‘The Power of the Dog’ tops SF Bay Area Critics Circle’s awards

Benedict Cumberbatch and Kodi Smit-McPhee were honored for their performances in "The Power of the Dog." (Photo courtesy Netflix)

Netflix’s dark, brooding Gothic Western “The Power of the Dog” dominated in the San Francisco Bay Area Film Critics Circle’s selection of the best of 2021 film. 

Announced Monday, the consortium of 40+ critics spanning the Bay Area expressed huge adoration for Jane Campion’s critical favorite, rewarding it with a commanding eight awards. 

“Dog” and Netflix left other contenders, including “Drive My Car” and “West Side Story,” in the proverbial dust with the group awarding “The Piano’s” Campion with two awards, for best director and best adapted screenplay. Netflix collected trophies in all the major categories. 

Olivia Colman nabbed best actress honors for her haunted performance as a vacationer captivated and obsessed by another family in Netflix’s “The Lost Daughter.”

Berkeley resident Rita Moreno — seen here in Spielberg’s “West Side Story” — received the Marlon Riggs Award. (Photo courtesy 20th Century Studios)

Two winners — not associated with “Dog” — with Bay Area ties received honors as well. 

Beloved EGOT icon Rita Moreno, who lives in Berkeley, received the group’s annual Marlon Riggs Award, bestowed on someone who demonstrates courage and innovation in the Bay Area film community. The spirited and multitalented 90-year-old Moreno was not only the subject of this year’s enlightening documentary “Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go for It” but she also costarred in Steven Spielberg’s lavish update of a musical that earned her an Oscar, “West Side Story.”

Berkeley native Mike Mills was singled out for his “C’mon C’mon” screenplay. (Photo courtesy A24)

The group also awarded Berkeley native and filmmaker Mike Mills for his wise and tenderhearted screenplay for “C’mon C’mon.”

Another staple of the group — the Special Citation Award (which honors indie gems) — came up with two winners, director Myriam Verreault’s “Kuessipan,” a beautiful portrait of the friendship between two female friends on a Quebec Innu reservation, and Shatara Michelle Ford’s powerful and relevant “Test Pattern,” an intense drama about a Black woman’s ordeal to get a rape kit. Both are available to stream.

Kirsten Dunst’s challenging performance in “Power of the Dog” earned her the supporting actress honor. (Photo courtesy Netflix)

2021 San Francisco Bay Area Film Critics Circle Award winners

Here’s a complete list of the winners:

Best Picture: “The Power of the Dog”

Best Director: Jane Campion, “The Power of the Dog”

Best Original Screenplay: Mike Mills, “C’mon C’mon”

Best Adapted Screenplay: Jane Campion, “The Power of the Dog”

Best Actor: Benedict Cumberbatch, “The Power of the Dog”

Best Actress: Olivia Colman, “The Lost Daughter”

Best Supporting Actor: Kodi Smit-McPhee, “The Power of the Dog”

Best Supporting Actress: Kirsten Dunst, “The Power of the Dog”

Best Animated Feature: “Encanto” Honorable Mention: “Flee”

Best International Feature Film: “Drive My Car”

Best Documentary Feature: “Summer of Soul”

Best Cinematography: Bruno Delbonnel, “The Tragedy of Macbeth”

Best Production Design: Tamara Deverell, “Nightmare Alley”

Best Film Editing: Peter Sciberras, “The Power of the Dog”

Best Original Score: Jonny Greenwood, “The Power of the Dog”

Special Citation for Independent Cinema: “Kuessipan,” “Test Pattern”

Marlon Riggs Award: Rita Moreno


Randy Myers is a San Francisco Bay Area Film Critics Circle member and former president of the group.

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