Gay Cowboy Romance & Troubled Gay Writer: Awards Season Favorites + Major Vera Farmiga Upset

Gay cowboy romance with Heath Ledger Jake Gyllenhaal tops Los AngelesGay cowboy romance with Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal. Ang Lee's Brokeback Mountain was the Los Angeles Film Critics' Best Film of the year, while Heath Ledger, as a laconic 1960s Wyoming-ite enjoying/suffering through a big gay cowboy romance with fellow buckaroo Jake Gyllenhaal, was the runner-up in the Best Actor category. Ledger trailed another – radically different – 1960s gay character: flamboyant In Cold Blood author Truman Capote, played by Philip Seymour Hoffman in Bennett Miller's Capote.

Gay cowboy romance tops Los Angeles Film Critics Awards

Ang Lee's gay cowboy romance Brokeback Mountain was the Los Angeles Film Critics Association's Best Picture of 2005. The unusual Western – adapted by Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana from Annie Proulx's short story – also earned Lee Best Director honors. (See further below the Los Angeles Film Critics' full list of winners and runners-up.)

Among the other winners announced on Dec. 10 was Michael Haneke's sociopolitical/psychological drama Hidden / Caché as Best Foreign Language Film. Hidden, which offers a deeply unsettling take on the urban European bourgeoisie and its colonial past, had previously won four 2005 European Film Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director.

Philip Seymour Hoffman was chosen the year's Best Actor for his portrayal of Truman Capote – no rugged gay cowboy, but the effete gay author of In Cold Blood – in Bennett Miller's real-life-based Capote. Heath Ledger, as one of the lovestruck gay cowboys in Brokeback Mountain, was the runner-up.

Along with The Ballad of Jack and Rose, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, and The Interpreter, Capote also earned Catherine Keener the Best Supporting Actress award. In Capote, she plays To Kill a Mockingbird author Harper Lee.

William Hurt returns & surprising Vera Farmiga

The Best Supporting Actor winner was veteran William Hurt (Best Actor Oscar winner for Kiss of the Spider Woman, 1985), making his awards season comeback as Viggo Mortensen's humorously psychopathic brother in David Cronenberg's sociopolitical family drama A History of Violence. Both Cronenberg and the film itself were runners-up in their respective categories.

But the biggest surprise among the Los Angeles Film Critics' indie-embracing choices was Best Actress Vera Farmiga for playing a working-class mom and hardcore drug addict in Debra Granik's ultra-low-budget and hardly seen Down to the Bone.

Bigger fare mostly bypassed

Noticeably absent from the Los Angeles Film Critics' list of winners and runner-ups were Peter Jackson's King KongSteven Spielberg's MunichChristopher Nolan's Batman Begins, Rob Marshall's Memoirs of a Geisha, Terrence Malick's The New World, and James Mangold's Walk the Line.

Among the “smaller” movies missing in action were Hany Abu-Assad's Paradise Now and Woody Allen's Match Point.

“We really did end up not going with anything big,” said Los Angeles Film Critics Association President Henry Sheehan. “There was some support for King Kong for cinematography and production design, but there was almost nothing for Munich, maybe a couple of acting votes, but very scattered.”

Career Achievement Award for Richard Widmark

The 31st Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards ceremony is scheduled for Jan. 17 at the Park Hyatt in Century City.

Veteran Richard Widmark, a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nominee for his portrayal of a psychopathic murderer in Henry Hathaway's 1947 film noir Kiss of Death, and the star of numerous crime dramas, thrillers, and Westerns during the 1950s and 1960s – e.g., No Way Out, Pickup on South Street, The Law and Jake Wade, Two Rode Together – will receive the Career Achievement Award.

The Los Angeles Film Critics' winners and runners-up are listed immediately below. Further down, you'll find the winners of the New York Film Critics and National Society of Film Critics awards.

See also: “Brave Journalist vs. Far Right + America the Homicidal: Movie Awards.”

