By Nick Romano
January 05, 2019 at 05:01 PM EST
Credit: Caviar/Highwayman Films/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock

The Rider

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A few votes made the difference when the National Society of Film Critics assembled to name the best film of 2018. That distinction, as formally revealed on Saturday, goes to the second feature from indie directing talent Chloé Zhao, The Rider.

Brady Jandreau’s story of a rising rodeo star sidelined because of an accident inspired the film, and Jandreau also stars as the lead, cowboy Brady Blackburn. The Rider went unnoticed by most mainstream audiences, but it quietly earned honors from the Cannes Film Festival, nominations from the Independent Spirit Awards, and titles from various other critics circles.

The Rider was named Best Picture by the National Society of Film Critics with 44 votes, compared to the 41 votes that went to Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma. Cuarón, however, earned Best Director and Best Cinematography.

As for the acting awards, Olivia Colman reaffirmed herself a frontrunner this awards season in winning Best Actress for her performance in The Favourite. Ethan Hawke, another one to keep on your radar, was named Best Actor for First Reformed, while If Beale Street Could Talk‘s Regina King and Burning‘s Steven Yeun each received their respective supporting actress and actor wins.

See the winners below.

Best Picture: The Rider, dir. Chloé Zhao
Runners-up: Roma (dir. Alfonso Cuarón), Burning (dir. Lee Chang-dong)

Best Director: Alfonso Cuarón, Roma
Runners-up: Lee Chang-dong (Burning), Chloé Zhao (The Rider)

Best Actress: Olivia Colman, The Favourite
Runners-up: Regina Hall (Support the Girls), Melissa McCarthy (Can You Ever Forgive Me?)

Best Actor: Ethan Hawke, First Reformed
Runners-up: Willem Dafoe (At Eternity’s Gate), Ben Foster (Leave No Trace), John C. Reilly (The Sisters Brothers and Stan & Ollie)

Best Supporting Actress: Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk
Runners-up: Elizabeth Debicki (Widows), Emma Stone (The Favourite)

Best Supporting Actor: Steven Yeun, Burning
Runners-up: Richard E. Grant (Can You Ever Forgive Me?), Brian Tyree Henry (If Beale Street Could Talk, Widows, and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse)

Best Screenplay: Armando Iannucci, David Schneider, and Ian Martin, The Death of Stalin
Runners-up: Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty (Can You Ever Forgive Me?), Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara (The Favourite)

Best Cinematography: Alfonso Cuarón, Roma
Runners-up: James Laxton (If Beale Street Could Talk), Lukasz Zal (Cold War)

Best Foreign Language Film: Roma (Alfonso Cuarón)
Runners-up: Cold War (Paweł Pawlikowski), Burning (Lee Chang-dong), Shoplifters (Hirokazu Kore-eda)

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The Rider

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