‘Titane’, ‘The Power of the Dog’, and ‘Mass’ big winners of Pandora International Film Critics Awards!

As I mentioned last week, I am a voting member of the Pandora International Critics this year, and this week we have been voting on the best films of 2021. Now voting is over, and here are all the winners!

ENSEMBLE CAST

  • WINNER: Mass
    • CODA
    • Dune
    • The French Dispatch
    • The Harder They Fall

A difficult one to argue with, Mass features four amazing actors –Jason Isaacs, Reed Birney, Ann Dowd, and Martha Plimpton– as the parents of a school shooter and one of his victims, all four of them are forces to be reckoned with.

SONG COMPOSING

  • WINNER: “No Time to Die” (No Time to Die)
    • “Be Alive” (King Richard)
    • “Beyond the Shore” (CODA)
    • “Dos Oruguitas” (Encanto)
    • “So May We Start” (Annette)

ACTING BREAKTHROUGH

  • WINNER: Agathe Rousselle (Titane)
    • Alana Haim (Licorice Pizza)
    • Emilia Jones (CODA)
    • Woody Norman (C’mon C’mon)
    • Rachel Sennett (Shiva Baby)
    • Rachel Zegler (West Side Story)

I know breakthrough awards are for newcomers, but once you’ve seen Titane and then once you find out that Rousselle’s deeply committed performance is her film debut, you’ll be even more astounded.

EDITING

  • WINNER: Titane
    • Dune
    • The Power of the Dog
    • Spencer
    • West Side Story

ACTOR LEAD

  • WINNER: Hidetoshi Nishijima (Drive My Car)
    • Nicolas Cage (Pig)
    • Benedict Cumberbatch (The Power of the Dog)
    • Andrew Garfield (tick, tick… BOOM!)
    • Dev Patel (The Green Knight)

This category is an impossible choice, but Drive My Car (full dsiclosure: the only one of these that I haven’t seen) is being hailed as a masterpiece.

SOUND DESIGN

  • WINNER: Dune
    • The Green Knight
    • No Time to Die
    • Spencer
    • tick, tick… BOOM!
    • West Side Story

A hard choice to argue with, but on a technical level Dune is masterful and I fully expect it to take home a ton of awards this season.

FILMMAKING BREAKTHROUGH

  • WINNER: Maggie Gyllenhaal (The Lost Daughter)
    • Rebecca Hall (Passing)
    • Fran Kranz (Mass)
    • Michael Sarnoski (Pig)
    • Emma Seligman (Shiva Baby)

Not going to lie: this isn’t my first choice, but the reality is that there are no bad choices in this category and that Maggie Gyllenhaal’s The Lost Daughter is a wonderful film with a lovely, sensitive directorial touch.

SCORE COMPOSING

  • WINNER: Jonny Greenwood (The Power of the Dog)
    • Alexandre Desplat (The French Dispatch)
    • Jonny Greenwood (Spencer)
    • Daniel Hart (The Green Knight)
    • Hans Zimmer (Dune)

Jonny Greenwood is having a hell of a year, and the truth is that both of his nominations for best score are fully deserved.

ACTRESS LEAD

  • WINNER: Renate Reinsve (The Worst Person In The World)
    • Olivia Colman (The Lost Daughter)
    • Penélope Cruz (Parallel Mothers)
    • Kristen Stewart (Spencer)
    • Tessa Thompson (Passing)

Now this feels like an upset. Not an undeserving one, to be clear, but while The Worst Person in the World is cricitally lauded, Colman, Cruz, Thompson, and Stewart especially are so high profile with so much buzz this almost feels like it came out of nowhere.

SET DESIGN

  • WINNER: The French Dispatch
    • Dune
    • Nightmare Alley
    • Spencer
    • West Side Story

A Wes Anderson film winning for best set design feels like the least surprising thing in the world. With their combination of precision and whimsy, one can never argue that his films aren’t aesthetically amazing.

DOCUMENTARY MOTION PICTURE

  • WINNER: Flee
    • The Rescue
    • The Sparks Brothers
    • Summer of Soul
    • Val

Flee is such a unique twist on the documentary, animating the memories of a young man who escaped Afghanistan and fled to Denmark as a refugee. It is powerful stuff, made more powerful by its medium.

ANIMATED MOTION PICTURE

  • WINNER: Flee
    • Belle
    • Encanto
    • Luca
    • The Mitchells vs the Machines
    • Raya and the Last Dragon

Yes, in addition to being a powerful documentary, Feel is also one of the best animated films of the year, and as mentioned above it is a story made more poweful via the medium of animation. My personal choice aside, it’s hard to argue with this choice for a winner.