Los Angeles Film Critics winners

Best Film: Brokeback Mountain.

Runner-up: A History of Violence.

Best Foreign Language Film: Hidden / Caché.

Runner-up: 2046.

Best Director: Ang Lee, Brokeback Mountain.

Runner-up: David Cronenberg, A History of Violence.

Best Actress: Vera Farmiga, Down to the Bone.

Runner-up: Judi Dench, Mrs. Henderson Presents.

Best Actor: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Capote.

Runner-up: Heath Ledger, Brokeback Mountain.

Best Supporting Actress: Catherine Keener, Capote, The Ballad of Jack and Rose, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, and The Interpreter.

Runner-up: Amy Adams, Junebug.

Best Supporting Actor: William Hurt, A History of Violence.

Runner-up: Frank Langella, Good Night and Good Luck.

Best Screenplay (tie): Dan Futterman, Capote; Noah Baumbach, The Squid and the Whale.

Best Documentary / Nonfiction Film: Grizzly Man, dir.: Werner Herzog.

Runner-up: Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, dir.: Alex Gibney.

Best Animation: Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, dir.: Nick Park & Steve Box.

Best Cinematography: Robert Elswit, Good Night and Good Luck.

Runner-up: Christopher Doyle, Kwan Pun Leung, and Lai Yiu-Fai, 2046.

Best Music Score: Joe Hisaishi, Howl's Moving Castle.

Runner-up: Ryuichi Sakamoto, Tony Takatani.

Best Production Design: William Chang, 2046.

Runner-up: James D. Bissell, Good Night and Good Luck.

Career Achievement: Richard Widmark.

New Generation Award: Terrence Howard.

Douglas Edwards Experimental / Independent Film / Video: La Commune (Paris 1871) dir.: Peter Watkins.

Special Citations:

Kevin Thomas, “for his contribution to film culture in Los Angeles.”

David Shepard, Bruce Posner, and the Anthology Film Archive for “Unseen Cinema,” described as “an unprecedented 8-disc [DVD] collection of films from 1894–1941.”

Gay Cowboy romance with Jake Gyllenhaal Heath Ledger: New York Film Critics' BestGay cowboy romance strikes again. Starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger, Ang Lee's “gay Western” Brokeback Mountain was the New York Film Critics' Best Film of the year. Lee was named Best Director while Ledger was the Best Actor for his portrayal of a conflicted gay cowboy, married to Michelle Williams but desperately in love with Jake Gyllenhaal.

New York Film Critics Awards: Gay cowboy romance wins another round

The gay cowboy romance Brokeback Mountain was the New York Film Critics Circle's Best Picture of 2005. Ang Lee's tale of forbidden yearning also earned honors for its director and star Heath Ledger.

Reese Witherspoon was chosen Best Actress for her portrayal of country singer June Carter in James Mangold's Walk the Line, about Carter's relationship with “tough guy” singer Johnny Cash.

The Best Foreign Language Film was Wong Kar-Wai's dreamily romantic 2046, which also topped the Best Cinematography category (Christopher Doyle, Lai Yiu-Fai, and Kwan Pun Leung).

Two Werner Herzog documentaries won the Best Non-Fiction Film award: Grizzly Man and The White Diamond.

In the supporting categories, the winners were Maria Bello and Los Angeles Film Critics pick William Hurt for their work in David Cronenberg's A History of Violence.

And finally, Noah Baumbach was the Best Screenplay winner for The Squid and the Whale while Hayao Miyazaki's Howl's Moving Castle was the Best Animated Film.

New York Film Critics winners

Best Film: Brokeback Mountain.

Best Foreign Language Film: 2046.

Best Director: Ang Lee, Brokeback Mountain.

Best Actor: Heath Ledger, Brokeback Mountain.

Best Actress: Reese Witherspoon, Walk the Line.

Best Supporting Actress: Maria Bello, A History of Violence.

