The New York Film Critics Circle (NYFCC) announced its winners on Friday morning (U.S. Eastern Time) -- and they were enamoured of Japanese cinema, Italian accents and a Western.
One of the first critics' groups to weigh in on the awards season, the NYFCC named Ryusuke Hamaguchi's 'Drive My Car' the best film of 2021. It will represent Japan for the international feature category at the Oscars, reports 'Variety'.
The film is based on the short story of the same name by the Japanese master, Haruki Murakami, from his 2014 collection, 'Men Without Women'.
The NYFCC, which consists of 50-plus journalists from publications such as 'Time', 'Vanity Fair' and 'Variety', however, was clearly enamored of Netflix's 'The Power of the Dog', which nabbed three major prizes -- the most of any film.
NYFCC's winner for best film has typically had a strong correlation with the Academy Awards' best picture category. Last year's 'First Cow' (2020) was the first film that has won NYFCC's top prize and failed to garner a single Oscar nom.
Lady Gaga asserted her status in the best actress category by picking up her first mention of the awards season for Ridley Scott's 'House of Gucci'.
'The Power of the Dog' was the first film recognised by the NYFCC, picking up significant wins as the morning progressed. Jane Campion was named best director for the Netflix drama about a rancher, Phil Burbank (Benedict Cumberbatch), fighting his demons in 1920s Montana.
Cumberbatch, meanwhile, picked up the lead actor prize and Kodi Smit-McPhee was named best supporting actor.