A new critics group can potentially struggle to separate themselves from the pack. Thankfully, the Hollywood Critics Association (or HCA, for short) does not have that problem. Chairman and founder Scott Menzel (full disclosure, an industry colleague and friend of mine) has managed to do a lot in a very small amount of time. So, when the Hollywood Critics Association hands out their awards, they’re very much worth paying attention to. This time around, they’re announcing in waves, with this first wave for the 4th Annual HCA Awards Ceremony citing their honorary awards. Among the citations are Sidney Flanigan and Aubrey Plaza, which are inspired choices. Read on for more…
Here’s the HCA press release:
The Hollywood Critics Association (HCA) announced today their first wave of honorary awards for the 4th Annual HCA Awards Ceremony taking place in Los Angeles on March 5, 2021.
Each year, the HCA presents a series of honorary awards highlighting actors, filmmakers, and artisans whose impressive work for the year demands recognition. “Even in this strange and unusual year, there is so much to celebrate in terms of achievements in cinema. 2020 offered the world a wide variety of films with a big focus on inclusivity and underrepresented voices,” notes HCA’s Vice-Chair Ashley Menzel.
As an organization, the HCA has always made it part of their mission to be inclusive, not only with their membership but also with the talent they embrace each and every year. “When you hear about the lack of representation in the entertainment industry, that is something that we as an organization take very seriously. This organization has always taken great pride in being inclusive since day one. We believe that natural inclusivity has always been and will continue to be reflective in all of our nominees, winners, and honorees,” adds HCA Chairman Scott Menzel.
Two-time Oscar-nominated cinematographer Dante Spinotti (Fatale, Black and Blue, Heat) will receive the organization’s first-ever “Timeless Award,” which is their take on the Lifetime Achievement Award. Sound of Metal’s Paul Raci will be honored with “Breakthrough Performance Actor” while Cristin Milioti will receive “Breakthrough Performance Actress” for her role in Neon and Hulu’s existential comedy, Palm Springs.
This year’s “Acting Achievement Award” will go to Aubrey Plaza for her tour-de-force performance in Momentum Pictures’ Black Bear. Nicole Beharie will receive this year’s “Game-Changer Award” for her profound performance in Channing Godfrey Peoples’ Miss Juneteenth. Academy Award-winning composers Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross will be honored with the “Artisan Achievement Award” for their work on Pixar’s Soul and Netflix’s Mank. Both scores by Reznor and Ross are amongst the most memorable scores of 2020.
Keeping up with the tradition of previous years, the HCA special honors will celebrate and highlight the work of many new or up and coming actors. “There was no shortage of great performances in 2020 and we are pleased to be able to highlight some of the spectacular new talents,” says HCA President Nestor Bentancor.
Sidney Flanigan, the star of Eliza Hittman’s critically acclaimed Never Rarely Sometimes Always, will be receiving the “HCA’s Standout Performance by an Actor or Actress 23 or Under Award”. Run star Kiera Allen will be the recipient of the “Spotlight Award” (formerly known as the Newcomer Award). Jo Ellen Pellman, who stars as Emma Nolan in Ryan Murphy’s film adaptation of The Prom, will receive the “Star on the Rise Award”.
The “Filmmaker on the Rise,” “Artisan on the Rise,” “Filmmaker Achievement,” “Trailblazer,” and “Inspire Award” recipients will be announced in mid-January. A full list of nominations for the HCA Awards will be revealed on February 2, 2021, while the winners will be announced at the ceremony on March 5, 2021.
About the Hollywood Critics Association:
Founded in late 2016, the primary goal of the Hollywood Critics Association is to bring together a passionate group of critics to represent the voices of a new era in Hollywood. Its purpose is to be a critics group that is diverse and supports underrepresented voices.
About Dante Spinotti:
Two-time Oscar nominee and American Society of Cinematographers Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Dante Spinotti’s resume is loaded with gorgeously filmed movies. Oscar-nominated for The Insider and L.A. Confidential, he has also been lauded for his work on Heat and The Last of the Mohicans, both directed by Michael Mann. The internationally renowned cinematographer began his storied and successful career at RAI (Italian TV). He learned the craft from his uncle while growing up in Italy. Spinotti photographed his first film (Manhunter) in America in 1985. Known for his unique vision and signature style, Spinotti soon became one of the most sought after cinematographers in Hollywood. Recently the 77-year-old forged an unlikely friendship and professional relationship with self-taught filmmaker Deon Taylor. The two have worked on three films together. Their latest collaboration, Fatale, features some of Spinotti’s best work to date. Arguably one of the greatest cinematographers of all-time, Spinotti is showing no signs of slowing down as he continues work, creating more cinematic masterpieces.
About Paul Raci:
Paul Raci is best known for his role as Joe in the Sound of Metal (2020), directed by Darius Marder. Paul was born and raised in Chicago by Deaf parents where he honed his acting chops and was nominated for a Jefferson Award for Children of a Lesser God (Immediate Theatre). He also worked with several improvisation companies. In Los Angeles, he has performed in over 12 productions with the acclaimed Deaf West Theater including the award-winning production of David Mamet’s American Buffalo in ASL. A Vietnam veteran, Paul is also a musician and singer with Hands of Doom, an ASL rock, Black Sabbath Tribute band.
About Cristin Milioti:
Cristin Milioti is known for her dramatic, comedic, and musical work on stage, television, and film. Credits include Netflix’s Black Mirror, Noah Hawley’s Fargo for FX, Martin Scorsese’s Wolf of Wallstreet, the Broadway musical Once (for which she won a Grammy Award and was nominated for a Tony), David Bowie’s Lazarus, NBC’s 30 Rock, and Amazon Prime’s limited series, Modern Love. She will star in the forthcoming comedy series Made for Love for HBO Max.
