Bennett Miller’s Capote movie, which follows flamboyant gay writer Truman Capote during the time he was working on the epoch-making book In Cold Blood, was chosen as the Best Picture of 2005 by the National Society of Film Critics. In the title role, Philip Seymour Hoffman was named Best Actor. As most elsewhere this year, smaller American films and non-American productions took center stage in the NSFC voting. (See list of 2006 National Society of Film Critics winners below. Photo: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener in Bennett Miller’s Capote movie.)
Among the other National Society of Film Critics winners were Best Director David Cronenberg for the sociopolitical critique A History of Violence, which failed to win the Best Picture award by one single vote, after six rounds of voting; Best Foreign Language Film Head-On / Gegen die Wand, Fatih Akin’s German drama about a Turkish-German woman who gets married so as to escape her stiflingly reactionary Muslim family; and Best Actress Reese Witherspoon, who, like Philip Seymour Hoffman, played a real-life character: singer June Carter, in James Mangold’s Walk the Line.
North American critics’ fave Brokeback Mountain failed to win a single National Society of Film Critics award; its only mention on the NSFC list was Heath Ledger’s third-place spot in the Best Actor category. Even so, according to the Boston Herald’s James Verniere, Ang Lee’s drama about the wistful love affair between two cowboys (Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal) was a strong contender in many categories.
2006 National Society of Film Critics winners
Best Picture: Capote (12, on sixth ballot)
Runners-up: A History of Violence (11, on sixth ballot); 2046 (fifth ballot)
Best Foreign Film: Head On / Gegen die Wand by Fatih Akin (26)
Best Director: David Cronenberg, A History of Violence (32)
Runners-up: Wong Kar Wai, 2046 (26); Bennett Miller, Capote (23)
Best Actor: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Capote (68)
Runners-up: Jeff Daniels, The Squid and the Whale (41); Heath Ledger, Brokeback Mountain (40)
Best Actress: Reese Witherspoon, Walk the Line (37)
Best Supporting Actor: Ed Harris, A History of Violence (27)
Best Supporting Actress: Amy Adams, Junebug (33)
Runners-up: Ziyi Zhang, 2046 (28); Catherine Keener, Capote, The Interpreter, The Ballad of Jack and Rose, The 40-Year-Old Virgin (22)
Best Screenplay: Noah Baumbach, The Squid and the Whale (37)
Runners-up: Dan Futterman, Capote (33); Tony Kushner and Eric Roth, Munich (14)
Best Documentary: Grizzly Man by Werner Herzog (60)
Runners-up: Darwin’s Nightmare by Hubert Sauper (27); Ballets russes by Daniel Geller and Dayna Goldfine (19)
Best Cinematography: Christopher Doyle, Kwan Pun Leung, and Lai Yiu Fai, 2046 (50)
Runners-up: Robert Elswit, Good Night, and Good Luck. (16); Emmanuel Lubezki, The New World (11)
Experimental Awards: William Greaves for Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One (actually made in 1968) and Take Two, and James Benning for 13 Lakes, Ten Skies, and 27 Years Later.
Film Heritage Award: The 7-disc DVD box set "Unseen Cinema," assembled by the Anthology Film Archives and Bruce Posner
National Society of Film Critics Awards list via The Hollywood Reporter. Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener in Bennett Miller’s Capote movie photo: Sony Pictures Classics.