The TFCA Celebrates the Best Films of 2021

 

On March 7, 2022, at the Omni King Edward Hotel, the TFCA held its annual gathering to celebrate the best in Candian and international film.

After a 2-year Covid hiatus, the Toronto Film Critics Association resumed an annual ritual—with its 25th anniversary awards gala at Toronto’s Omni King Edward Hotel March 7 with Sangita Patel as our host. This montage, edited by Brian D. Johnson, contains clips from all 23 winning and nominated films—set to music drawn exclusively from the soundtracks.

ROGERS
BEST CANADIAN FILM NOMINEES

Beans director Tracey Deer received a cash prize of $100,000, courtesy of Rogers Communications.
As runners-up, Danis Goulet and Shasha Nakhai & Rich Williamson receive $5,000.

Scarborough

Directed by Sasha Nakhai & Rich Williamson
(levelFilm)

An artfully made, emotionally resonant crowdpleaser, made on a shoestring budget over a year that was interrupted by the pandemic, Shasha Nakhai and Rich Williamson’s feature debut Scarborough follows three low-income families whose children attend a morning reading program in the diverse Galloway neighbourhood. Grounded in Catherine Hernandez’s powerful adaptation of her award-winning novel and the director’s doc-filmmaking talents, Scarborough gently but steadily draws the viewer deeply into the community with riveting, cinematic, conversation-starting storytelling.

— Jennie Punter

Winner

Beans

Directed by Tracey Deer
(Mongrel Media)

Director and co-writer Tracey Deer plumbs her own history in Beans, an exceptional film that reframes the so-called Oka Crisis of 1990 through the eyes of its fictional protagonist, a 12-year-old Mohawk girl (played by Kiawentiio) known as Beans. She’s already struggling with typical pre-teen angst, but her life is irrevocably changed when she’s thrust into the Kanesatake Resistance, as her entire community comes together to defend the land, and confronts anti-Indigenous racism head on.

— Kelly Boutsalis

Night Raiders

Directed by Danis Goulet
(Elevation Pictures)

Danis Goulet’s first feature takes place about a quarter-century in the future, in a Canada under military occupation from a nation identified only as “the southern state.” But her story of Indigenous people pulling their shattered culture back together and working to save their children from re-education schools is entirely of the moment – and maybe even more so than it was when Goulet shot the film in 2019. Anchored by Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers’ resilience as reluctant hero Niska and Brooklyn Letexier-Hart’s delicacy as Waseese as the daughter she’s desperate to rescue, this was one of the year’s best films, Canadian or otherwise.

— Norman Wilner

BEST PICTURE

WINNER

Drive My Car
(filmswelike)

RUNNERS UP

Licorice Pizza
(Universal Pictures Canada)

The Power of the Dog
(Netflix)

BEST DIRECTOR

WINNER

Jane Campion
The Power of the Dog
(Netflix)

RUNNERS UP

Ryusuke Hamaguchi
Drive My Car
(filmswelike)

Denis Villeneuve
Dune
(Warner Bros. Canada)

BEST ACTOR

WINNER

Denzel Washington
The Tragedy of Macbeth
(AppleTV+/Cineplex Pictures)

RUNNERS UP

Benedict Cumberbatch
The Power of the Dog
(Netflix)

Andrew Garfield
tick, tick…BOOM!
(Netflix)

BEST ACTRESS

WINNER

Olivia Colman
The Lost Daughter
(Netflix)

RUNNERS UP

Penélope Cruz
Parallel Mothers
(Mongrel Media)

Kristen Stewart
Spencer
(Elevation Pictures)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

WINNER

Bradley Cooper
Licorice Pizza
(Universal Pictures Canada)

RUNNERS UP

Ciarán Hinds
Belfast
(Universal Pictures Canada)

Kodi Smit-McPhee
The Power of the Dog
(Netflix)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

WINNER

Jessie Buckley
The Lost Daughter
(Netflix)

RUNNERS UP

Kirsten Dunst
The Power of the Dog
(Netflix)

Ruth Negga
Passing
(Netflix)

BEST SCREENPLAY

WINNER

Drive My Car
(filmswelike)

RUNNERS UP

Licorice Pizza
(Universal Pictures Canada)

The Power of the Dog
(Netflix)

BEST FIRST FEATURE

WINNER

The Lost Daugher
(Netflix)

RUNNERS UP

Passing
(Netflix)

Pig
(Elevation Pictures)

Shiva Baby
(Photon Films)

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

WINNER

Flee
(Elevation Pictures)

RUNNERS UP

Encanto
(Disney)

The Mitchells vs. the Machines
(Netflix)

BEST INTERNATIONAL FEATURE

WINNER

Drive My Car
(filmswelike)

RUNNERS UP

Petite Maman
(Elevation Pictures)

The Worst Person in the World
(MK2 | Mile End)

ALLAN KING DOCUMENTARY AWARD

WINNER

Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)
(Searchlight Pictures)

RUNNERS UP

Flee
(Elevation Pictures)

The Velvet Underground
(AppleTV+)

COMPANY 3 CLYDE GILMOUR AWARD

David Cronenberg’s capacity for colliding the cerebral, carnal and creepy is unparalleled, earning him a place as one of the world’s greatest directors. His 1996 Cannes Award for “daring and audacity” describes his entire half-century of storytelling. The Toronto-born author/filmmaker earned the Companion of the Order of Canada and France’s Légion d’honneur, among other accolades. Cronenberg also helped force Ontario’s censors to reform, invigorated local production, supported generations of young artists, and fundamentally reshaped the Canadian film landscape through his craft. This iconoclastic talent exemplifies what the TFCA Clyde Gilmour award is all about.

– Jason Gorber

Photograph by: Caitlin Cronenberg

STELLA ARTOIS JAY SCOTT AWARD

After studying at NSCAD, the Canadian Film Centre, and the Atlantic Filmmakers Co-Op, Bretten Hannam made their feature directorial debut with the micro-budget romantic thriller North Mountain (2015). They refined their skills in the short drama Wildfire (2019) and its feature adaptation Wildhood (2021). Both draw inspiration from Hannam’s experience as a Two-Spirited L’nu filmmaker who didn’t see their life depicted onscreen. Wildhood establishes Hannam as a bright star in the Canadian scene, and proudly creates space for two-Spirited voices and stories.

—Pat Mullen

TFCA EMERGING CRITIC AWARD

Rachel Ho has a pretty good day gig – she’s a lawyer – but she couldn’t seem to argue herself out of her passion: the movies. She started a review blog, and soon expanded to interviewing filmmakers and covering festivals. She’s here to fight the misconception that a critic’s role is simply to declare a film good or bad; she’s all about the nuance. We’re happy to welcome her to our ranks. The pay’s not as good, but the job is a gas.

—Johanna Schneller

The TFCA is extremely grateful to founding sponsor Rogers Communications for the Rogers Best Canadian Film Award, to returning sponsors Labatt for the Stella Artois Jay Scott Prize for an emerging artist, and to Cineplex Entertainment for the awards cocktail reception. The TFCA welcomed new sponsor Netflix as the official dinner sponsor and Company 3 for the Company 3 Clyde Gilmour Award. The TFCA also thanks sponsors The Omni King Edward Hotel and G.H. Mumm Champagne, and salutes stalwart supporters Zoomer Magazine, Chairman Mills and TAXI Toronto. The TFCA is grateful to AV-Canada, L-Eat Catering, Reel Medics in Motion, Sarah Melissa Designs and The Printing House.