''Bedroom'' and ''Mulholland'' top critics' picks
TROPHY TIME Two more critics groups, in Los Angeles and Boston, issued their yearend awards lists this weekend, with L.A. giving top honors to ”In the Bedroom,” and Boston naming ”Mulholland Drive” best picture. Both groups cited ”Mulholland”’s David Lynch as best director, ”Training Day” villain Denzel Washington as best actor, Christopher Nolan‘s twisty ”Memento” as best screenplay, Roger Deakins‘ black-and-white camerawork for ”The Man Who Wasn’t There” as best cinematography, and Agnes Varda‘s whimsical, meditative ”The Gleaners and I” as best documentary.
The Los Angeles Film Critics Association, which met Saturday, named Sissy Spacek best actress for ”Bedroom,” echoing the choice of the New York Film Critics Circle last week. The L.A. critics honored ”Iris”’ Kate Winslet and Jim Broadbent for supporting performances, with Broadbent also recognized for his supporting work in ”Moulin Rouge.” The Bosnian war satire ”No Man’s Land” was named best foreign film, ”Shrek” was named best animated film, and ”Hedwig and the Angry Inch” star/director/screenwriter/lyricist John Cameron Mitchell won the New Generation award, given to a rising filmmaker. The LAFCA will present the awards at a dinner in Santa Monica on January 22.
The Boston Society of Film Critics, which picked its winners on Sunday and echoed the NYFCC in its top choice of ”Mulholland,” gave ”L.I.E.”’s Michael Cuesta the best new filmmaker award and Brian Cox, who played its eerily sympathetic pedophile, the best actor award (he tied with Washington). Best actress was Tilda Swinton‘s fiercely protective mom in ”The Deep End.” Supporting acting honors went to Ben Kingsley‘s scary thug in ”Sexy Beast” and Cameron Diaz‘s scary sexpot in ”Vanilla Sky.” Best foreign language film was sprawling, pulpy Mexican drama ”Amores Perros.” The BSFC decided again this year not to have an awards banquet, as members didn’t know who might actually show up and didn’t want to let the possibilities for guests influence their awards choices.
What this all means for your office Oscar pool is unclear, except that, with the notable exceptions of Washington and Diaz, the critics have snubbed the big-studio hopefuls (”A Beautiful Mind,” ”Ali,” ”The Majestic,” ”Black Hawk Down”) in favor of independent-minded fare. And while ”Bedroom” and ”Mulholland” have done well, even among the art films favored by critics, heavily promoted indie hopefuls like ”Amelie” and ”The Shipping News” have been ignored in favor of off-the-radar films like Robert Altman‘s ”Gosford Park” (winner of three awards in New York), ”Ghost World” (a runner-up in several categories in L.A. and Boston, and a supporting actor winner for Steve Buscemi in New York), and ”L.I.E.” Don’t expect much clarification on Tuesday, when the Broadcast Film Critics Association, the new critics’ group on the awards block, announces its picks.
SOUND BITES Commuters at New York’s Grand Central Station are used to seeing musicians performing in the main hall, with their guitar cases open to collect change. But they were surprised yesterday to see a guitarist who was not the usual street performer, but Melissa Etheridge. Echoing a stunt pulled a few years ago by Carly Simon, Etheridge was playing an unannounced gig before a captive Grand Central audience and taping it for cable (the 60-minute concert will air Christmas Day on MuchMusic USA). Come to my window, buy a ticket for the 5:08 to Scarsdale….