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Chicago Film Critics: Brutal Mafia Thriller & Real-Life Personages Are Favorites

Mafia thriller The Departed with Leonardo DiCaprio: Chicago Film Critics choose Irish mob thrillerMafia thriller The Departed with Leonardo DiCaprio. Although Alejandro González Iñárritu's internationally themed Babel was the 2006 Chicago Film Critics Association Awards' top nominee, Martin Scorsese's Boston-set Irish mafia thriller The Departed ended up as the Chicago Film Critics' top winner, being singled out in the Best Film, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay (William Monahan) categories. Besides Leonardo DiCaprio, The Departed features Matt Damon, Vera Farmiga, Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen, Ray Winstone, James Badge Dale, and Alec Baldwin.

Martin Scorsese mafia thriller tops Chicago Film Critics as Boston beats 'Babel'

Dec. 28 update: Despite its nine nominations, Babel was not the Chicago Film Critics Association's top 2006 winner. Alejandro González Iñárritu's multi-storied drama won one single award – Best Supporting Actress for Rinko Kikuchi – while Martin Scorsese's Boston mafia thriller The Departed beat the competition in three categories: Best Film, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay for William Monahan, who adapted Andrew Lau's 2002 Hong Kong thriller Infernal Affairs.

In the acting categories, besides Rinko Kikuchi the Chicago winners were:

  • Helen Mirren as the current British queen, Elizabeth II, in Stephen Frears' The Queen.
  • Forest Whitaker as the former Uganda leader Idi Amin Dada in Kevin Macdonald's The Last King of Scotland.
  • Jackie Earle Haley as a convicted sex offender returning to his Boston suburb home in Todd Field's Little Children.

See below the previous post about the Chicago Film Critics' nominations. Further below you'll find the full list of Chicago's winners and nominees, in addition to those of the Phoenix, St. Louis, and Florida film critics groups.

Chicago Film Critics nominations: 'Babel' towers over competition

Dec. 19: With nine nominations, including Best Film and Best Director for Alejandro González Iñárritu, Babel seems to be the Chicago Film Critics Association's favorite 2006 flick.

Among the Chicago Film Critics' other multiple nominees are the mafia thriller The Departed and the populist political/family drama The Queen, both of which are in the running for Best Film and Best Director – Martin Scorsese and Stephen Frears, respectively.

The two biggest surprises among the nominees: the presence of U.S. actress Maggie Gyllenhaal and of the South African socially conscious drama Tsotsi.

Maggie Gyllenhaal

The Chicago Film Critics have come up with six Best Actress nominees, which may help to explain how Maggie Gyllenhaal was able to sneak in for her performance as an ex-con who discovers motherhood in the little-seen Sherrybaby.

Admittedly, this awards season Gyllenhaal has also been nominated for a Best Actress Drama Golden Globe, and she was up for a Satellite Award in the same category (she lost to Helen Mirren for The Queen). Additionally, Gyllenhaal was Best Actress at two European film festivals, Karlovy Vary and Stockholm.

Too late for 'Tsotsi'?

As for Tsotsi, Gavin Hood's Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award-winning South African social drama has thus far been thoroughly ignored by U.S. critics' groups, though it could sure use some late-year publicity. The tale of a thug and a – however inadvertently, kidnapped – baby, Tsotsi opened on U.S. screens earlier this year, but despite its Oscar win it has grossed only $2.9 million.

On the other hand, Tsotsi has already taken home an Oscar statuette, so why bother? Notwithstanding exceptions such as the New York Film Critics' selection of Jean-Pierre Melville's 1969 French drama Army of Shadows as 2006's Best Foreign Language Film, most U.S. critics groups want to predict the future (i.e., the next Oscars), not reiterate the past, no matter how well deserved.

Clint Eastwood's Letters from Iwo Jima and Mel Gibson's Apocalypto, for their part, continue to receive Best Foreign Language Film nominations, a great way to keep as many awards as possible within the U.S. media-friendly Hollywood circle. True, neither movie is eligible for an Academy Award in that particular category, but bear in mind that both are eligible for Best Picture.

