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Thursday, 14 December, 2000, 11:07 GMT
Traffic wows New York critics
Catherine Zeta Jones
Catherine Zeta Jones under pressure in Traffic
Hollywood movie Traffic, starring newlyweds Catherine Zeta Jones and Michael Douglas, has walked off with the top honours at the New York Film Critics Circle awards.

The movie, directed by Steven Soderbergh, was named best film. Soderbergh was named best director - for both Traffic and Erin Brockovich.

Benicio Del Toro
Benicio Del Toro won best supporting actor

Traffic also earned Benicio Del Toro the title of best supporting actor in the 66th annual event on Wednesday, voted on by a panel of 36 writers representing the top US newspapers.

Soderbergh's movie takes a wide-reaching look at the North American drug trade.

It focuses on a conservative judge who is appointed by the US president to lead the fight against drugs, only to discover that his teenage daughter is a heroin addict.

Soderbergh said he was delighted - and shocked - by the rousing response to his new film.

"I am stunned but happy,'' Soderbergh said.

"The film is a result of a lot of hard work by a lot of people both in front of and behind the camera.

Cast Away
Tom Hanks in next year's blockbuster Cast Away

"It is thrilling to see their contributions honoured by such a prestigious group."

Industry observers are also tipping Traffic as a strong contender for Oscar glory - a race which is beginning to gather pace.

In other awards, Tom Hanks was named best actor for his role in the upcoming blockbuster movie Cast Away.

Laura Linney won the best actress trophy for You Can Count On Me.

The movie, which centres around the complex relationship between an adult brother and sister, also earned the screenplay award for writer-director Kenneth Lonergan.

The best supporting actress award went to Marcia Gay Harden for Pollock - a portrayal of the celebrated American artist.

Marci Gay Harden
Marcia Gay Harden won praise for Pollock

Chinese writer-director Edward Yang's Yi-Yi beat off strong competition from Ang Lee's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon to win the prize for best foreign language film.

Lee's movie was widely predicted to win both this and the best film category and is another feature strongly tipped for Oscar success.

Chicken Run, from Wallace and Gromit creators Nick Park and Peter Lord, walked away with the best animated film award.

Winners in full

Best film
Traffic

Best director
Steven Soderbergh for Traffic and Erin Brockovich

Best actor
Tom Hanks for Cast Away

Best actress
Laura Linney for You Can Count On Me

Best supporting actor
Benicio Del Toro for Traffic

Best supporting actress
Marcia Gay Harden for Pollock

Best first film
George Washington from David Gordon Green

Best animated film
Chicken Run

Best foreign language film
Yi Yi

Best non-fiction film
The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg

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See also:

04 Dec 00 | Entertainment
Zeta Jones and Douglas' press battle
21 Nov 00 | Entertainment
Crouching Tiger leads Oscars assault
07 Dec 00 | Entertainment
Quills named film of the year
27 Apr 00 | Entertainment
Erin Brockovich 'blackmail attempt'
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