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New York critics
honor Brokeback, while Capote and
Transamerica take NBR acting kudos

New York critics
honor Brokeback, while Capote and
Transamerica take NBR acting kudos

Gay cowboy love story Brokeback Mountain won three of the top four awards from the New York Film Critics Circle on Monday, building momentum as the critics' favorite for Hollywood's top honors, the Oscars. Earlier the National Board of Review, a New York group of 150 film professionals, academics, and students, announced its annual awards, naming George Clooney's McCarthy-era drama Good Night, and Good Luck as the best film of 2005. The awards presented by the New York Film Critics Circle are among a string of second-tier awards leading up to the March 5 Academy Awards. The slew of awards announced in December traditionally helps narrow the field for the Oscars.

Director Ang Lee's film Brokeback Mountain is shaping up as the critics' favorite, despite concerns that its depiction of a love affair between two men may have trouble winning over audiences in more conservative parts of the country. The New York Film Critics Circle gave the film its awards for Best Film, Best Director, and Best Actor--for Heath Ledger, who appears on the cover of the January 17 issue of The Advocate, on sale December 20. Brokeback Mountain already won Best Film from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association on Saturday, and it earned eight nominations for the Critics Choice Awards on Sunday.

The National Board of Review's prize for directing went to Lee for Brokeback Mountain. Lee's resume boasts a varied string of hits, including the Jane Austen adaptation Sense and Sensibility in 1995 and the martial arts epic Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon in 2000. "A lot of people among critics are responding to it because it is so daring," said Gene Seymour, chairman of the New York Film Critics Circle. "It has all the sweep of what we have come to know as a major Hollywood romance, but it carries within it such a grand departure," he said.

The New York Film Critics named Reese Witherspoon as Best Actress for her role in the Johnny Cash biopic Walk the Line. Their awards for Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress went to William Hurt and Maria Bello for their roles in A History of Violence. Critically acclaimed Capote, directed by Bennett Miller, won an award for Best First Film, while Werner Herzog will be honored for two nonfiction films, Grizzly Man and White Diamond, the group said. Hong Kong director Wong Kar Wai's 2046 was named Best Foreign Language Film, and Japanese filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki's Howl's Moving Castle won Best Animated Film.

The National Board of Review, which has sometimes raised eyebrows for its esoteric picks, appeared not to have gone too far out on a limb this year. It picked Philip Seymour Hoffman as Best Actor for Capote and Desperate Housewives star Felicity Huffman as Best Actress for Transamerica. The National Board of Review also listed its 10 best films of the year in a selection that included many of those named by the Critics Choice Awards on Sunday.

The list, which was not ranked in order, included independents such as Brokeback Mountain, Crash, and Capote as well as A History of Violence, the political thriller Syriana, and big studio productions Walk the Line and Memoirs of a Geisha. Steven Spielberg and Woody Allen made the list for Munich and Match Point, respectively. Paradise Now, about Palestinian suicide bombers, was named Best Foreign-Language Film, and March of the Penguins was given Best Documentary by the National Board of Review. The National Board of Review's picks have traditionally been closely watched because it has been the first to announce its awards, but its announcement was delayed this year amid controversy over its voting procedures. (Claudia Parsons, Reuters)

Advocate Magazine - KehlaniAdvocate Magazine - Gus Kenworthy

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