"Saving Private Ryan," Steven Spielberg's harrowing World War II drama, was voted best picture of 1998 on Saturday by the Los Angeles Film Critics Assn.
The box office hit, which stars Tom Hanks, was the big winner--receiving three of the critics' awards. Spielberg won for best director and Janusz Kaminski was named for his cinematography.
Tying for best actress were Ally Sheedy as a lesbian drug addict in "High Art," and Fernanda Montenegro as an elderly woman who befriends an orphan boy in the Brazilian drama "Central Station."
The critics named Sir Ian McKellen best actor for his performance in "Gods and Monsters," portraying James Whale, the gay director of "Frankenstein." McKellen and Montenegro were also named best actor and actress last week by the National Board of Review.
With its L.A. win, "Private Ryan" is a strong contender for the 71st annual Academy Awards to be presented March 21. The L.A. Critics' big winner last year, "L.A. Confidential," went on to pick up Oscars for adapted screenplay and best supporting actress.
Other major winners Saturday included Joan Allen, who was named best supporting actress for "Pleasantville." Tying in the supporting actor category were Billy Bob Thornton in the dark morality tale "A Simple Plan," and Bill Murray for his comedic roles in "Rushmore" and "Wild Things."
Warren Beatty and Jeremy Pisker were named for their screenplay of the political satire "Bulworth."
The Los Angeles critics' awards will be presented Jan. 20 at the Bel Age Hotel.
Picture: "Saving Private Ryan"; runner-up: "The Butcher Boy"
Direction: Steven Spielberg; runner-up, John Boorman, "The General"
Actress (tie): Ally Sheedy, "High Art," and Fernanda Montenegro, "Central Station"
Actor: Sir Ian McKellen, "Gods and Monsters"; runner-up: Nick Nolte, "Affliction"
Supporting actress: Joan Allen, "Pleasantville"; runner-up: Kathy Bates, "Primary Colors"
Supporting actor (tie): Billy Bob Thornton, "A Simple Plan," and Bill Murray, "Rushmore" and "Wild Things"
Screenplay: Warren Beatty and Jeremy Pisker, "Bulworth"; runner-up: Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard, "Shakespeare in Love"
Cinematography: Janusz Kaminski, "Saving Private Ryan"; runner-up: Seamus Deasy, "The General"
Music: Elliot Goldenthal, "The Butcher Boy"; Carter Burwell, "Gods and Monsters"
Production design: Jeannine Oppewall, "Pleasantville"; runner-up: Dennis Gassner, "The Truman Show"
Documentary: "The Farm," directed by Jonathan Stack, Liz Garbus with Wilbert Rideau; runner-up, "Public Housing," directed by Frederick Wiseman
Foreign Film: Thomas Vinterberg's "Celebration" (Denmark); runner-up: Walter Salles' "Central Station" (Brazil)
Animation: "A Bug's Life," directed by John Lasseter (feature-length); "T.R.A.N.S.I.T.," directed by Piet Kroon (short)
The Douglas Edwards Independent/Experimental Film/Video Award: Elizabeth Subrin, "Shulie"
New Generation Award: Wes Anderson, director of "Rushmore" and "Bottle Rocket"