Chicago Film Critics' winners and nominations

Nominations for the 2006 Chicago Film Critics Association Awards were announced on Dec. 19. The winners were announced on Dec. 28.

Best Picture
Babel.
* The Departed.
Little Miss Sunshine.
The Queen.
United 93.

Best Foreign Language Film
Apocalypto.
* Letters from Iwo Jima.
Pan's Labyrinth.
Tsotsi.
Volver.

Best Director
Clint Eastwood, Letters from Iwo Jima.
Stephen Frears, The Queen.
Paul Greengrass, United 93.
Alejandro González Iñárritu, Babel.
* Martin Scorsese, The Departed.

Best Actress
Penélope Cruz, Volver.
Judi Dench, Notes on a Scandal.
Maggie Gyllenhaal, Sherrybaby.
* Helen Mirren, The Queen.
Meryl Streep, The Devil Wears Prada.
Kate Winslet, Little Children.

Best Actor
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Departed.
Ryan Gosling, Half Nelson.
Peter O'Toole, Venus.
Will Smith, The Pursuit of Happyness.
* Forest Whitaker, The Last King of Scotland.

Best Supporting Actress
Adriana Barraza, Babel.
Cate Blanchett, Notes on a Scandal.
Abigail Breslin, Little Miss Sunshine.
Toni Collette, Little Miss Sunshine.
Jennifer Hudson, Dreamgirls.
* Rinko Kikuchi, Babel.

Best Supporting Actor
Ben Affleck, Hollywoodland.
* Jackie Earle Haley, Little Children.
Eddie Murphy, Dreamgirls.
Jack Nicholson, The Departed.
Brad Pitt, Babel.
Michael Sheen, The Queen.

Best Original Screenplay
Babel, Guillermo Arriaga.
Letters from Iwo Jima, Iris Yamashita.
Little Miss Sunshine, Michael Arndt.
* The Queen, Peter Morgan.
United 93, Paul Greengrass.

Best Adapted Screenplay
* The Departed, William Monahan.
Little Children, Todd Field & Tom Perrotta.
Notes on a Scandal, Patrick Marber.
A Prairie Home Companion, Garrison Keillor.
Thank You for Smoking, Jason Reitman.

Best Documentary
Deliver Us from Evil.
* An Inconvenient Truth.
Jesus Camp.
Shut Up & Sing.
Wordplay.

Best Cinematography
Babel, Rodrigo Prieto.
* Children of Men, Emmanuel Lubezki.
The Departed, Michael Ballhaus.
The Fountain, Matthew Libatique.
Letters from Iwo Jima, Tom Stern.

Best Original Score
Babel, Gustavo Santaolalla.
* The Fountain, Clint Mansell.
Letters from Iwo Jima, Kyle Eastwood & Michael Stevens.
Notes on a Scandal, Philip Glass.
The Queen, Alexandre Desplat.

Most Promising Performer
Ivana Baquero, Pan's Labyrinth.
* Sacha Baron Cohen, Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan and Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby.
Shareeka Epps, Half Nelson.
Rinko Kikuchi, Babel.
Keke Palmer, Akeelah and the Bee.

Most Promising Director
* Rian Johnson, Brick.
Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Faris, Little Miss Sunshine.
Gil Kenan, Monster House.
Jason Reitman, Thank You for Smoking.
James McTeigue, V for Vendetta.

 

Phoenix Film Critics' winners and nominations

The 2006 Phoenix Film Critics Society, composed of 30 Arizona film critics, announced its winners on Dec. 19.

Best Film: United 93.

Runners-up (in alphabetical order):
Babel.
Bobby.
Borat.
Children of Men.
The Departed.
The Last King of Scotland.
Letters from Iwo Jima.
Little Miss Sunshine.
The Queen.

Best Foreign Language Film: Letters from Iwo Jima.

Best Documentary: An Inconvenient Truth, directed by Davis Guggenheim.

