Award-Winning Movies: Clint Eastwood-Martin Scorsese Split + Female Genital Mutilation Drama Surprise Win

Million Dollar Baby Hilary Swank: 1 of top award-winning movies + actressesAward-winning movies: Million Dollar Baby with Hilary Swank. A critical favorite and one of the top award-winning movies this season, the National Society of Film Critics' Best Film of 2004 is Clint Eastwood's sentimental melo Million Dollar Baby, which Paul Haggis adapted from a short story by F.X. Toole (a.k.a. Jerry Boyd). For her performance as boxing trainer Clint Eastwood's surrogate daughter, Hilary Swank shared the NSFC's Best Actress award with Vera Drake lead Imelda Staunton. Among the NSFC's other award-winning movies are Alexander Payne's SidewaysZhang Yimou's House of Flying Daggers, and Ousmane Sembene's Moolaadé.

National Society of Film Critics' award-winning movies: Sentimental surrogate father/daughter melodrama 'Million Dollar Baby' & director of a couple of Chinese epics

Million Dollar Baby, Sideways, and the sumptuous Chinese period dramas Hero and House of Flying Daggers are four of the National Society of Film Critics' top award-winning movies. The NSFC announced its list of winners at a gathering held on Jan. 9 at Sardi's in New York City.

Starring Clint Eastwood, Hilary Swank, and Morgan Freeman, the Eastwood-directed Million Dollar Baby was chosen as 2004's Best Film. In the sentimental, surrogate father/daughter, right-to-die boxing drama Eastwood plays a grouchy boxing trainer who, while estranged from his daughter (who's never seen or heard), takes economically disadvantaged and steadfastly loyal fighter Hilary Swank under his wing. A daddy-daughter relationship inevitably develops between the two, but ultimately there's a price to pay.

Hilary Swank was the NSFC's Best Actress – alongside Imelda Staunton for her portrayal of a cluelessly sweet-natured 1950s British abortionist in Mike Leigh's Vera Drake.

Road movie 'Sideways' + surprise winner Zhang Yimou

Set in California's Santa Ynez Valley, Alexander Payne's road movie Sideways topped three NSFC categories:

  • Best Supporting Actor: Thomas Haden Church, who just happens to be Paul Giamatti's co-lead in the film.
  • Best Supporting Actress: Virginia Madsen, who plays Giamatti's love interest.
  • Best Screenplay: Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor, who adapted Rex Pickett's novel.

Now for the big surprise: The National Society of Film Critics' Best Director wasn't Eastwood, Payne, or Martin Scorsese for the Howard Hughes biopic The Aviator. Instead, the NSFC selected Zhang Yimou for two sumptuous period epics, Hero and House of Flying Daggers, the former a 2002 Best Foreign Language Film Oscar nominee that was released commercially in the United States only last year.

House of Flying Daggers also earned Zhao Xiaoding the Best Cinematography award.

Surprisingly mainstream award-winning movies + Unexpected Ousmane Sembene

The National Society of Film Critics' other award-winning movies were:

  • Taylor Hackford's box-office-friendly Ray Charles biopic Ray, which earned critical fave Jamie Foxx the Best Actor award.
  • Jonathan Caouette's documentary Tarnation, in which the filmmaker depicts his complex relationship with his mentally ill mother.
  • As Best Foreign Language Film, Ousmane Sembene's Moolaadé, about the practice of female circumcision (a.k.a. female genital mutilation) in a remote village in Burkina Faso.

Hardly an awards season favorite (possibly due to limited U.S. distribution), Mooladé was a particularly surprising pick when one considers that NSFC Best Director Zhang Yimou's House of Flying Daggers was the runner-up in the Best Foreign Language Film category.

See below the full list of NSFC award-winning movies.

And further below are listed the Critics' Choice Award winners and nominees, in addition to the winners of the Dallas-Ft. Worth Film Critics Association, the Las Vegas Film Critics Society, the Kansas City Film Critics Circle, and the Iowa Film Critics Association.

More award-winning movies: “Awards SeasonMean Girls Quotes Earn Surprising WGA Nomination + Christ Up for ASC Award.”

National Society of Film Critics winners

Best Picture: Million Dollar Baby.

Best Foreign Language Film: Moolaadé.

Best Director: Zhang Yimou, House of Flying Daggers & Hero.

Best Actress (tie): Imelda Staunton, Vera Drake + Hilary Swank, Million Dollar Baby.

Best Supporting Actress: Virginia Madsen, Sideways.

Best Actor: Jamie Foxx, Ray.

Best Supporting Actor: Thomas Haden Church, Sideways.

Best Screenplay: Alexander Payne & Jim Taylor, Sideways.

Best Non-Fiction Film / Best Documentary: Tarnation.

Best Cinematography: Zhao Xiaoding, House of Flying Daggers.

Special Citation: Richard Schickel & Brian Jamieson for the restoration of Samuel Fuller's The Big Red One.

