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Monday, 16 December, 2002, 22:22 GMT
Critics honour Far From Heaven
Julianne Moore
Julianne Moore stars in Far From Heaven
New York film critics have handed their top awards to the movie Far From Heaven as industry watchers hunt for clues as to who might pick up next year's Oscars.

Todd Haynes' homage to the Technicolor melodramas of the 1950s won best film and best director at Monday's New York Film Critics Circle Awards.

The movie also won best supporting actor (Dennis Quaid) and best supporting actress (Patricia Clarkson).

Daniel Day-Lewis took the best actor award for his role in Martin Scorsese's Gangs of New York, while Diane Lane was named best actress for Unfaithful.

Institute's pick

However, the New York awards are not always a reliable guide to Oscar glory.

About Schmidt, starring Jack Nicholson
About Schmidt has already picked up awards

The 35 newspaper and magazine writers last year chose David Lynch's Mulholland Drive over Oscar winner A Beautiful Mind, and in 2000 picked Steven Soderbergh's Traffic over Gladiator.

More likely to reflect March's Oscar ceremony is the list of best films drawn up by the American Film Institute.

The new Lord of the Rings film, Gangs of New York and Jack Nicholson drama About Schmidt are all in the top 10 list.

In alphabetical order, the movies are:

  • About A Boy
  • About Schmidt
  • Adaptation
  • Antwone Fisher
  • Chicago
  • Frida
  • Gangs of New York
  • The Hours
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
  • The Quiet American

The Hours, which stars Nicole Kidman as Virginia Woolf, appears on the list after being named best film by the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures.

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers will hope to match the success of the first instalment, which was given 13 Oscars nominations.

Among the AFI's other picks for their 2003 ceremony is black comedy Adaptation, starring Nicolas Cage and Meryl Streep. It is director Spike Jonze's follow-up to Being John Malkovich.

About A Boy
About A Boy is a surprise inclusion

Antwone Fisher is Denzel Washington's directorial debut, while Frida stars Salma Hayek as artist Frida Kahlo.

One surprise inclusion is Hugh Grant's comedy About A Boy, which was a moderate box office success and was not thought likely to be in the running for the major awards.

Michael Caine has been touted for an Oscar nomination for his role in The Quiet American.

Critics' prizes

About Schmidt, starring Jack Nicholson as a man facing retirement who faces up to an unfulfilling life, has already won one of the early awards, the LA Film Critics Association's best movie prize.

The critics also named Nicholson best actor when their awards were announced on Sunday.

But he had to share the prize with Day Lewis.

The association's pick for best actress this year was Julianne Moore for her roles in Far From Heaven and The Hours.

  • Bafta, the UK film awards body, is considering using a "virtual red carpet" at next year's ceremony, according to film industry publication Variety.

    Chief executive Amanda Berry told Variety they had consulted special effects experts after spending an "absolute fortune" on a red carpet that started frothing in the rain this year.


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