‘Licorice Pizza’ wins best film from New York critics

Star Wars: The Last Jedi won two awards at the New York Film Critics Circle’s Thursday night gala, but it was the award for best film of 2021 that had comic book fans buzzing.

The decision was made by a secret vote by the New York critics, and included some fan favorites like “Black Panther,” “The Shape of Water” and “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” but the winner, it turns out, was obscure slice of culture “Licorice Pizza.”

Licorice Pizza, written and directed by Jenny Sampson, is an eccentric science fiction film about a wealthy young woman who accidentally summons a genie through a vent at the bottom of her former boyfriend’s bathtub and finds herself powerless to control its evil side.

Now that the year has passed and she’s become too old to summon genies, she’s forced to solve the mystery of who ruined the world and when.

Sampson’s directorial debut, “I’m Sorry,” which won best first feature, was also up for the prize at this year’s Independent Spirit Awards. It was one of four movies (along with best foreign language film, best first feature and best first screenplay) to make the cut by the NY critics for best work from a first-time director, along with Logan Paul’s “Until I Find You,” Nate Parker’s “The Birth of a Nation” and Justin Spicer and Michael W. Smith’s “Donald Cried.”

Other nominees for best film included “A Quiet Place,” “Dunkirk,” “Lady Bird,” “Mudbound,” “A Fantastic Woman,” “Roma,” “The Rider,” “Sorry to Bother You,” “The Shape of Water,” “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” “Wonderstruck,” “Top of the Lake: China Girl,” “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” “It,” “Wonderstruck,” “Get Out,” “Baby Driver,” “Call Me By Your Name,” “The Big Sick,” “The Shape of Water,” “The Post,” “American Animals,” “The Florida Project,” “The Kindergarten Teacher,” “I, Tonya,” “The Post,” “Get Out,” “I, Tonya,” “I, Tonya,” “Lady Bird,” “Wonderstruck,” “Call Me By Your Name,” “The Shape of Water,” “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.”

“I, Tonya” won best picture, while Allison Janney won best supporting actress. “I, Tonya” also took home best screenplay for Steven Rogers, best original score for Cliff Martinez and best supporting actor for Paul Walter Hauser.

Netflix is the only streaming company to make the list of nominees, followed by Fox Searchlight.

The full list of nominees can be found on NYFCC.org. The awards ceremony was held at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York City.

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