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The Hollywood Critics Association is thrilled to announce that Olivia Wilde will be receiving the 3rd Annual HCA Trailblazer Award. The Trailblazer Award was created to highlight and celebrate people within the industry who speak out about important topics and are advocates for change. In the past, Brie Larson and Jessica Chastain were recipients of the Trailblazer Award for their work fighting back against the lack of female filmmakers in the industry, as well as advocating for underrepresented voices in film criticism. 

Olivia Wilde’s directorial debut Booksmart, which has been universally praised by critics and audiences alike, encapsulates several of the core themes that make up the Trailblazer Award. In addition, Wilde has always been a passionate advocate for change and has participated in several women’s marches across the country, while also being a supporter of Planned Parenthood and Time’s Up. Just recently, after discovering that Booksmart had been unfairly edited by a third-party company, Wilde took to Twitter to voice her concerns about the edits. She expressed that she felt like the removed scenes were unfairly censored because they featured “homosexual content.” Within a day, Delta responded, apologized, and restored the original cut of Booksmart to their in-flight video service. 

Richard Jewell star Paul Walter Hauser will be honored with the first-ever HCA Game Changer Award for his exceptional performance as Richard Jewell in Clint Eastwood’s latest film of the same name. HCA’s COO Ashley Menzel states, “Hauser, who has previously appeared in supporting roles in films such as I, Tonya and BlacKkKlansman, has finally been given the opportunity to take the lead, and by doing so, he delivers a nuanced and powerful performance that is sure to turn heads.” 

A surprise award revealed for the first time last year was the Newcomer Award. “The Newcomer Award is a very special award because it not only honors new faces in the industry but those whose work stands for something,” notes HCA Founder Scott Menzel. “Last year, Aneesh Chaganty received the award for his directorial debut Searching, which not only was one of the most inventive films of the year but was the first Hollywood thriller to have an Asian-American actor featured in a leading role.”

This year’s Newcomer Award recipient will be Peanut Butter Falcon star Zack Gottsagen. “One of the primary reasons as to why we created the HCA was to promote representation and bring awareness to diverse and underrepresented voices. This goal goes beyond the realm of criticism, as it applies to all those working in the industry. When thinking of this year’s Newcomer recipient, there was no one else but Zack that we wanted to honor with this award, as his performance is as equally moving as it is authentic,” adds Ashley Menzel. 

Also being added to the ceremony this year is the HCA Star on the Rise Award, which will be presented to Waves star Taylor Russell. “I’ve watched hundreds of films throughout the year, and yet Russell’s performance in Waves left me completely speechless. Her performance in this film is nothing short of extraordinary, as it is as emotionally powerful as it is compelling. She is without question a talent on the rise and I cannot wait to see what she does next,” declares Scott Menzel. 

On December 12, the HCA will be announcing their end of the decade awards, which includes the previously announced Next Generation Award for Kelvin Harrison Jr. These awards are decade-specific and will only happen once every 10 years. The categories for these awards include Actor of the Decade, Actress of the Decade, Filmmaker of the Decade, Producer of the Decade, and the Next Generation Award. 

Michael Sandoval

Michael created MUSE/MUSE TV after a career in professional sports and journalism. Born and raised in Los Angeles, California. He attended Don Bosco Technical Institute in which he studied Electronics and Computer Science and California State University, Fullerton in which he graduated with a degree from the College of Communication in Journalism. He is a big Foo Fighters fan, loves Star Wars and loves photography.