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Helen Mirren & Ken Takakura: Expected & Unexpected Film Critics Winners

Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles by Zhang Yimou

The San Diego Film Critics Society tends to go its own way when it comes to year-end film awards. For instance, last year most critics' groups chose Brokeback Mountain as the best film of 2005. The San Diego Film Critics, for their part, opted for King Kong. Hardly a superior choice, but different nonetheless. Other more esoteric picks include Almost Famous as the best film of 2000 and Vera Drake as their top choice for 2004. To a large extent, the San Diego critics' picks for 2006 demonstrate their continual avoidance of groupthink.

Even though the best film, best director, and best actress categories were filled with expected names – Letters from Iwo Jima and its director, Clint Eastwood, in addition to Helen Mirren for The Queen – several other top winners were total surprises.

Ken Takakura was voted the best actor of 2006 for his performance as a Japanese man who travels through China while trying to come to terms with his dying son in Zhang Yimou's Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles (top photo) – which also happened to be the group's surprising pick for best foreign-language film.

Ray Winstone in The PropositionThe best supporting actor was Ray Winstone (right), who plays a military man in the Australian Western The Proposition, while Lili Taylor won as best supporting actress for her role as a barfly in the Norwegian/German/American co-production Factotum.

Edward Norton, whose films have been largely ignored by most critics' groups, was given the Body of Work Award for his performances in The Illusionist, Down in the Valley, and The Painted Veil.

Toni Collette in The Dead Girl

Jason Reitman's Thank You for Smoking (adapted) screenplay has been honored elsewhere, but Karen Moncrieff's original screenplay win for The Dead Girl (above, with Toni Collette), about the mystery surrounding a young woman's death, was a first.

So far, no luck, but I'm still hoping to find Penélope Cruz's name listed as the best actress of the year by at least one U.S. critics' group. True, Penélope Cruz could never have played Queen Elizabeth II as stiff-upper-lippedly as Helen Mirren. But then again, Helen Mirren could never have played Anna Magnani as exuberantly sensual as Penélope Cruz.

And between the Queen of England and the Queen of Italian Cinema, I'd most definitely choose the latter.

2006 San Diego Film Critics Society Award winners: Dec. 18, '06

Best Film: Letters from Iwo Jima directed by Clint Eastwood

Best Foreign-Language Film: Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles, directed by Zhang Yimou

Best Non-Fiction Film: Shut Up & Sing directed by Barbara Kopple and Cecilia Peck

Best Director: Clint Eastwood, Letters from Iwo Jima

Best Actor: Ken Takakura, Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles

Best Actress: Helen Mirren, The Queen

Best Supporting Actor: Ray Winstone, The Proposition

Best Supporting Actress: Lili Taylor, Factotum

Best Ensemble Performance: Babel

Best Original Screenplay: Karen Moncrieff, The Dead Girl

Best Adapted Screenplay: Jason Reitman, Thank You for Smoking

Best Animated Film: Cars directed by John Lasseter and Joe Ranft

Best Cinematography: Dick Pope, The Illusionist

Best Editing: Christopher Rouse, Richard Pearson, and Clare Douglas, United 93

Best Score: Gustavo Santaolalla, Babel

Best Production Design: Owen Paterson, V for Vendetta

Body of Work Award: Edward Norton for his performances in The Illusionist, Down in the Valley, and The Painted Veil

Southeastern Film Critics winners

The Southeastern Film Critics Association which consists of reviewers from nine U.S. states made their choices for the best in film in 2006 this past Dec. 17.

There were neither major nor minor surprises: Best Film, The Departed; Best Foreign Film El Laberinto del fauno / Pans Labyrinth; Best Actor Forest Whitaker for The Last King of Scotland; Best Actress Helen Mirren for The Queen; and so on.

However, I found it interesting that their pick for the Wyatt Award for the film that best captures the "spirit of the South" went to Barbara Kopple and Cecilia Pecks documentary Shut Up & Sing, about the nasty firestorm that engulfed the country band Dixie Chicks following singer Natalie Mainess anti-George W. Bush remarks at a London concert.

The 2006 Southeastern Film Critics Association winners were announced on December 17, 2006.

