From Miami Film Festival to the Academy Awards: MFF Winners to Compete at This Year’s Oscars

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We may have closed out the 38th edition of Miami Film Festival yesterday, but we’re still celebrating our 2021 lineup in a big way. Oscar nominations were announced this morning, and we’re so proud to have six Festival winners being recognized at this year’s Academy Awards!

Sound of Metal – which tied for our Audience Award at the 2020 Miami Film Festival GEMS – has officially been marked as an Academy favorite, with nominations for Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Original Screenplay, Best Film Editing, and Best Sound. Miami Film Festival honored Riz Ahmed this past week with our very first IMPACT AWARD for his incisive, brilliant performance as a heavy metal drummer who is losing his hearing in Sound of Metal. And it’s clear that his impact spreads beyond his work shedding light on the recovery community within the deaf community. Today, he became the very first Muslim actor to receive a Best Actor nomination at the Academy Awards.

Then there’s the astounding Andra Day, who received Miami Film Festival’s ART OF LIGHT AWARD for her unforgettable performance as the legendary jazz singer Billie Holiday in The United States Vs. Billie Holiday. Her haunting performance has already garnered her a Golden Globe win for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role, and now, she’s been nominated for Best Actress at this year’s Academy Awards.

And finally there’s the wonderful Joshua James Richards, who was also honored with Miami Film Festival’s ART OF LIGHT AWARD in celebration of his breathtaking cinematography in Chloe Zhao’s Best Picture-nominated film Nomadland. Today, he received his very first Academy Award nomination for Best Cinematography for Nomadland, and is widely believed to be a frontrunner in this category.

Rounding out the Miami Film Festival Academy Award nominees are two films that won big at this year’s edition: The Present, nominated for Best Live Action Short Film at the Oscars and winner of this year’s Miami International Best Short Award at MFF, and Jasmila Žbanić’s Quo Vadis, Aida?, which was nominated for Best International Feature Film at the Academy Awards, and winner of MFF’s top prize, the $25,000 Knight MARIMBAS Award, as well as the Rene Rodriguez Critics Award. In addition to that, three films that were part of the 2020 Miami Film Festival Official Selection also received much-deserved Oscar nominations for Best Documentary: Time, The Mole Agent, and Crip Camp. Crip Camp, which was executive produced by the Obamas, also won the ZENO MOUNTAIN AWARD at our 37th edition.

We’re thrilled to see the Academy recognize the phenomenal work of Riz Ahmed, Joshua James Richards, Andra Day, and all of the Miami Film Festival titles that were part of today’s exciting announcement. We’ll be cheering them on when the winners of the 93rd Academy Awards are revealed on April 25th!

Lauren Cohen

Lauren Cohen is Miami Film Festival's Co-Director of Programming. She also runs the Festival’s membership level for young professionals, CineClub. Learn more about Lauren on Programmers.