Chicagocentric “Big Sick” wins Critics Choice Award

Gordon and Nanjiani and in "The Big Sick"

Gordon and Nanjiani and in “The Big Sick”

Chicago once again proved that the city possesses a great wealth of talent as comedian and actor Kumail Nanjiani and wife, writer Emily V. Gordon, took home Best Comedy for their addictive interracial romantic comedy, The Big Sick, at the 233rd Annual Critics Choice Awards in Los Angeles.

The awards are bestowed annually by the BFCA and BTJA to honor the finest in cinematic and television achievement. The BFCA is the largest film critics’ organization in the United States and Canada, representing more than 300 television, radio and online critics. Historically, the awards are the most accurate predictor of the Academy Award nominations.

If you haven’t seen it (shame on you), the film, which was shot in Chicago, is loosely based on the real-life romance between Nanjiani and Gordon, as it follows an interracial couple who must deal with cultural differences after Emily (played by Zoe Kazan in the film) becomes severely ill and is placed into a coma.

"The Big Sick"
“The Big Sick”

Also Read: Chicagoans shine at Golden Globes

During his acceptance speech, Nanjiani said, “We’re very happy that our movie is coming out in a year where Hollywood is having a lot of difficult conversations with itself, and we’re amplifying voices that have been silenced for too long… And I think as men, we have been talking for centuries. It’s time for us to shut up, listen and amplify.”

Repeating her win from Sunday night’s Golden Globes, Highland Park’s Rachel Brosnahan won Best Actress in a TV Comedy for her portrayal of a 1958 New York City housewife who discovers she has a knack for stand-up comedy in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. The series’ pilot premiered as a part of Amazon Studios’ spring pilot season on March 17, 2017, to critical acclaim. And that acclaim now seems to be translating into award wins for the actress.

Rachel Brosnahan
Rachel Brosnahan

During her acceptance, Brosnahan reminded everyone not to “lose focus” on the #TimesUp initiative, a recently-created legal fund to fight sexual harassment.

The other Chicagoan taking home an award last night was Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri’s Frances McDormand who now makes a serious case to win an Oscar. McDormand won Best Actress for her portrayal of a mother who, when the police in her town fail to find a suspect in her daughter’s murder, rents three billboards to call public attention to the unsolved crime, polarizing the community.

McDormand beat out Jessica Chastain (Molly’s Game), Sally Hawkins (The Shape of Water), Meryl Streep (The Post), Margot Robbie (I, Tonya) and Sairose Ronan (Lady Bird). Robbie did win Best Actress in a Comedy for her portrayal of Tonya Harding.

Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson in "Three Billboards..."
Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson in “Three Billboards…”

Other winners included the excellent (and my favorite film of the year) The Shape of Water which won Best Picture. Guillermo Del Toro also took home the award for Best Director. The most nominated film of the evening, the film also took home Best Production Design for Paul Denham Austerberry, Shane Vieau and Jeff Melvin, and Best Score for Alexandre Desplat.

Wonder Woman won (say that three times fast) Best Action Film and HBO’s Big Little Lies and Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale continue to remain unbeatable when nominated in their respective categories.

As previously announced, Gal Gadot received the #SeeHer Award presented by the Association of National Advertisers in conjunction with The CW Network. Gadot accepted the award from her Wonder Woman director, Patty Jenkins.

The show, which was broadcast on The CW, did not seem as political this time as most of the actresses chose not to wear the symbolic black dresses as they did to support #TimesUp on Sunday’s Globe broadcast.

James Franco was not there to pick up another Best Actor in a Comedy award amid new sexual misconduct allegations. Gary Oldman ended up winning for Darkest Hour in the Best Actor category (Franco was nominated), also repeating his win from Sunday night’s Globes.

A full list of winners can be seen here.

Contact Colin Costello at or follow him on Twitter @colincostello10.