‘Small Axe’ named best picture by Los Angeles Film Critics Assn.

Micheal Ward as Franklyn in "Lovers Rock," part of the "Small Axe" anthology.
(Parisa Taghizedeh / Amazon Prime Video)

The Los Angeles Film Critics Assn. convened virtually on Sunday to announce its 2020 prizewinners.

In a year where the movie industry has been severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s awards ceremony took into consideration pictures that premiered at film festivals but have not yet had theatrical, streaming or video on demand releases.

Top honors went to Steve McQueen’s “Small Axe,” an anthology of five films about London’s West Indian community between 1969 and 1982. It took home awards for best picture and cinematography, beating out Chloe Zhao’s “Nomadland” in both categories. Additionally, the anthology earned runner-up recognition in the director and music categories for its “Lovers Rock” installment.


Zhao won the director award for “Nomadland,” which received recognition as runner-up for best picture and cinematography. “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” was also shown plenty of love at the annual deliberations, earning recognition in both actor categories as well as runner-up recognition in the lead actress category.

Steve McQueen kicks off his ‘Small Axe’ series with ‘Mangrove,’ a timely true story of protest in London’s West Indian community.

Nov. 21, 2020

Frances McDormand in "Nomadland."

The lead actor award went to Chadwick Boseman for his performance as a troubled trumpet player in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” Riz Ahmed was runner-up for “Sound of Metal.”

Carey Mulligan took lead actress for “Promising Young Woman,” with Viola Davis named runner-up for “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.”

Youn Yuh-jung won the supporting actress award for her role as a long-suffering wife in “Minari.” Amanda Seyfried was declared runner-up for “Mank.”

Supporting actor honors went to Glynn Turman for “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” with Paul Raci named runner-up for “Sound of Metal.”


Emerald Fennell won the screenplay award for “Promising Young Woman,” while Eliza Hittman was runner-up for “Never Really Sometimes Always.”

The animation winner was Apple TV+’s “Wolfwalkers.” Disney/Pixar’s “Soul,” which won top honors for its score, was declared runner-up.

Donald Graham Burt won for production design for his work on “Mank,” with Sergey Ivanov runner-up for “Beanpole,” the foreign-language winner (“Martin Eden” was declared runner up for foreign-language film).

Shabier Kirchner took the award for cinematography for his work on “Small Axe.” Joshua James Richards was declared cinematography runner-up for “Nomadland.”

Garrett Bradley’s “Time” won for documentary/nonfiction film, with “Collective” runner-up. Yorgos Lamprinos took the award for editing on “The Father,” with Gabriel Rhodes named runner-up for “Time.”

The Douglas Edwards Experimental Film Award was given to John Gianvito for “Her Socialist Smile.” “The 40-Year-Old Version” director and screenwriter Radha Blank won the group’s New Generation award.