Best Film:The Departed directed by Martin Scorsese

Runners-up: Letters from Iwo Jima, The Queen, United 93, Little Miss SunshineNotes on a Scandal, Babel, Pan's Labyrinth, Little Children, Thank You for Smoking

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

Best Director: Martin Scorsese, The Departed

Best Actor: Forest Whitaker, The Last King of Scotland

Best Actress: Helen Mirren, The Queen

Best Supporting Actor: Jackie Earle Haley, Little Children

Best Supporting Actress: Jennifer Hudson, Dreamgirls

Best Original Screenplay: Michael Arndt, Little Miss Sunshine

Best Adapted Screenplay: William MonahanThe Departed

Best Documentary: An Inconvenient Truth directed by Davis Guggenheim

Best Animated Film: Cars directed by John Lasseter and Joe Ranft

Wyatt Award (for the film that best captures the "spirit of the South"): Shut Up & Sing directed by Barbara Kopple and Cecilia Peck

Satellite Awards: Meryl Streep, Leonardo DiCaprio Among Winners

2006 International Press Academy's Satellite Award nominations: November 30, 2006

2006 Satellite Award winners: Imperial Ballroom of le Méridian in Beverly Hills on December 17, 2006

("*" denotes the winner in each category)


Motion Picture, Drama
Half Nelson
* The Departed
Flags of Our Fathers
The Queen
The Last King of Scotland
Little Children

Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical
Little Miss Sunshine
Thank You for Smoking
The Devil Wears Prada
Stranger Than Fiction
* Dreamgirls

Motion Picture, Foreign Language
The Lives of Others, Germany
* Volver, Spain
Changing Times, France
Water, Canada
The Syrian Bride, Israel
Apocalypto, U.S.

Motion Picture, Animated or Mixed Media
Ice Age: The Meltdown
Happy Feet
Flushed Away
* Pan's Labyrinth

Motion Picture, Documentary
* Deliver Us from Evil
Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple
An Inconvenient Truth
The U.S. Vs. John Lennon
Leonard Cohen: I'm Your Man
The War Tapes

Best Director (tie)
Martin Scorsese, The Departed
* Clint Eastwood, Flags of Our Fathers
Pedro Almodóvar, Volver
>Stephen Frears, The Queen
Alejandro González Iñárritu, Babel
* Bill Condon, Dreamgirls

Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama
Derek Luke, Catch a Fire
Joshua Jackson, Aurora Borealis
* Forest Whitaker, The Last King of Scotland
Ryan Gosling, Half Nelson
Patrick Wilson, Little Children
Leonardo DiCaprio, Blood Diamond

Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama
Penélope Cruz, Volver
* Helen Mirren, The Queen
Judi Dench, Notes on a Scandal
Gretchen Mol, The Notorious Bettie Page
Maggie Gyllenhaal, Sherrybaby
Kate Winslet, Little Children

Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical
* Joseph Cross, Running with Scissors
Aaron Eckhart, Thank You for Smoking
Sacha Baron Cohen, Borat: Cultural Learnings of America For Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan
Peter O'Toole, Venus
Will Ferrell, Stranger Than Fiction

Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical
Julie Walters, Driving Lessons
Annette Bening, Running with Scissors
* Meryl Streep, The Devil Wears Prada
Toni Collette, Little Miss Sunshine
Jodie Whitaker, Venus
Beyoncé Knowles, Dreamgirls

Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Donald Sutherland, Aurora Borealis
Adam Beach, Flags of Our Fathers
* Leonardo DiCaprio, The Departed
Alan Arkin, Little Miss Sunshine
Brad Pitt, Babel
Jack Nicholson, The Departed

Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Abigail Breslin, Little Miss Sunshine
Lily Tomlin, A Prairie Home Companion
Blythe Danner, The Last Kiss
Rinko Kikuchi, Babel
Cate Blanchett, Notes on a Scandal
* Jennifer Hudson, Dreamgirls

Best Screenplay, Original
André Téchiné, Laurent Guyot, and Pascal Bonitzer, Changing Times
Elena Soarez, Luiz Carlos Barreto, and Andrucha Waddington, House of Sand
Guillermo Arriaga, Babel
Pedro Almodóvar, Volver
* Peter Morgan, The Queen
Paul Laverty, The Wind That Shakes the Barley

