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Last Updated: Tuesday, 10 January 2006, 08:59 GMT
Critics honour Brokeback Mountain
Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal in Brokeback Mountain
Brokeback Mountain leads the Golden Globes nominations
Cowboy romance Brokeback Mountain has secured three more prizes at the 11th annual Critics' Choice Awards.

The epic movie, adapted from a short story by E Annie Proulx, was voted best film by the critics, who have a reputation for picking Oscar winners.

Director Ang Lee was named best director, while Michelle Williams was jointly named best supporting actress.

The tale of forbidden love between two men leads the nominees for the Golden Globes, due to be announced next week.

Williams, who plays the disappointed wife to Heath Ledger's character Ennis Del Mar, shared her prize with Amy Adams, for the comedy Junebug.

"We trusted the tale and it led us to where it wanted to go ... we are getting a better reception than we thought," said Taiwanese-born director Lee, speaking after the awards.

Thandie Newton and Matt Dillon in Crash
Crash's cast includes Thandie Newton and Matt Dillon

However ensemble drama Crash could prove a worthy Oscar rival after winning two major awards at the Critics' Choice ceremony on Monday.

Director and co-screenwriter Paul Haggis's film, which deals with endemic racism in America, won awards for its ensemble cast and Haggis - who was behind the 2004 Oscar winner Million Dollar Baby.

Some critics believe Crash could win favour over Brokeback Mountain among academy voters who may reject the film's theme of homosexual love.

The leading acting prizes honoured portrayals of real-life characters.

Philip Seymour Hoffman picked up the best actor award for his role in the biopic about Truman Capote, called Capote, and Reese Witherspoon triumphed for her portrayal of singer June Carter Cash in Walk the Line.

Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon in Walk the Line
Witherspoon plays the wife of singer Johnny Cash in Walk the Line

Other key winners included Paul Giamatti for his supporting role as a boxing trainer in Cinderella Man and Britain's Freddie Highmore, who won his second award for best young actor for his role in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

In a further triumph for Britain, Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit was named best animated feature.

Actor and director George Clooney received the Freedom Award, a special tribute "for illuminating our shared values of freedom, tolerance and democracy" in his film Good Night, and Good Luck - which he co-wrote and directed.

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