AWFJ Announces 2021 EDA Award Winners – Jennifer Merin reports

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The Alliance of Women Film Journalists is pleased to announce the winners of the 2021 AWFJ EDA Awards. In our 15th annual awards season, we present EDA Awards in 25 categories divided into three sections, the BEST OF AWARDS, FEMALE FOCUS AWARDS AND EDA SPECIAL MENTION AWARDS. Nominees in each category are determined by AWFJ’ members who submit nominating ballots. This season, there were 98 voting AWFJ members. The full membership list is accessible here. The roster of nominees in all categories is accessible here.

Although the film industry was plagued by the pandemic, 2021 turned out to be a rather magnificent year for movies — especially for films made by and about women. The Alliance of Women Film Journalists is delighted to note that last year’s crop of brilliant femme-helmed and femme-centric films are getting the awards recognition they deserve — as shown in our list of EDA Award winners, and in films and talent on our roster of nominees, as well as in awards presented by other film critics’ groups.

We hope that the industry’s awards-presenting groups will honor women filmmakers, too. And we hope that this year will be as rich as last year in the proliferation of femme-helmed and femme centric films that will offer us the opportunity to honor them on’s Movie of the Week and in our 2022 year end EDA Awards.

And the 2021 EDA Award winners are:
These awards are presented to women and/or men without gender consideration.

Best Film


Best Director

  • Jane Campion – THE POWER OF THE DOG

Best Screenplay, Original

  • BELFAST – Kenneth Branagh

Best Screenplay, Adapted

  • THE POWER OF THE DOG – Jane Campion

Best Documentary (tie)

  • FLEE

Best Animated Film (tie)


Best Actress

  • Olivia Colman – THE LOST DAUGHTER

Best Actress in a Supporting Role

  • Kirsten Dunst – THE POWER OF THE DOG

Best Actor

  • Benedict Cumberbatch – THE POWER OF THE DOG

Best Actor in a Supporting Role

  • Kodi Smit-McFee – THE POWER OF THE DOG

Best Ensemble Cast – Casting Director (tie)

  • THE POWER OF THE DOG – Nikki Barrett, Tina Cleary, Carmen Cuba, Nina Gold

Best Cinematography

  • THE POWER OF THE DOG – Ari Wegner

Best Editing

  • THE POWER OF THE DOG – Peter Sciberras

Best Non-English-Language Film

  • DRIVE MY CAR – Japan

These awards honor WOMEN only, excluding women who’ve won the same category in the Best of Awards.

Best Woman Director

  • Jane Campion – THE POWER OF THE DOG

Best Woman Screenwriter

  • Jane Campion – THE POWER OF THE DOG

Best Animated Female

  • Mirabel in ENCANTO, Stephanie Beatriz

Best Woman’s Breakthrough Performance

  • Emilia Jones – CODA

Outstanding Achievement by A Woman in The Film Industry

  • Maya Cade – Creation of the Black Cinema Archive


Grand Dame Award for defying agism.

  • Dame Judi Dench – BELFAST

Most Egregious Lovers’ Age Difference Award

  • NO TIME TO DIE – Daniel Craig (53) and Lea Seydoux (36)

She Deserves A New Agent Award

  • Melissa McCarthy – THE STARLING

Most Daring Performance Award

  • Agatha Rouselle – TITANE

Time Waster Remake or Sequel Award


AWFJ Hall of Shame Award

  • Producers and crew of RUST for not following proper safety protocol and causing the tragic death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.
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Jennifer Merin

Jennifer Merin is the Film Critic for Womens eNews and contributes the CINEMA CITIZEN blog for and is managing editor for Women on Film, the online magazine of the Alliance of Women Film Journalists, of which she is President. She has served as a regular critic and film-related interviewer for The New York Press and She has written about entertainment for USA Today, The L.A. Times, US Magazine, Ms. Magazine, Endless Vacation Magazine, Daily News, New York Post, SoHo News and other publications. After receiving her MFA from Tisch School of the Arts (Grad Acting), Jennifer performed at the O'Neill Theater Center's Playwrights Conference, Long Wharf Theater, American Place Theatre and LaMamma, where she worked with renown Japanese director, Shuji Terayama. She subsequently joined Terayama's theater company in Tokyo, where she also acted in films. Her journalism career began when she was asked to write about Terayama for The Drama Review. She became a regular contributor to the Christian Science Monitor after writing an article about Marketta Kimbrell's Theater For The Forgotten, with which she was performing at the time. She was an O'Neill Theater Center National Critics' Institute Fellow, and then became the institute's Coordinator. While teaching at the Universities of Wisconsin and Rhode Island, she wrote "A Directory of Festivals of Theater, Dance and Folklore Around the World," published by the International Theater Institute. Denmark's Odin Teatret's director, Eugenio Barba, wrote his manifesto in the form of a letter to "Dear Jennifer Merin," which has been published around the world, in languages as diverse as Farsi and Romanian. Jennifer's culturally-oriented travel column began in the LA Times in 1984, then moved to The Associated Press, LA Times Syndicate, Tribune Media, Creators Syndicate and (currently) Arcamax Publishing. She's been news writer/editor for ABC Radio Networks, on-air reporter for NBC, CBS Radio and, currently, for Westwood One's America In the Morning. She is a member of the Critics Choice Association in the Film, Documentary and TV branches and a voting member of the Black Reel Awards. For her AWFJ archive, type "Jennifer Merin" in the Search Box (upper right corner of screen).