Best Screenplay, Adapted
William Broyles Jr., Paul Haggis, Flags of Our Fathers
Jason Reitman, Thank You for Smoking
* William Monahan, The Departed
Todd Field, Tom Perrotta, Little Children
Garrison Keillor, A Prairie Home Companion
Bill Condon, Dreamgirls

Best Cinematography
Ricardo Della Rosa, House of Sand
* Tom Stern, Flags of Our Fathers
Vilmos Zsigmond, The Black Dahlia
Philippe Le Sourd, A Good Year
Dante Spinotti, X-Men: The Last Stand
Matthew Libatique, The Fountain
Zhao Xiaoding, Curse of the Golden Flower

Best Film Editing
* Mark Helfrich, Mark Goldblatt, Julia Wong, X-Men: The Last Stand
Joel Cox, Flags of Our Fathers
Stephen Mirrione, Douglas Crise, Babel
William Goldenberg, Miami Vice
Virginia Katz, Dreamgirls

Best Original Score
Gabriel Yared, The Lives of Others
Clint Eastwood, Flags of Our Fathers
Philip Glass, Notes on a Scandal
Nathan Johnson, Brick
Hans Zimmer, The Da Vinci Code
* Gustavo Santaolalla, Babel

Best Art Direction & Production Design
K.K. Barrett, Marie Antoinette
* Henry Bumstead, Jack G. Taylor Jr., Richard C. Goddard, Flags of Our Fathers
John Myhre, Tomas Voth, Nancy Haigh, Dreamgirls
Eugenio Caballero, Pan's Labyrinth
Owen Paterson, Marco Bittner Rosser, Sarah Horton, Sebastian T. Krawinkel, Stephan O. Gessler, V for Vendetta

Best Costume Design
Milena Canonero, Marie Antoinette
Jenny Beavan, The Black Dahlia
Chung Man Yee, Curse of the Golden Flower
Sharen Davis, Dreamgirls
* Patricia Field, The Devil Wears Prada

Best Original Song
"Upside Down" - Jack Johnson, Curious George
* "You Know My Name" - Chris Cornell, Casino Royale
"Never Let Go" - Bryan Adams, Trevor Rabin, Eliot Kennedy, The Guardian
"Till the End of Time" - Nick Urata, Devotchka, Little Miss Sunshine
"Love You I Do" - Henry Krieger, Siedah Garrett, Dreamgirls
"Listen" - Henry Krieger, Anne Previn, Scott Cutler, Beyoncé Knowles, Dreamgirls

Best Visual Effects
Michael Owens, Matthew E. Butler, Bryan Grill, Steve Riley, Flags of Our Fathers
* John Knoll, Hal Hickey, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
John Bruno, X-Men: The Last Stand
Dan Glass, V for Vendetta
Jeremy Dawson, Dan Schrecker, The Fountain
Everett Burrell, Edward Irastorza, Pan's Labyrinth
Kevin Ahern, The Da Vinci Code

Best Sound (Editing & Mixing)
Steve Maslow, Doug Hemphill, John A. Larsen, Rick Kline, X-Men: The Last Stand
Alan Robert Murray, Bub Asman, Walt Martin, John T. Reitz, David E. Campbell, Gregg Rudloff, Flags of Our Fathers
José Antonio García, Jon Taylor, Christian P. Minkler, Martín Hernández, Babel
* Willie D. Burton, Michael Minkler, Bob Beemer, Richard E. Yawn, Dreamgirls
Anthony J. Ciccolini III, Kevin O'Connell, Greg P. Russell, The Da Vinci Code

Best Ensemble
The Departed

Mary Pickford Award: ("for outstanding artistic contribution to the entertainment industry")
Martin Landau

Nikola Tesla Award: ("in recognition for visionary achievements in filmaking technology")
Richard Donner

Auteur Award: ("In Memoriam")
Robert Altman (1925-2006)



Best Mini-series
* To the Ends of the Earth
Elizabeth I
Bleak House

Best Motion Picture Made for Television
* A Little Thing Called Murder
High School Musical
In from the Night
Mrs. Harris
Gideon's Daughter

