Story by: Jack Foley
WINE-drenched comedy, Sideways,
has become the toast of film critics in Los Angeles, who named
it best film of 2004 recently.
The quirky comedy, about two men who go on a road trip through
the Napa Valley Wine Region, in California, on the week before
one of them is to marry, also picked up best director, for Alexander
(About Schmidt) Payne, and
best supporting actor, for Thomas Haden Church.
Virginia Madsen was also named best supporting actress for her
performance in the film, but there were no prizes for main star,
Paul Giamatti, who provides a masterclass in under-statement.
The film already looks set to become
one of the best of 2005, after it hits UK cinemas in January.
In what proved a good year for British stars, Liam Neeson took
the best actor prize for his role in Kinsey,
about the sex researcher, while Imelda Staunton was named best
actress for her portrayal of an abortionist in Mike Leigh's Vera
Drake (which also triumphed at Venice).
Zhang Yimou's breathtaking martial arts epic, House
of Flying Daggers, was named best foreign language film, while
the animation award went to Pixar's The
The awards are to be handed out on January 13 at a ceremony in
In an unprecedented step, the association also named the runners-up
in each category, with Clint Eastwood's Million
Dollar Baby just missing out on the best film award.
And Martin Scorsese was a best director runner-up for his Howard
Hughes biopic, The Aviator.
But a career achievement award will be handed to veteran actor
and comic, Jerry Lewis.