''Sideways'' tops Critics' Choice Awards. The Broadcast Film Critics give the wine-sipping comedy five prizes, including Best Picture

By Gary Susman
Updated January 11, 2005 at 05:00 AM EST
Paul Giamatti, Sideways
Credit: Sideways: Merie W. Wallace

Sideways may be a little road movie about a jaunt through California wine country, but its progress toward the Academy Awards is looking more like Sherman’s march. So far, it’s picked up about a dozen Best Picture awards from critics’ groups. The latest was Monday night at the 10th Annual Critics’ Choice Awards, the awards gala thrown by the Broadcast Film Critics Association. Sideways took four other prizes as well, including supporting acting prizes for Virginia Madsen and Thomas Haden Church, a prize for Best Acting Ensemble, and Best Writer (for screenwriters Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor).

Sideways‘ biggest rival for Oscar gold, boxing drama Million Dollar Baby, earned a Best Actress prize for Hilary Swank. Best Actor went to Oscar frontrunner Jamie Foxx for Ray. The BFCA recognized the The Aviator for Best Director (Martin Scorsese) and Best Composer (Howard Shore). Other awards went to Fahrenheit 9/11 (Best Documentary Feature), The Incredibles (Best Animated Feature), The Sea Inside (Best Foreign Language Feature), and Alfie (Best Song, for ”Old Habits Die Hard,” by Mick Jagger and Dave Stewart).

The BFCA consists of about 200 entertainment journalists from various TV, radio, and online outlets, giving it the largest voting pool of any of the critics’ groups. It’s also one of the most accurate Academy Awards predictors, having guessed the Best Picture Oscar each of the last five years and the Best Director winner for eight of the last nine years. (That’s good news for lifelong Oscar bridesmaid Scorsese.) The Critics’ Choice ceremony was hosted by Eric McCormack and broadcast live on the WB.