The Women Film Critics Circle has named Passing 2021’s Best Movie About Women and the film’s stars Ruth Negga and Tessa Thompson the year’s Best Screen Couple. The film also won the Karen Morley Award for best exemplifying a woman’s place in history or society, and a courageous search for identity and the Josephine Baker for best expressing the woman of color experience in America.
Jane Campion was named Best Woman Storyteller, a screenwriting award, as well as Best Movie By a Woman, for The Power of the Dog. Kristen Stewart was named Best Actress for Spencer and Will Smith won Best Actor for King Richard.
Founded in 2004, the WFCC believes in the recognition of women’s voices within film criticism and was the first women critics organization formed in the United States. Now, the group has approximately 75 members internationally.
Here is the full list of winners, runners-up and nominees.
BEST MOVIE ABOUT WOMEN
RUNNER-UP: The Lost Daughter
Being the Ricardos
BEST MOVIE BY A WOMAN
WINNER: Jane Campion – The Power of the Dog
RUNNER-UP: Sian Heder – CODA
Nora Fingscheidt – The Unforgivable
Rebecca Hall – Passing
BEST WOMAN STORYTELLER (Screenwriting Award)
WINNER: Jane Campion – The Power of the Dog
RUNNER-UP: Rebecca Hall – Passing
Charlene Favier, Antoine Lacomblez and Marie Talon – Slalom
Sian Heder – CODA
WINNER: Kristen Stewart – Spencer
RUNNER-UP: Nicole Kidman – Being the Ricardos
Sandra Bullock – The Unforgivable
Virginie Efira – Benedetta
WINNER: Will Smith – King Richard
RUNNER-UP: Benedict Cumberbatch – The Power of the Dog
Andrew Garfield – tick, tick… BOOM!
Nicolas Cage – Pig
BEST FOREIGN FILM BY OR ABOUT WOMEN
RUNNER-UP: Drive My Car
I’m Your Man
BEST DOCUMENTARY BY OR ABOUT WOMEN
WINNER: Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go for It
RUNNER-UP: Introducing, Selma Blair
BEST EQUALITY OF THE SEXES
WINNER: King Richard
RUNNER-UP (TIE): Being the Ricardos
RUNNER-UP (TIE): The Harder They Fall
BEST ANIMATED FEMALE
WINNER: Mirabel –Encanto
RUNNER-UP: Raya – Raya and the Last Dragon
Abuela Alma – Encanto
Gabi – Vivo
BEST SCREEN COUPLE
WINNER: Ruth Negga and Tessa Thompson – Passing
RUNNER-UP (TIE): Marlee Matlin and Troy Kotsur – CODA
RUNNER-UP (TIE): Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem – Being the Ricardos
Anthony Ramos and Melissa Barrera – In The Heights
ADRIENNE SHELLY AWARD – For a film that most passionately opposes violence against women
ADRIENNE SHELLY AWARD: Adrienne Shelly was a promising actress and filmmaker who was brutally strangled in her apartment in 2006 at the age of forty by a construction worker in the building, after she complained about noise. Her killer tried to cover up his crime by hanging her from a shower rack in her bathroom, to make it look like suicide. He later confessed that he was having a “bad day.” Shelly, who left behind a baby daughter, had just completed her film Waitress, which she also starred in, and which was honored at Sundance after her death.
WINNER: Last Night in Soho
JOSEPHINE BAKER AWARD – For best expressing the woman of color experience in America
JOSEPHINE BAKER AWARD: The daughter of a laundress and a musician, Baker overcame being born black, female and poor, and marriage at age fifteen, to become an internationally acclaimed legendary performer, starring in the films Princess Tam Tam, Moulin Rouge and Zou Zou. She also survived the race riots in East St. Louis, Illinois as a child, and later expatriated to France to escape US racism. After participating heroically in the underground French Resistance during WWII, Baker returned to the US where she was a crusader for racial equality. Her activism led to attacks against her by reporter Walter Winchell who denounced her as a communist, leading her to wage a battle against him. Baker was instrumental in ending segregation in many theaters and clubs, where she refused to perform unless integration was implemented.
KAREN MORLEY AWARD – For best exemplifying a woman’s place in history or society, and a courageous search for identity
KAREN MORLEY AWARD: Karen Morley was a promising Hollywood star in the 1930s, in such films as Mata Hari and Our Daily Bread. She was driven out of Hollywood for her leftist political convictions by the Blacklist and for refusing to testify against other actors, while Robert Taylor and Sterling Hayden were informants against her. And also for daring to have a child and become a mother, unacceptable for female stars in those days. Morley maintained her militant political activism for the rest of her life, running for Lieutenant Governor on the American Labor Party ticket in 1954. She passed away in 2003, unrepentant to the end, at the age of 93.
RUNNER-UP: Being the Ricardos
ACTING AND ACTIVISM AWARD: Dolly Parton
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD: Betty White