Nat’l Society Crix Fall For ‘Fiction’

The often idiosyncratic National Society of Film Critics was in uncommon accord with other film critics’ groups this season, voting three of its top awards for 1994 to “Pulp Fiction” and repeating the choices of various regional groups in most artistic categories.

In convincing fashion, Quentin Tarantino’s quirky crime melodrama snared the awards for picture, director and screenplay. Pic began its career by copping the Palme d’Or at Cannes last year and subsequently prevailed with the Los Angeles Film Critics Assn. as well as the National Board of Review, where it tied with “Forrest Gump.”

The only previously unanointed achievement cited by the National Society was Jennifer Jason Leigh’s starring performance in “Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle,” for which she was voted best actress.

Otherwise, winners had a familiar ring. Paul Newman was named best actor for “Nobody’s Fool,” repeating his New York Film Critics victory. Martin Landau’s turn as Bela Lugosi in “Ed Wood” and Dianne Wiest’s outing as a theatrical grande dame in “Bullets Over Broadway” were deemed the best supporting performances of the year, as they had been by most other critical orgs.

Krzysztof Kieslowski’s “Red” nabbed best foreign-language film honors, “Hoop Dreams” was a slam dunk in the documentary category, and Stefan Czapsky’s black-and-white lensing of “Ed Wood” took the best cinematography citation.

Special citations in the experimental category were given to Bela Tarr’s Hungarian epic “Satantango” and Lewis Klahr’s animated “The Pharaoh’s Belt.”

The National Society of Film Critics comprises 42 critics from leading magazines and newspapers around the country, 34 of whom participated in the voting Tuesday at the Algonquin Hotel in New York. This is the 29th year the organization has bestowed awards. Peter Rainer of the Los Angeles Times was reelected chair of the society.

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