Sideways has been the leading film for every critics’ group that has announced awards or nominations — until now. On Friday, the Washington, D.C., Area Film Critics Association became the first group to endorse Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind as Best Film. The mind-twisting romance earned four prizes total, including Best Director (Michel Gondry), Best Original Screenplay (Charlie Kaufman), and Best Acting Ensemble (for a cast that includes Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, Kirsten Dunst, Elijah Wood, Mark Ruffalo, and Tom Wilkinson). The film’s subject is forgetfulness, but WAFCA president Tim Gordon said in a statement that the group made a point of remembering the movie, even though it was released way back in March. Gordon called its awards success proof that ”a great film will be remembered and rewarded even if it isn’t released in December.”
WAFCA’s other big winner was Jamie Foxx, who won Best Actor for Ray and Best Supporting Actor for Collateral. As with Best Picture, Sideways has been the favorite in the Supporting Actor category (Thomas Haden Church has won most of the critics’ awards so far), but the film had to settle for WAFCA’s Best Adapted Screenplay prize (for Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor).
Other winners included Vera Drake‘s Imelda Staunton for Best Actress, The Aviator‘s Cate Blanchett for Best Supporting Actress, The Incredibles for Best Animated Film, Maria Full of Grace for Best Foreign Language Film, and Fahrenheit 9/11 for Best Documentary.