Utah film critics pick immigrant drama ‘Minari,’ directed by a University of Utah alumnus, as 2020’s best movie

“One Night in Miami,” “Nomadland” and “The Trial of the Chicago 7″ each win two categories.

(David Bornfriend | A24) Steven Yeun, foreground, plays the patriarch of a Korean-American family starting a farm in Arkansas, in writer-director Lee Isaac Chung's drama "Minari." The Utah Film Critics Association named "Minari" the best movie of 2020.

“Minari,” a drama about Korean immigrants written and directed by University of Utah alumnus Lee Isaac Chung, was picked as the year’s best movie by the Utah Film Critics Association.

Chung was picked as runner-up in the director category, and the movie was runner-up for Steven Yeun’s lead performance as the family’s patriarch and Youn Yuh-Jung’s supporting turn as the family’s card-playing grandma.

“Minari,” which follows a Korean immigrant couple and their family to an Arkansas farm during the Reagan years, won both the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. It’s nominated for a Golden Globe in the Foreign Language Film category, and is considered a contender for Academy Awards.

Sixteen members of the Utah Film Critics Association gathered Feb. 13 via teleconference to vote for the winners.

Oscar-winning actress Regina King won the directing prize, for her debut “One Night in Miami…,” which dramatizes a famous meeting in 1964 among Black activist Malcolm X, boxer Muhammad Ali, football star Jim Brown and singer Sam Cooke. The Utah critics gave the prize for supporting actor to Leslie Odom Jr., who played Cooke in the film.

Riz Ahmed received the award for best actor, for his portrayal of a rock drummer going deaf in “Sound of Metal.” Yeun and the late Chadwick Boseman, who in his final role plays a self-assured jazz trumpeter in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” shared the runner-up spot.

Frances McDormand received top honors for lead actress for her performance as a woman living in her van in “Nomadland,” which also won an award for Joshua James Richards’ cinematography. Carey Mulligan won runner-up for lead actress, for playing a medical-school dropout seeking revenge in “Promising Young Woman.”

In the supporting actress category, Bulgarian actress Maria Bakalova received the award for the comedy “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm,” playing the daughter of Sacha Baron Cohen’s clueless Kazakh journalist. The movie features a notorious scene in which Bakalova’s character ends up in a hotel bedroom with former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani.

The Vice/Martin Award — given to an outstanding performance in the science fiction, horror or fantasy genres — went to Elisabeth Moss for “The Invisible Man,” as a woman trying to escape an abusive relationship with an engineer who develops invisibility technology. The award is named for two deceased Utah movie critics, Jeff Vice and Jimmy Martin.

Here is the full list of winners:

Picture: “Minari.” Runner-up: “Soul.”

Director: Regina King, “One Night in Miami...” Runner-up: Lee Isaac Chung, “Minari.”

Actor: Riz Ahmed, “Sound of Metal.” Runners-up (tie): Chadwick Boseman, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”; Steven Yeun, “Minari.”

Actress: Frances McDormand, “Nomadland.” Runner-up: Carey Mulligan, “Promising Young Woman.”

Supporting Actor: Leslie Odom Jr., “One Night in Miami...” Runner-up: Daniel Kaluuya, “Judas and the Black Messiah.”

Supporting Actress: Maria Bakalova, “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm.” Runner-up: Youn Yuh-Jung, “Minari.”

Vice/Martin Award (for outstanding performance in a science fiction, horror or fantasy film): Elisabeth Moss, “The Invisible Man.” Runner-up: Cristin Milioti, “Palm Springs.”

Original Screenplay: Aaron Sorkin, “The Trial of the Chicago 7.” Runner-up: Emerald Fennell, “Promising Young Woman.”

Adapted Screenplay: Charlie Kaufman, “I’m Thinking of Ending Things.” Runner-up: Kemp Powers, “One Night in Miami...”

Cinematography: Joshua James Richards, “Nomadland.” Runner-up: Lukasz Zal, “I’m Thinking of Ending Things.”

Score: Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, “Soul.” Runner-up: Ludwig Göransson, “Tenet.”

Editing: Alan Baumgarten, “The Trial of the Chicago 7.” Runners-up (tie): Mikkel E.G. Nielsen, “Sound of Metal”; Jennifer Lame, “Tenet.”

Documentary: “Dick Johnson Is Dead.” Runner-up: “Time.”

Animated feature: “Wolfwalkers.” Runner-up: “Soul.”

Non-English Language Feature: “Another Round.” Runner-up: “Bacarau.”

Editor’s note: Tribune reporter Sean P. Means is a member of the Utah Film Critics Association.