About Sidney Flanigan:
Sidney Flanigan is an actor and musician who hails from Buffalo, New York. Eliza Hittman’s Never Rarely Sometimes Always marks Sidney’s feature film acting debut. Sidney is a graduate of the prestigious Buffalo Academy School of Performing Arts, where she was a music major, and took acting classes at Buffalo State University. As the oldest of three children, Sidney comes from an eclectic, artistic family. Her father was the lead singer of the local rock band The Tosspots, her paternal grandfather was a Bukowski-esque poet, and her maternal grandmother a radical leftist in New York. Sidney is an ardent supporter of Planned Parenthood and has volunteered for the local Buffalo chapter.
About Aubrey Plaza:
Aubrey Plaza is currently starring in Michael Levine’s Black Bear, which she produced, and Clea DuVall’s Happiest Season. She was last seen starring in Ingrid Goes West, which she also produced and won the 2018 Independent Spirit Award for “Best First Feature.” On television, Plaza starred in Noah Hawley’s FX series, Legion and is well known for playing April Ludgate on Parks and Recreation. Additional film credits include: Jeff Baena’s The Little Hours, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates opposite Anna Kendrick and Zac Efron, Dirty Grandpa opposite Robert De Niro, THE TO DO LIST, Colin Trevorrow’s Safety Not Guaranteed opposite Mark Duplass, Edgar Wright’s Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, Judd Apatow’s Funny People, among others. Plaza will next star in Lina Roessler’s Best Sellers opposite Michael Caine and will soon begin production on Guy Richie’s upcoming film opposite Jason Statham.
About Nicole Beharie:
Juilliard graduate Nicole Beharie most recently starred in Channing Godfrey Peoples’ Miss Juneteenth as “Turquoise Jones,” a single mom and former teen beauty queen who enters her daughter into the local Miss Juneteenth pageant. The film premiered at Sundance earlier this year to critical acclaim and earned Nicole a Gotham Award nomination as well as a place in Time Magazine’s 10 Best Movie Performances of 2020. Her additional feature credits include 42, Shame, American Violet, and Monsters and Men. In television, Nicole can most recently be seen in the Hulu limited series Little Fires Everywhere and the “Striking Vipers” episode of the hit Netflix series Black Mirror. Previously, she starred on the FOX supernatural series Sleepy Hollow for three years.
About Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross:
Trent Reznor formed Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees Nine Inch Nails in Ohio in 1988 and, over the next 30 years, proceeded to sell over 30 million records worldwide. The band’s studio albums include the multi-Platinum releases Pretty Hate Machine (1989), The Downward Spiral (1994), and The Fragile (1999), which became the first NIN album to reach #1 on the US Billboard 200, a feat mirrored by With Teeth (2005). The 1992 EP Broken yielded two GRAMMY® awards and also achieved Platinum status.
In 2008, Reznor teamed with Atticus Ross, his now-partner in NIN, and began a prolific career in composing music for film. Their first project, David Fincher’s The Social Network, earned the pair an Oscar® and a Golden Globe®. Reznor and Ross have continued to compose music for a diverse array of film and television projects, including the acclaimed Watchmen series for HBO which earned the duo an Emmy® for Outstanding Music Composition for a series. Reznor and Ross have also scored the new Pixar film, Soul, as well as the score for David Fincher’s film MANK. Both are a testament to the fact that their talents are not beholden to any singular genre.
In 2013, Reznor helped to develop and launch the Beats Music streaming service in his role as Chief Creative Officer. When Apple purchased Beats, the tech giant hired Reznor so that he would stay involved as they built the Apple Music platform, recognizing his value not just to the app, but his unique perspective as an artist. Reznor continues to set stages across the world ablaze with Nine Inch Nails. 2018’s Cold and Black and Infinite tour, in support of the band’s trio of EP releases, was hailed by the Washington Post as “an extra-sensory marvel,” while the record setting six sold out Palladium shows topped LA Weekly’s list of most memorable live shows in Los Angeles in 2018.
In 2019, NIN experienced a pop culture resurgence, reaching a fresh audience through some unlikely sources. In addition to a savvy pairing with Captain Marvel — which saw the superhero donning a vintage NIN shirt throughout much of the film – the band returned to the charts through a clever cover (a pop makeover of “Head Like a Hole” called “On a Roll,” which was performed by fictional pop star Ashley O, depicted by Miley Cyrus in the show Black Mirror) and as co-writers and co-producers on the longest-reigning #1 record in the history of Billboard (“Old Town Road”).
About Kiera Allen:
Kiera Allen made her film acting debut in the Hulu thriller Run where she starred alongside Sarah Paulson. Allen was raised in New York and is currently a Creative Writing student at Columbia University. She appeared in Bekah Brunstetter’s off-Broadway show, Girl #2 in 2017. She has used a wheelchair for mobility since 2014. Allen is only the third female wheelchair-using actress to appear in a suspense film.
About Jo Ellen Pellman:
Jo Ellen Pellman garnered critical praise for her feature film debut performance in Ryan Murphy’s Netflix film The Prom, based on the award-winning musical of the same name. Pellman led an all-star cast including Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, James Corden, Keegan Michael-Key, Kerry Washington, and Ariana DeBose. Prior to the film’s release, Pellman and DeBose created the Unruly Hearts Initiative for anyone who is driven to get help or inspired to be a good ally after watching The Prom on Netflix (https://www.unrulyheartsinitiative.com/about). This initiative connects The Prom’s young audiences with trusted organizations that advocate for the LGBTQ+ community and youth through resources for: Housing Insecurity Solutions, Mental Health Access and Mentorship and Professional Development. Pellman was also named one of OUT’s 100 Most Influential People this year.
Congrats to the honorees!