Best Actress: Helen Mirren, The Queen.

Best Actor: Forest Whitaker, The Last King of Scotland.

Best Supporting Actress: Cate Blanchett, Notes on a Scandal.

Best Supporting Actor: Jack Nicholson, The Departed.

Best Director: Martin Scorsese, The Departed.

Best Original Screenplay: Michael Arndt, Little Miss Sunshine.

Best Adapted Screenplay: William Monahan, The Departed.

Best Ensemble Acting: Little Miss Sunshine.

Best Animated Film: Flushed Away, directed by David Bowers and Sam Fell.

Best Cinematography: Dean Semler, Apocalypto.

Best Editing: Thelma Schoonmaker, The Departed.

Best Production Design: K. Barrett, Marie Antoinette.

Best Costume Design: Milena Canonero, Marie Antoinette.

Best Visual Effects: Superman Returns.

Breakthrough Performance - On-Screen: Jennifer Hudson, Dreamgirls.

Breakout Performance of the Year - Behind the Camera: Emilio Estevez, Bobby.

Best Performance by a Youth in a Lead or Supporting Role - Female: Abigail Breslin, Little Miss Sunshine.

Best Performance by a Youth in a Lead or Supporting Role - Male: Jaden Smith, The Pursuit of Happyness.

Best Live-Action Family Film: Charlotte's Web, directed by Gary Winick.

Overlooked Film of the Year: Hard Candy, directed by David Slade.

Best Stunts: Casino Royale.

Best Use of Previously Published or Recorded Music: Dreamgirls.

Jill Clayburgh Running with Scissors: 2-time Best Actress Oscar nominee shortlisted againJill Clayburgh in Running with Scissors. Two-time Best Actress Academy Award nominee Jill Clayburgh (An Unmarried Woman, 1978; Starting Over, 1979) was shortlisted for the St. Louis Film Critics Best Supporting Actress Award for her performance as the submissive wife of unorthodox psychiatrist Brian Cox in Ryan Murphy's coming-of-age/dysfunctional family drama Running with Scissors. The eventual winner turned out to be awards season favorite Jennifer Hudson for Dreamgirls.

Veteran Jill Clayburgh among St. Louis Film Critics' surprises

There was nothing new in the St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association's list of winners – except, that is, for Ryan Murphy's dysfunctional family comedy-drama Running with Scissors getting named Best Overlooked Film of 2006.

On the other hand, there were quite a few surprises among the St. Louis Film Critics' nominees. Among these were the inclusion of the following:

  • The underrated Jill Clayburgh (An Unmarried Woman, Hanna K.) shortlisted as Best Supporting Actress for Running with Scissors.
  • Keith Fulton and Louis Pepe's British mockumentary Brothers of the Head  as one of the Best Overlooked Films.
  • Robert Greenwald's Iraq for Sale up for Best Documentary. Greenwald's attack on the Iraq War profiteers has been thoroughly ignored this awards season.

St. Louis Film Critics' winners and nominations

The nominations for the 2006 St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association were announced on Dec. 22; the winners were announced the following Jan. 7.

† denotes films, performances, etc. nominated “on the floor,” i.e., during the voting process.

Best Picture
Blood Diamond.
* The Departed.
Flags of Our Fathers.
The Good Shepherd.
The Queen.
United 93.
† Dreamgirls.
† The Last King of Scotland.
† Notes on a Scandal.

Best Foreign Language Film
Apocalypto.
The Lives of Others.
* Pan's Labyrinth.
Volver.
Fateless.
Three Times.

Best Documentary
* An Inconvenient Truth.
Why We Fight.
Iraq for Sale.
The Heart of the Game.
† Deliver Us from Evil.

Best Actress
Judi Dench, Notes on a Scandal.
* Helen Mirren, The Queen.
Kate Winslet, Little Children.
Annette Bening, Running with Scissors.
Juliette Binoche, Breaking and Entering.

