‘The Rider’ wins best picture from the National Society of Film Critics, edging out ‘Roma’


The National Society of Film critics on Saturday chose “The Rider,” a cowboy drama directed by Chloé Zhao, as best picture of the year.

Blending narrative and documentary film techniques, “The Rider” is set on South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and follows a Lakota cowboy after an accident derails his rodeo riding dreams. “The Rider” — only Zhao’s second film — edged out “Roma” in the critics’ voting.

“Roma,” the black-and-white Spanish language film about a Mexican family and their live-in nanny, won best foreign-language film. The society also awarded Alfonso Cuarón prizes for best director and for best cinematography. Inspired by Cuarón’s childhood memories, “Roma” already had taken home best picture honors from the Los Angeles Film Critics Assn., among others.


In the national society’s voting Saturday, Olivia Colman won best actress for her role as Queen Anne in the British period film “The Favourite,” beating Regina Hall in “Support the Girls” and Melissa McCarthy in “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”

Ethan Hawke won best actor for playing a weary pastor in a small upstate New York church in “First Reformed.” Runners up included Willem Dafoe in “At Eternity’s Gate,” Ben Foster in “Leave No Trace” and John C. Reilly in “The Sisters Brothers” and “Stan & Ollie.”

Other winners included Regina King, who won best supporting actress for playing a family matriarch in the Barry Jenkins adaptation of James Baldwin’s 1974 novel, “If Beale Street Could Talk,” and Steven Yeun, who won best supporting actor for South Korea’s mystery drama “Burning,” which also finished third in best-picture voting.

Last year the society gave best-picture honors to “Lady Bird,” which went on to score five Oscar nominations but lost best picture to “The Shape of Water.”

Composed of 62 members from across the country, the National Society of Film Critics considered any film that opened in the U.S. in 2018. A list of winners:

Best picture: “The Rider”

Best director: Alfonso Cuarón, “Roma”

Best screenplay: Armando Iannucci, David Schneider and Ian Martin, “The Death of Stalin”


Best cinematography: Alfonso Cuarón, “Roma”

Best actress: Olivia Colman, “The Favourite”

Best actor: Ethan Hawke, “First Reformed”

Best supporting actress: Regina King, “If Beale Street Could Talk”

Best supporting actor: Steven Yeun, “Burning”

Best foreign-language film: “Roma”

Best nonfiction film: “Minding the Gap”

Film heritage award: Team of producers, editors, restorers, technicians and cineastes who labored for decades to bring Orson Welles’ “The Other Side of the Wind” to completion for a new generation of movie lovers; Museum of Modern Art for restoring the 1923 Ernst Lubitsch film “Rosita”

Special citation for a film awaiting U.S. distribution: “A Family Tour” (Ying Liang, Taiwan/Hong Kong/Singapore/Malaysia)