Gay cowboy movie“Brokeback Mountain,”the favorite in the Oscars race, roped in three Critics’ Choice Awards yesterday, while darkhorse“Crash” showed unexpected strength ?a sign perhaps of the fight to come.
The U.S.’broadcast film critics voted “Brokeback” its best picture at its 11th Critics’ Choice Awards and also named the film's creator, Taiwanese-born Ang Lee, as the year's best director. Michelle Williams, who plays an emotionally ignored wife in the movie, tied for best supporting actress with Amy Adams of “Junebug.”
But“Crash,”a tale of endemic racism in America, took two major awards, an indication that this may be the film that could challenge Ang Lee's drama of forbidden love between two married men on the road to the March 5 Oscars.
Some Oscar pundits are insisting that“Brokeback's” theme of homosexual love will ultimately be rejected by mainstream Oscar voters.
The lead acting prizes honored portrayals of historical characters. Philip Seymour Hoffman was named best actor for portraying novelist Truman Capote in “Capote,”while Reese Witherspoon was cited for her role as country music matriarch June Carter Cash in “Walk the Line.”
Other key winners included Paul Giamatti for his supporting role in“Cinderella Man,”a film whose Oscar chances have been handicapped by poor box office and star Russell Crowe's misdemeanor conviction for throwing a telephone at a hotel clerk.
George Clooney received the Freedom Award, a special tribute“for illuminating our shared values of freedom, tolerance and democracy”through“Good Night, and Good Luck,”his film about television reporter Edward R. Murrow and the McCarthy era. Oscar winner Julia Roberts, making her first public appearance since having twins, presented the award.
The Critics’Choice Awards was organized by the Broadcast Film Critics Association. Up until last year, the Critics’Choice had an enviable record of picking eventual Oscar winners: its last five best picture winners went on to take the top prize at the Academy Awards, as did eight of the last nine directors. But last year, voters chose “Sideways”for best picture, and Martin Scorsese for director, while the Oscar went with “Million Dollar Baby”and its director, Clint Eastwood.