Film Heritage Awards (to new DVDs)

Sideways Virginia Madsen Paul Giamatti: 1 of major award-winning movies + performersAward-winning movies: Sideways with Virginia Madsen and Paul Giamatti. The odds-on favorite for the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar and one of the top award-winning movies this season, Alexander Payne's dramatic comedy Sideways was the Critics' Choice Awards' Best Picture. The film's two other awards season favorites are Virginia Madsen, as a waitress who (inexplicably) falls in love with Paul Giamatti's obnoxious writer & wine connoisseur, and Thomas Haden Church, as an idiotized, egotistical actor who becomes involved with Santa Ynez Valley wine pourer Sandra Oh shortly before tying the knot with his Los Angeles-based fiancée.

Critics' Choice Awards' top choice: Crowd-pleasing road movie 'Sideways'

Alexander Payne's audience-friendly road movie Sideways was the Best Picture winner at the Broadcast Film Critics Association's Critics' Choice Awards announced on Jan. 10.

Additionally, Sideways' actors Virginia Madsen and Thomas Haden Church were the top picks in the Best Supporting Actress and Best Supporting Actor categories. And finally, Payne and Jim Taylor won the Best Adapted Screenplay award while Madsen, Church, and fellow players Paul Giamatti and Sandra Oh were named Best Ensemble of the year.

Payne and Taylor are top contenders for the 2005 Best Adapted Screenplay Academy Award.

Other Critics' Choice Award-winning movies: 'The Sea Inside' & 'Fahrenheit 9/11'

More Critics' Choice Award-winning movies: Alejandro Amenábar's Spanish box office hit The Sea Inside / Mar adentro, starring Javier Bardem as a tetraplegic man fighting for the right to end his own life, was the Critics' Choice Awards' Best Foreign Language Film.

The Best Director and Best Documentary winners were, respectively, Martin Scorsese for the costly (reportedly $110 million) Howard Hughes biopic The Aviator, starring Leonardo DiCaprio in the title role, and the nonfiction blockbuster Fahrenheit 9/11, a fierce indictment of the George W. Bush administration (and the complicit U.S. media) before, during, and after the disastrous U.S.-led Iraq War. The political documentary was directed by the American Far Right's Public Enemy No. 1, Michael Moore.

Jason & Jesus vs. Spidey

NSFC co-winner Hilary Swank was the Critics' Choice Awards' Best Actress for Million Dollar Baby while their Best Actor was NSFC winner Jamie Foxx for Ray. Both Swank and Foxx are the odds-on favorites for the 2005 Oscars.

And finally, in the You Can't Make This Stuff Up category, Napoleon Dynamite, Jason Bourne, Mr. Incredible, and Jesus Christ lost out to Spider-Man. See below, along with a partial list of the 2005 Critics' Choice Award winners.

Check out some more award-winning movies: “Sundance 2005 winners: Forty Shades of Blue & Anti-War Documentary + Amy Adams & Lou Taylor Pucci.”

Critics' Choice Awards: Winners & nominations (partial list)

Best Film: Sideways.

Best Foreign Language Film: The Sea Inside.

Best Documentary Feature: Fahrenheit 9/11.

Best Actress: Hilary Swank, Million Dollar Baby.

Best Supporting Actress: Virginia Madsen, Sideways.

Best Actor: Jamie Foxx, Ray.

Best Supporting Actor: Thomas Haden Church, Sideways.

Best Director: Martin Scorsese, The Aviator.

Best Screenplay: Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor, Sideways.

Best Animated Feature: The Incredibles.

Best Picture Made for Television: The Life and Death of Peter Sellers.

Best Popular Movie
The Bourne Supremacy.
The Incredibles.
Napoleon Dynamite.
The Passion of the Christ.
* Spider-Man 2.

Lifetime Achievement Award: Tom Cruise.

Kate Winslet Finding Neverland: Best Actress surprise among award-winning moviesKate Winslet in Finding Neverland. Instead of awards season favorite Hilary Swank – or even Imelda Staunton (Vera Drake) or Annette Bening (Being Julia) – the Las Vegas Film Critics' Best Actress winner was Kate Winslet for two less frequent award-winning movies: Marc Forster's Finding Neverland, in which Winslet plays Sylvia Llewelyn Davies opposite Johnny Depp as a never-never version of Peter Pan author J.M. Barrie, and Michel Gondry's Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, with the free-spirited Winslet and the timid Jim Carrey as Long Island Rail Road train riders and former lovers whose memories have been erased so they can't recall their mutual past.

More award-winning movies: Clint Eastwood-Martin Scorsese split + French-language World War I drama

In other awards season news, Clint Eastwood was Best Film – well, his boxing melodrama Million Dollar Baby was – while Martin Scorsese was Best Director for The Aviator. The split came courtesy of the Kansas City Film Critics Circle and the Dallas-Ft. Worth Film Critics Association, which announced their top selections in early January.

According to the Las Vegas Film Critics Society, Martin Scorsese was not only the Best Director of 2004 but also the director of the year's Best Film, as The Aviator was their top pick. The Iowa Film Critics Association, for their part, opted for Critics' Choice Award winner Sideways.