Best Actor
* Forest Whitaker, The Last King of Scotland.
Leonardo DiCaprio, Blood Diamond.
Matt Damon, The Good Shepherd.
Will Smith, The Pursuit of Happyness.
Ryan Gosling, Half Nelson.
Aaron Eckhart, Thank You for Smoking.
Edward Norton, The Painted Veil.
† Leonardo DiCaprio, The Departed.

Best Supporting Actress
Abigail Breslin, Little Miss Sunshine.
* Jennifer Hudson, Dreamgirls.
Meryl Streep, The Devil Wears Prada.
Rinko Kikuchi, Babel.
Jill Clayburgh, Running with Scissors.
† Shareeka Epps, Half Nelson.
† Lili Taylor, Factotum.
† Cate Blanchett, Notes on a Scandal.

Best Supporting Actor
Adam Beach, Flags of Our Fathers.
Ben Affleck, Hollywoodland.
* Djimon Hounsou, Blood Diamond.
Eddie Murphy, Dreamgirls.
Jack Nicholson, The Departed.
Steve Carell, Little Miss Sunshine.
† Chalo González, Quinceañera.

Best Director
Clint Eastwood, Flags of Our Fathers.
Edward Zwick, Blood Diamond.
* Martin Scorsese, The Departed.
Paul Greengrass, United 93.
Robert De Niro, The Good Shepherd.
Stephen Frears, The Queen.
† Clint Eastwood, Letters from Iwo Jima.
Bill Condon, Dreamgirls.

Best Screenplay
Bobby.
Little Children.
Little Miss Sunshine.
Thank You for Smoking.
The Departed.
* Peter Morgan, The Queen.
† Notes on a Scandal.

Best Cinematography
* Stuart Dryburgh, The Painted Veil.
Blood Diamond.
Flags of Our Fathers.
The Departed.
Babel.
† Letters from Iwo Jima.

Best Overlooked Film
Brick.
* Running with Scissors.
Brothers of the Head.
Mountain Patrol: Kekexili.
Keeping Up with the Steins.
† Deliver Us from Evil.
† Lonesome Jim.

Most Original, Innovative or Creative Film
The Science of Sleep.
Little Miss Sunshine.
Brick.
* United 93.
† Little Children.
† Zen Noir.
† Pan's Labyrinth.

Best Comedy or Musical
* Little Miss Sunshine.
Keeping Mum.
Dreamgirls.
Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.
Thank You for Smoking.
Jackass: Number Two.
† A Prairie Home Companion.

Best Animated or Children's Film
Happy Feet.
Over the Hedge.
* Cars.
Monster House.
Charlotte's Web.

Best Special Effects
The Fountain.
Pan's Labyrinth.
* Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest.
V for Vendetta.
Superman Returns.
District B-13.

 

Florida Film Critics winners

The 2006 Florida Film Critics Circle winners were announced on Dec. 22.

Best Film: The Departed.

Best Foreign Language Film: Pan's Labyrinth, directed by Guillermo del Toro.

Best Non-Fiction Film: An Inconvenient Truth.

Best Actress: Helen Mirren, The Queen.

Best Actor: Forest Whitaker, The Last King of Scotland.

Best Supporting Actress: Cate Blanchett, Notes on a Scandal.

Best Supporting Actor: Jack Nicholson, The Departed.

Best Director: Martin Scorsese, The Departed.

Best Screenplay: William Monahan, The Departed.

Best Animated Film: Monster House, directed by Gil Kenan.

Best Cinematography: Guillermo Navarro, Pan's Labyrinth.

Pauline Kael Breakout Award: Jennifer Hudson, Dreamgirls.

Golden Orange for Outstanding Contribution to Film: Billy Corben and Alfred Spellman, director and producer of the Florida-centric documentaries Cocaine Cowboys (2006) and Raw Deal: A Question of Consent (2001), for their continued dedication to South Florida's film industry.

 

Chicago Film Critics Association website.

Leonardo DiCaprio The Departed image: Warner Bros.

Jill Clayburgh Running with Scissors image: TriStar Pictures.


         
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