‘Harriet’ ‘Portrait of a Lady on Fire’ and ‘Little Women’ Win Women Film Critics Circle 2019 Awards

Director Kasi Lemmons was dedicated to telling the impactful story of a woman who put herself in great peril throughout her life to help change the world and her stunning movie Harriet, reflects this commitment to storytelling with rapt attention to detail.

In what is just the start of the award’s season, Lemmon’s direction, the overall movie, and the nuanced performances, including Cynthia Erivo in the title role, is garnering major attention.

Based on the thrilling and inspirational life of an iconic American freedom fighter, Harriet tells the extraordinary tale of Harriet Tubman’s escape from slavery and transformation into one of the nation’s greatest heroes. Her courage, integrity, and tenacity freed hundreds of slaves and changed the course of history.

“We all saw it as a female empowerment film, but I [also] viewed it as an adventure film,” Lemmons said. “I was interested in the things that you don’t know about Harriet Tubman. Even though we have in our minds that this must have been an incredibly fierce human being, the images we see of her are almost sweet, right? This was an opportunity for me to present this superhero, a real American hero, this woman that existed outside of the realm of ordinary limitations.”

The Women Film Critics Circle has just announced its 2019 winners and honored Harriet with several awards, including Best Movie By A Woman, Best Actress for Cynthia Erivo, and two special awards for Lemmons:  the Josephine Baker Award for best expressing the woman of color experience in America, and the Karen Morley Award for best exemplifying a woman’s place in history or society, and a courageous search for identity.

[Cynthia Erivo stars in Harriet, directed by Kasi Lemmons]

Here is a list of the 2019 Women Critics Circle Awards:

BEST MOVIE ABOUT WOMEN

Portrait of a Lady on Fire (dir. Céline Sciamma)

Runner-up: Little Women (dir. Greta Gerwig)

BEST MOVIE BY A WOMAN

Harriet (dir. Kasi Lemmons)

Runner-up: Portrait of a Lady on Fire (dir. Céline Sciamma)

[Emma Watson, Saoirse Ronan, Eliza Scanlen, and Florence Pugh in Little Women, directed by Greta Gerwig]

BEST WOMAN STORYTELLER (Screenwriting Award)

Greta Gerwig (Little Women)

Runner-up: Céline Sciamma (Portrait of a Lady on Fire) 

BEST ACTRESS

Tie: Cynthia Erivo (Harriet) and Lupita Nyong’o (US)

Runner-up: Renée Zellweger (Judy)

BEST ACTOR

Adam Driver (Marriage Story)

Runner-up: Joaquin Phoenix (Joker)

BEST FOREIGN FILM BY OR ABOUT WOMEN

Portrait of a Lady on Fire (dir. Céline Sciamma)

Runner-up: Atlantics (dir. Mati Diop)

BEST DOCUMENTARY BY OR ABOUT WOMEN

Varda by Agnès (dir. Agnès Varda)

Runner-ups: Maiden (dir. Alex Holmes) and Honeyland (dir. Tamara Kotevska, Ljubo Stefanov)

BEST EQUALITY OF THE SEXES

Marriage Story

Runner-up: The Aeronauts

BEST ANIMATED FEMALE

Anna (Frozen 2)

Runner-up: Bo Peep (Toy Story 4)

BEST SCREEN COUPLE

Tie: Portrait of a Lady on Fire (Noémie Merlant/Adèle Haenel) and Marriage Story (Scarlett Johansson/Adam Driver)

Runner-up: Hustlers (Jennifer Lopez/Constance Wu)

ADRIENNE SHELLY AWARD – For a film that most passionately opposes violence against women

Tie: Bombshell (dir. Jay Roach) and The Nightingale (dir. Jennifer Kent)

Runner-up: Hustlers (dir. Lorene Scafaria)

JOSEPHINE BAKER AWARD – For best expressing the woman of color experience in America

Harriet (dir. Kasi Lemmons)

Runner-up: Queen & Slim (dir. Melina Matsoukas)

KAREN MORLEY AWARD – For best exemplifying a woman’s place in history or society, and a courageous search for identity

Harriet (dir. Kasi Lemmons)

Runner-up: Little Women (dir. Greta Gerwig)

ACTING AND ACTIVISM AWARD

Jane Fonda

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

Alfre Woodard 

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