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N.Y. film critics pick Almodóvar's Bad Education as best foreign film

N.Y. film critics pick Almodóvar's Bad Education as best foreign film

Sideways, a comedy about two buddies on a wine-soaked midlife romp in California grape-growing country, was the big winner on Monday in the New York Film Critics Circle Awards, taking Best Picture and three other honors. Paul Giamatti was named Best Actor, and his costar Virginia Madsen was cited as Best Supporting Actress for their roles in Sideways, which has grossed around $13 million so far in a limited release. Best Director honors, however, eluded Sideways helmsman Alexander Payne and went instead to 74-year-old Clint Eastwood for his movie about a female boxer, Million Dollar Baby. The New York critics tapped Imelda Staunton as Best Actress for Vera Drake and gave the Best Supporting Actor award to Clive Owen for Closer. Payne did win recognition for his writing as he took Best Screenplay honors with cowriter Jim Taylor for Sideways. The awards, in their 70th year, can be an indicator for the Academy Awards, which are bestowed in February. Last year the group named The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King as Best Picture, and it went on to win the Oscar. But its choices for acting and directing awards were all different from the eventual Oscar winners. Michael Moore's Bush-bashing political documentary Fahrenheit 9/11 was cited as Best Nonfiction Film, while The Incredibles was named Best Animated Film. Best Foreign Film was Bad Education, directed by Spain's Pedro Almodovar, while the award for Best First Film was given to Maria Full of Grace, directed by Joshua Marston. Hero, the Chinese action film, was cited for Best Cinematography. Sideways also led Golden Globe nominations--announced earlier on Monday with seven nods--as well as Independent Spirit Award nominations and awards from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association.

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