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N.Y. critics group names 'Milk' best film

The biopic's stars, Sean Penn and Josh Brolin, are also lauded.

December 11, 2008|Susan King | King is a Times staff writer.

Gus Van Sant's "Milk" received best picture honors Wednesday from the New York Film Critics Circle.

The drama about openly gay San Francisco Board of Supervisors member Harvey Milk, who was assassinated 30 years ago, also won best actor for Sean Penn and supporting actor for Josh Brolin. Penn, who plays Milk in the film, also won the best actor award Tuesday from the Los Angeles Film Critics Assn.

Best actress went to Sally Hawkins for her role as the effusive Poppy in Mike Leigh's comedy "Happy-Go-Lucky." Just as with Penn, Hawkins was also LAFCA's choice for best actress. Leigh, who is best known for his kitchen-sink British dramas, earned best director for his change-of-pace "Happy-Go-Lucky."

Another LAFCA choice, Penelope Cruz, earned best supporting actress as Javier Bardem's jealous, neurotic ex-wife in the Woody Allen comedy "Vicky Cristina Barcelona."

The sole win for this year's critics' darling, "Slumdog Millionaire," was for Anthony Dod Mantle's cinematography.

Best screenplay honors went to first-time screenwriter Jenny Lumet for the intimate drama "Rachel Getting Married." Disney/Pixar's "Wall-E," which also earned best picture from LAFCA, received best animated film.

Best documentary went to "Man on Wire." Courtney Hunt, writer-director of "Frozen River," earned the best first film award. The Romanian drama "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days" won best foreign film.

The NYFCC was founded in 1935. Its membership includes critics from daily and weekly newspapers, magazines and online publications. Though several of its selections have gone on to win the Academy Award -- including the group's choice last year for best film ("No Country for Old Men"), screenplay and director (Joel and Ethan Coen), supporting actor (Javier Bardem) and best actor (Daniel Day-Lewis) -- the group's awards are seen "as a principal alternative to the Oscars, honoring aesthetic merit in a forum that is immune to commercial or political pressures," according to the organization.

The awards will be presented at the Strata restaurant in New York City on Jan. 5.

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susan.king@latimes.com

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