COSTUME DESIGN

  • WINNER: Jenny Beavan for Cruella
    • Dune
    • The Green Knight
    • Spencer
    • West Side Story

HAIR & MAKEUP

  • WINNER: Cruella
    • Dune
    • The Eyes of Tammy Faye
    • The Green Knight
    • Spencer

Say what you will about Cruella (I, for one, loved it) but there’s no denying that it was 100% on point when it comes to the 60s fashion and makeup. Is it winning for the most design? Maybe, but sometimes that’s appropriate!

Jenny Beavan has two oscars under her belt for A Room with a View and Mad Max: Fury Road, and I sincenerely hope she gets the costume design nod at further awards shows this season.

SPECIAL EFFECTS

  • WINNER: Dune
    • Godzilla vs Kong
    • The Matrix Resurrections
    • No Time To Die
    • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

While all the nominees in this category are good, Dune is still on a whole other level, technically speaking. There is no single frame that isn’t photorealistic in this entire movie, and the movie has a ton of space ships and a giant worms. It is, in a word, an achievment.

ENGLISH LANGUAGE MOTION PICTURE

  • WINNER: The Power of the Dog
    • Dune
    • The French Dispatch
    • The Green Knight
    • Mass
    • Pig
    • Passing
    • Spencer

Surprising no one, The Power of the Dog takes home the secodn biggest award of the night (reminder: Pandora International Critics is an international body). At this point if you haven’t seen it, you should definitely see it, and it’s on Netflix so definitly go see it.

ACTRESS SUPPORT

  • WINNER: Ruth Negga (Passing)
    • Ariana DeBose (West Side Story)
    • Ann Dowd (Mass)
    • Kirsten Dunst (The Power of the Dog)
    • Aunjanue Ellis (King Richard)
    • Martha Plimpton (Mass)

While Ruth Negga’s win took me by surprise, that’s not to say she didn’t put in an excellent performance. Passing is a film anchored by two amazing performances but her turn as a black woman passing for white in a time and place that hates black people inspired.

CINEMATOGRAPHY

  • WINNER: Ari Wegner for The Power of the Dog
    • Dune
    • The Green Knight
    • Spencer
    • The Tragedy of Macbeth

Another win that should surprise no one, as The Power of the Dog is a gorgeously shot film. Ari Wegner is on a hell of a streak of amazing work and I’m happy we have recognized her as the best of this year.

ACTOR SUPPORT

  • WINNER: Jason Isaacs (Mass)
    • Anders Danielsen Lie (The Worst Person in the World)
    • Colman Domingo (Zola)
    • Troy Kostur (CODA)
    • Vincent Lindon (Titane)
    • Kodi Smit-McPhee (The Power of the Dog)

It is shocking to me that Jason Isaacs is the only cast member who won for Mass, but if you were going to choose just one of them to win it would probably be him. His performance is intense and heartbreaking.

SCREENWRITING ADAPTED

  • WINNER: Ryusuke Hamaguchi, Takamasa Oe (Drive My Car)
    • Sian Heder (CODA)
    • Maggie Gyllenhaal (The Lost Daughter)
    • Rebecca Hall (Passing)
    • Jane Campion (The Power of the Dog)

SCREENWRITING ORIGINAL

  • WINNER: Fran Kranz (Mass)
    • Kenneth Branagh (Belfast)
    • Pedro Almodóvar (Parallel Mothers)
    • Steven Knight (Spencer)
    • Julia Ducournau (Titane)
    • Eskil Vogt, ‎Joachim Trier (The Worst Person in the World)

It’s interseting how my own preconceptions about Fran Kranz, one of the nerds from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Dollhouse, would have kept me from ever expecting Mass to be so beautifully written (and directed) but that just shows to go you friends, never judge a book by its cover.

DIRECTING

  • WINNER: Julia Ducournau (Titane)
    • Jane Campion (The Power of the Dog)
    • Ryusuke Hamaguchi (Drive My Car)
    • Pablo Larraín (Spencer)
    • Denis Villeneuve (Dune)

INTERNATIONAL MOTION PICTURE

  • WINNER: Titane
    • A Hero
    • Drive My Car
    • Flee
    • The Hand of God
    • Identifying Features
    • Lamb
    • Parallel Mothers
    • Petite Maman
    • The Worst Person in the World

This feels like an upset because it feels like it might be Jane Campion’s year, but what an upset. Julia Ducournau’s Titane is a hell of a film, and her voice as a director comes through in every frame. Dark, sensual, hilarious, absurd, and sweet, it’s easy to to say both that she is the best director, and her film the best film, of 2021.


So there you have it, how the 36 voting members of the Pandora International Critics felt about film in 2021. Titane was the big winner with four awards. Interestingly, despite 11 nominations Spencer didn’t take home a single award.

For those of you keeping track here are the winningest films:

  • Titane (4 wins)
  • Mass and The Power of the Dog (3 wins each)
  • Cruella, Drive My Car, Dune, and Flee (2 wins each)

For more details, you can read the original winners announcement here.


Support:

Like this? Please consider supporting us via Patreon, Ko-Fi, or PayPal.

Patreon
Paypal