Crowe pic rocks; 'Tiger' also scores

BOSTON — In a year in which no film has emerged as a surefire Oscar contender, the Boston Society of Film Critics has raised the aspirations of two more films: “Almost Famous” and “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.”

Meeting at Boston’s 100-year-old Lenox Hotel, the Boston scribes gave four awards, including best picture, to Cameron Crowe’s coming-of-age film, “Almost Famous.” The rock-themed pic also got Crowe the director nod and a shared prize for screenplay with Steven Kloves’ script for “Wonder Boys.” Frances McDormand won the supporting actress award for her roles in both “Almost Famous” and “Wonder Boys.”

Ang Lee’s artsy martial arts film, “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” received two awards, one for foreign-language film and the other for Peter Pau’s cinematography.

Crix mix it up

Such was the mix of opinion on the year’s films that nominees ran the gamut from mainstream Hollywood to the most obscure arthouse fare. “Almost Famous” defeated the Taiwanese “Yi Yi” and the Julia Roberts starrer “Erin Brockovich” for best picture, while “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” bested both “Yi Yi” and “Color of Paradise.” The runners up for best director included Edward Yang (“Yi Yi”), Steve Soderbergh (“Erin Brockovich,” “Traffic”) and Michael Winterbottom (“The Claim,” “Wonderland”).

Ellen Burstyn snagged the actress award for her performance of a woman strung out on diet pills in “Requiem for a Dream,” edging out Julia Roberts (“Erin Brockovich”) and Laura Linney (“You Can Count on Me”). The surprise winner for actor was Colin Farrell for “Tigerland,” in a field that included Javier Bardem (“Before Night Falls”), Tom Hanks (“Cast Away”) and Mark Ruffalo (“You Can Count on Me”). Having lost in both acting awards, “You Can Count on Me” picked up an award for director Kenneth Lonergan, who was cited as best new filmmaker.

Supporting actor went to Fred Willard’s motormouth announcer in “Best in Show” (runners up were Albert Finney for “Erin Brockovich” and Jack Black for “High Fidelity”). Documentary award went to Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato’s “The Eyes of Tammy Faye,” about the travails of televangelist spouse Tammy Faye Bakker, with honorable mentions going to “The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg” and “Into the Arms of Strangers.”

In addition, special citations were awarded to the Shooting Gallery and Loews Cineplex, for their ongoing series in several cities of independent films, and to the Coolidge Corner Theater for opening a new screening room to showcase the work of local filmmakers.

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