One of this season's top award-winning movies, Jean-Pierre Jeunet's World War I drama A Very Long Engagement / Un long dimanche de fiançailles, starring Audrey Tautou and Gaspard Ulliel, and featuring Jodie Foster, was the not unexpected Best Foreign Language Film in both Kansas City and Dallas-Ft. Worth. Much more surprising, in fact, was Mel Gibson's controversial Jesus Christ biopic The Passion of the Christ coming up in second place in Kansas City.

The Best Documentary in Kansas City, Dallas-Ft. Worth, and Las Vegas was Michael Moore's incendiary Fahrenheit 9/11, another multiple-award-winning critical fave.

Award-winning performers: Kate Winslet Vegas surprise

In the acting categories, Million Dollar Baby boxer Hilary Swank was named Best Actress in Kansas City and Dallas-Ft. Worth, but Kate Winslet (Finding Neverland & Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) was the surprise winner in Las Vegas while Imelda Staunton (Vera Drake) topped Iowa.

In the other acting categories, the favorites were the Sideways trio – Virginia Madsen, Thomas Haden Church, and Paul Giamatti – in addition to Jamie Foxx (Ray), Cate Blanchett (The AviatorThe Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou), and Clive Owen (Closer).

See below the list of Kansas City, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Las Vegas, and Iowa award-winning movies & performers.

And here are even more award-winning movies: “Sideways tops Los Angeles Film Critics Awards” and “North American Film Critics' Wine Country Winners.”

Kansas City Film Critics winners

Best Picture: Million Dollar Baby.

Best Foreign Language Film: A Very Long Engagement.

Best Actress: Hilary Swank, Million Dollar Baby.

Best Supporting Actress: Cate Blanchett, The Aviator.

Best Actor: Jamie Foxx, Ray.

Best Supporting Actor: Thomas Haden Church, Sideways.

Best Director: Martin Scorsese, The Aviator.

Best Documentary: Fahrenheit 9/11.

Best Adapted Screenplay: Alexander Payne & Jim Taylor, Sideways.

Best Original Screenplay: Charlie Kaufman, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

Best Animated Film: The Incredibles, dir.: Brad Bird.

 

Dallas-Ft. Worth Film Critics winners

Best Film: Million Dollar Baby.

Best Foreign Language Film: A Very Long Engagement.

Best Documentary: Fahrenheit 9/11.

Best Actress: Hilary Swank, Million Dollar Baby.

Best Supporting Actress: Virginia Madsen, Sideways.

Best Actor: Paul Giamatti, Sideways.

Best Supporting Actor: Thomas Haden Church, Sideways.

Best Director: Martin Scorsese, The Aviator.

Best Animated Film: The Incredibles.

Best Original Screenplay: Charlie Kaufman, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

Best Adapted Screenplay: Alexander Payne & Jim Taylor, Sideways.

Russell Smith Award: Joshua Marston, Maria Full of Grace.

 

Las Vegas Film Critics winners

Best Picture: The Aviator.

Best Foreign Language Film: Hero.

Best Actress: Kate Winslet, Finding Neverland & Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

Best Actor: Jamie Foxx, Ray.

Best Supporting Actor: Clive Owen, Closer.

Best Supporting Actress: Cate Blanchett, The Aviator & The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.

Best Director: Martin Scorsese, The Aviator.

Best Screenplay: Charlie Kaufman, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

Best Documentary: Fahrenheit 9/11.

Best Animated Film: The Incredibles.

Best Cinematography: Robert Richardson, The Aviator.

Best Editing: Thelma Schoonmaker, The Aviator.

Best Score: Michael Giacchino, The Incredibles.

Best Family Film: Finding Neverland.

Best Art Direction: Dante Ferretti, The Aviator.

Best Song: “Old Habits Die Hard” from Alfie, by Mick Jagger & Dave Stewart.

Best Costume Design: Sandy Powell, The Aviator.

Best Visual Effects: Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow.

Youth in Film Award: Freddie Highmore, Finding Neverland.

Best DVD: Mary Poppins 40th Anniversary.

William Holden Lifetime Achievement Award: Julie Andrews.

 

Iowa Film Critics winners

Best Picture: Sideways.

Best Actress: Imelda Staunton, Vera Drake.

Best Supporting Actress: Virginia Madsen, Sideways.

Best Actor: Paul Giamatti, Sideways.

Best Supporting Actor: Thomas Haden Church, Sideways.

Best Director: Alexander Payne, Sideways.

Best Movie Yet to Open in Iowa: Hotel Rwanda, dir.: Terry George.

 

National Society of Film Critics' website.

Broadcast Film Critics' Critics' Choice Awards website.

Image of Hilary Swank in one of the 2004–2005 season's top award-winning movies, Million Dollar Baby: Warner Bros.

Image of Virginia Madsen and Paul Giamatti in Sideways: Fox Searchlight.

Image of Kate Winslet in Finding Neverland: Miramax Films.

“Award-Winning Movies: Clint Eastwood-Martin Scorsese Split + Female Genital Mutilation Drama” last updated in August 2018.

Award-Winning Movies: Clint Eastwood-Martin Scorsese Split + Female Genital Mutilation Drama Surprise Win © 2004–2018 Alt Film Guide and/or author(s).
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