Best Supporting Actor: William Hurt, A History of Violence.

Best Screenplay: Noah Baumbach, The Squid and the Whale.

Best Cinematographer: Christopher Doyle, Lai Yiu-Fai, and Kwan Pun Leung, 2046.

Best Non-Fiction Film: Grizzly Man & The White Diamond.

Best Animated Film: Howl's Moving Castle.

Best First Film: Bennett Miller, Capote.

Capote Philip Seymour Hoffman: Gay author drama selected instead of gay cowboy romanceCapote with Philip Seymour Hoffman. Instead of Ang Lee's gay cowboy romance Brokeback Mountain, the National Society of Film Critics went for Bennett Miller's gay author drama Capote, which chronicles Truman Capote's increasing emotional attachment to a convicted murderer (played by Clifton Collins Jr.) while doing research for his book In Cold Blood, about the brutal 1959 murder of a Kansas family and its aftermath.

National Society of Film Critics prefer 'gay author' to gay cowboy'

Instead of Ang Lee's gay cowboy romance Brokeback Mountain, the National Society of Film Critics' choice for Best Picture of 2005 was Bennett Miller's gay author psychological study Capote, which follows flamboyant writer Truman Capote during his research for his classic nonfiction book In Cold Blood. In the title role, Philip Seymour Hoffman was named Best Actor.

The Best Director was veteran David Cronenberg (Scanners, Videodrome) for the sociopolitical critique A History of Violence, which, after six rounds, failed to win the Best Picture award by one single vote. The film's scarfaced villain, Ed Harris, was named Best Supporting Actor.

The Best Foreign Language Film was 2004 European Film Award winner Head-On / Gegen die Wand, Fatih Akin's culture clash drama about a Turkish-German woman who gets married so as to escape her stiflingly reactionary Muslim family.

And finally, Reese Witherspoon was Best Actress for playing, like fellow winner Philip Seymour Hoffman, a real-life character: country singer June Carter in Walk the Line.

Little love for gay cowboy romance

Awards season fave Brokeback Mountain failed to top a single National Society of Film Critics category. The gay cowboy romance popped up only once: Heath Ledger's third-place spot in the Best Actor category.

Even so, according to the Boston Herald's James Verniere, Ang Lee's Wyoming-set Western was a strong contender in many categories.

As most elsewhere this year, smaller American films and non-American productions took center stage on the National Society of Film Critics' list of winners and runners-up. Besides Capote and A History of Violence, other titles include Junebug, 2046, and The Squid and the Whale.

National Society of Film Critics winners

(Number of votes in parentheses.)

Best Picture: Capote (12).

Runners-up: A History of Violence (11). 2046.

Best Foreign Language Film: Head-On / Gegen die Wand (26).

Runners-up: 2046 (23). Hidden / Caché (18).

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).

Runners-up: Keira Knightley, Pride & Prejudice (27). Vera Farmiga, Down to the Bone (18); Kate Dollenmayer, Funny Ha Ha (18).

Best Supporting Actor: Ed Harris, A History of Violence (27).

Runners-up: Mathieu Amalric, Munich (22); Frank Langella, Good Night and Good Luck. (22).

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 & Eric Roth, Munich (14).

Best Documentary: Grizzly Man (60).

Runners-up: Darwin's Nightmare (27). Ballets russes (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.
  • 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.

Images of Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger in Ang Lee's gay cowboy romance Brokeback Mountain: Focus Features.

Image of Philip Seymour Hoffman as In Cold Blood author Truman Capote in Capote: Sony Pictures Classics.

“Gay Cowboy Romance & Troubled Gay Writer: Awards Season Favorites + Major Vera Farmiga Upset” last updated in February 2018.

Gay Cowboy Romance & Troubled Gay Writer: Awards Season Favorites + Major Vera Farmiga Upset © 2004–2018 Alt Film Guide and/or author(s).
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