Story by: Jack Foley
SIDEWAYS is rapidly emerging
as the film to beat this awards season, having been named best
picture of 2004 by the New York Critics' Circle.
Alexander Payne's quirky comedy, starring Paul Giamatti, already
leads the field in terms of Golden Globe nominations, and was
also named best film of 2004 by critics in Los Angeles.
But Sideays also picked up a best actor award for Giamatti, best
supporting actress for co-star, Virginia Madsen, and best screenplay,
for Payne (an award which he shared with co-writer, Jim Taylor).
The film is a nicely-played road movie about two men who take
a road trip together through California's wine region on the week
before one is to get married. Needless to say, comic capers abound,
as the two make important self discoveries and become romantically
entangled with two women.
It already looks set to become of
the best films of 2005 in the UK, and was among the best reviewed
in America following its late release this year.
The New York Critics' Circle also recognised British talent in
their round-up of awards.
Clive Owen was named best supporting actor for his performance
in Closer (Mike Nichols' sexually
frank relationship potboiler), and Imelda Staunton was named best
actress for Vera Drake - enhancing
her Oscar chances, following wins at Venice, LA and Europe.
Clint Eastwood was named best director for his latest movie,
Million Dollar Baby,
a boxing drama co-starring Hilary Swank and Morgan Freeman, and
Michael Moore's Cannes-winner, Fahrenheit
9/11 and Pixar's The Incredibles,
took the non-fiction and animated prizes.
Pedro Almodovar's Bad Education
was named best foreign film (having missed out at the European
Film Awards) and the best first film was named as Joshua Marston's
Maria: Full of Grace, which was one of the audience favourites
at this year's London Film Festival.
A special award was also presented to Milestone Films, in honour
of 15 years of restoring classic films.