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Mystic River heads Broadcast Film Critics' Association nominations

Story by: Jack Foley

AS the Oscar race shows signs of gathering pace, the smart money would appear to be on either Clint Eastwood’s Mystic River, or Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, walking away with the major honours.

The former leads the nominations for the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA) Awards, announced earlier this week, with a total of eight nods, including best film.

In America, Jim Sheridan’s semi-autobiographical tale of an Irish family moving to New York and coming to terms with the death of one of their children, starring Samantha Morton, got seven.

Eight other films will compete for best film, including The Return Of The King and Nicole Kidman's epic Cold Mountain.

The prizes are voted for by North American film critics and awarded in January. They are [perceived as yet another good pointer to the Oscars, especially as last year’s winner, Chcago, repeated the trick at the Academy Awards.

Mystic River, which stars Sean Penn as a father trying to get to grips with the murder of his daughter, and which co-stars Tim Robbins, Kevin Bacon and Laurence Fishburne, has already been included in the US National Board of Review's list of the best 10 films of 2003.

While In America is also being seen as a strong outside bet for the awards season.

Bill Murray's acclaimed comedy, Lost In Translation, and Tim Burton's Big Fish have five nominations each, while The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King has four. Animated adventure, Finding Nemo, Tom Cruise’s epic, The Last Samurai, Russell Crowe’s Master and Commander and Tobey Maguire’s Seabiscuit round out the nominees for best film.

Joey Berlin, BFCA president, described the list as ‘fascinating’, because of its diversity of ‘several epics and several smaller, intensely personal films’.

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