Best Television series - Drama
* House
The Wire
Rescue Me

Best Television series - Comedy or Musical
The Office
The Colbert Report
Everybody Hates Chris
* Ugly Betty

Best Actor in a Mini-series or Motion Picture Made for Television
André Braugher, Thief
Ben Kingsley, Mrs. Harris
Hugh Dancy, Elizabeth I
Charles Dance, Bleak House
* Bill Nighy, Gideon's Daughter

Best Actress in a Mini-series or Motion Picture Made for Television
* Judy Davis, A Little Thing Called Murder
Helen Mirren, Elizabeth I
Gillian Anderson, Bleak House
Annette Bening, Mrs. Harris
Miranda Richardson, Gideon's Daughter

Best Actor in a Television series - Drama
Denis Leary, Rescue Me
Bradley Whitford, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip
Bill Paxton, Big Love
* Hugh Laurie, House
Matthew Perry, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip
Michael C. Hall, Dexter

Best Actress in a Television series - Drama
Sarah Paulson, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip
* Kyra Sedgwick, The Closer
Kristen Bell, Veronica Mars
Emily Deschanel, Bones
Jeanne Tripplehorn, Big Love
Amanda Peet, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip

Best Actor in a Television series - Comedy or Musical
Steve Carrell, The Office
* James Spader, Boston Legal
Ted Danson, Help Me Help You
Stephen Colbert, The Colbert Report
Jason Lee, My Name Is Earl
James Roday, Psych USA

Best Actress in a Television series - Comedy or Musical
America Ferrera, Ugly Betty
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, The New Adventures of Old Christine
Lisa Kudrow, The Comeback
Mary-Louise Parker, Weeds
* Marcia Cross, Desperate Housewives
Laura Kightlinger, Minor Accomplishments of Jackie Woodman

Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a series, Mini-series, or Motion Picture Made for Television
Robert Knepper, Prison Break
Forest Whitaker, The Shield
Jeremy Piven, Entourage
Michael Emerson, Lost
* Tony Plana, Ugly Betty
Philip Baker Hall, The Loop

Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a series, Mini-series, or Motion Picture Made for Television
Vanessa Williams, Ugly Betty
Elizabeth Perkins, Weeds
Jean Smart, 24
Fionnula Flanagan, Brotherhood
* Julie Denz, Dexter
Laurie Metcalf, Desperate Housewives

Best Ensemble
Grey's Anatomy

Outstanding Guest Star
Jerry Lewis, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit



Best Overall DVD
* Superman Ultimate Collector's Edition
Die Büchse der Pandora / Pandora's Box
Good Night and Good Luck.
A History of Violence
Shichinin no samurai / Seven Samurai
Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take 2 1/2
Les Temps qui changent / Changing Times
V for Vendetta

Best DVD Extras
Harry Potter Years 1-4
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Corpse Bride

The Da Vinci Code
Good Night and Good Luck.
* Mission: Impossible III
The New World
The Omen
The Poseidon Adventure
The Towering Inferno

Best Youth DVD
Akeelah and the Bee
Eight Below
The Greatest Game Ever Played
Ice Age: The Meltdown
Lady and the Tramp
* The Little Mermaid
Nanny McPhee
Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit

Best Documentary DVD
Thinking XXX
* An Inconvenient Truth
Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room
Dave Chappelle's Block Party
The Aristocrats
Marie Antoinette
49 Up
Andy Warhol: A Documentary Film
Pornography: A Secret History of Civilisation

Best Classic DVD
Sam Peckinpah's Legendary Westerns Collection
The Rogers and Hammerstein Box Set Collection
Wicker Man
Breakfast at Tiffany's Anniversay edition
Valley of the Dolls
* The Conformist
1900 / Novecento
Astaire & Rogers Ultimate Collector's Edition
Cabin in the Sky

Best DVD Release of a TV Show
Alias - The complete fifth season
Desperate Housewives - The complete second season
Slings and Arrows - season two
Six Feet Under The complete series gift set
Police Squad! The complete series
* The Simpsons - The complete eighth season
Liza with a "Z" - A concert for television (collector's edition)
Mission: Impossible The Complete first season

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