Angeles; Roller Derby doc Queens of Pain, co-directed by Cassie Hay and Amy Winston; and SXSW-selected Without Getting Killed or Caught, Tamara Saviano and Paul Whitfield's history of the complicated life and love of Guy Clark, the dean of Texas songwriters.

All films included were released between Feb. 27 and Dec. 24, 2021. Due to the pandemic, the AFCA membership voted to extend the eligibility period for the 2020 awards through to Feb. 26 of last year, meaning films like Minari and Identifying Features were not eligible this year. However, that curtailed window did not seem to dampen the quality of the contenders.

The shortlists now go to the AFCA members for second round voting, and the AFCA will announce the winners on Tue., Jan. 11.

Best Film

The Green Knight
Licorice Pizza
The Power of the Dog

Best Director

• Paul Thomas Anderson, Licorice Pizza
• Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog
• Ryûsuke Hamaguchi, Drive My Car
• David Lowery, The Green Knight
• Denis Villeneuve, Dune

Best Actress

• Olivia Colman, The Lost Daughter
• Penelope Cruz, Parallel Mothers
• Alana Haim, Licorice Pizza
• Kristen Stewart, Spencer
• Agathe Rouselle, Titane

Best Actor

• Nicolas Cage, Pig
• Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power of the Dog
• Andrew Garfield, tick tick… Boom!
• Simon Rex, Red Rocket
• Denzel Washington, The Tragedy of Macbeth

Best Supporting Actress

• Ariana DeBose, West Side Story
• Ann Dowd, Mass
• Kirsten Dunst, The Power of the Dog
• Kathryn Hunter, The Tragedy of Macbeth
• Ruth Negga, Passing

Best Supporting Actor

• Bradley Cooper, Licorice Pizza
• Colman Domingo, Zola
• Vincent Lindon, Titane
• Kodi Smit-McPhee, The Power of the Dog
• Jeffrey Wright, The French Dispatch

Best Ensemble

The French Dispatch
The Harder they Fall
Licorice Pizza

Best Original Screenplay

• Paul Thomas Anderson, Licorice Pizza
• Wes Anderson, The French Dispatch
• Vanessa Block and Michael Sarnoski, Pig
• Fran Kranz, Mass
• Mike Mills, C’mon C’mon

Best Adapted Screenplay

• Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog
• Ryusuke Hamagucki and Takamasa Oe, Drive My Car
• Sian Heder, CODA
• David Lowery, The Green Knight
• Jon Spaihts, Denis Villeneuve, and Eric Roth, Dune

Best Cinematography

• Bruno Delbonnel, The Tragedy of Macbeth
• Greig Fraser, Dune
• Janusz Kaminski, West Side Story
• Andrew Droz Palermo, The Green Knight
• Ari Wegner, The Power of the Dog

Best Editing

• Andy Jurgensen, Licorice Pizza
• Peter Sciberras, The Power of the Dog
• Claire Simpson, The Last Duel
• Thomas Stanford, West Side Story
• Joe Walker, Dune

Best Original Score

• Jonny Greenwood, The Power of the Dog
• Jonny Greenwood, Spencer
• Daniel Hart, The Green Knight
• Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe, Candyman
• Hans Zimmer, Dune

Best International Film

Drive My Car
Parallel Mothers
The Worst Person in the World

Best Documentary

The Rescue
• The Sparks Brothers
Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)
The Velvet Underground

Best Animated Film

The Mitchells vs. The Machines

Best Voice Acting/Animated/Digital Performance

• Stephanie Beatriz, Encanto
• Abbi Jacobson, The Mitchells vs The Machines
• John Leguizamo, Encanto
• Danny McBride, The Mitchells vs the Machines
• Kaho Nakamura, Belle

Best Stunts

No Time to Die
Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
Spiderman: No Way Home
Raging Fire

Best First Film

• Maggie Gyllenhaal, The Lost Daughter
• Rebecca Hall, Passing
• Fran Kranz, Mass
• Michael Samoski, Pig
• Emma Seligman, Shiva Baby

The Robert R. “Bobby” McCurdy Memorial Breakthrough Artist Award

• Ariana DeBose, West Side Story
• Alana Haim, Licorice Pizza
• Emilia Jones, CODA
• Agathe Rousselle, Titane
• Rachel Sennott, Shiva Baby

Best Austin Film 2021

The Carnivores (D: Caleb Michael Johnson)
The Get Together (D: Will Bakke)
• Happier Than Ever: A Love Letter to Los Angeles (D: Robert Rodriguez)
Queens of Pain (D: Cassie Hay and Amy Winston)
Without Getting Killed or Caught (D: Tamara Saviano and Paul Whitfield)

Founded in 2005, the AFCA consists of active critics from print, TV, radio, and internet outlets. Its membership includes writers for the Austin Chronicle, as well as Austin American-Statesman,, Bloody Disgusting, But Why Tho Podcast, Certified Forgotten, Cinapse, Daily Grindhouse, the Daily Dot, the Daily Texan, Double Toasted, Fangoria, Film School Rejects,, GotchaMovies, Hammer to Nail, Hill Country News, Horror’s Not Dead, KOOP 91.7 FM Radio,, Nerdist, Next Projection, One Movie Punch, One Of Us, Slashfilm, Smells Like Screen Spirit, True View Reviews, and Uproxx.

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