Word from S.F. crix: ‘Translation’ best

Jackson nabs helmer kudos

SAN FRANCISCO — The San Francisco Film Critics Circle has named Sofia Coppola’s “Lost in Translation” best picture of 2003, the group announced Monday.

Director honors went to New Zealander Peter Jackson for “The Return of the King,” the third and final installment of his adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic “The Lord of the Rings.”

The group, which includes 20 film critics from around the Bay area, also picked “Lost in Translation” star Bill Murray as best actor for his wistful, tender and often funny portrayal of an aging movie star spending a jet-lagged week in a Tokyo hotel.

Actress honors went to Charlize Theron for her persuasive and potent portrayal of serial killer Aileen Wuornos in “Monster,” slated for limited release Dec. 26.

Peter Sarsgaard drew the supporting actor nod for his role in “Shattered Glass” as Chuck Lane, the editor who uncovered fabrications by New Republic reporter Stephen Glass. “Pieces of April” star Patricia Clarkson took supporting actress kudos. She played a sardonic cancer patient reluctantly reuniting with her wayward daughter for Thanksgiving dinner.

Docu prize went to Andrew Jarecki’s “Capturing the Friedmans,” which followed the dissolution of a Long Island family in the wake of allegations of sexual abuse. Foreign film honors went to Flemish film “The Son.”

A special citation dubbed the “Better Late Than Never” award went to the groundbreaking film “Russian Ark,” filmed in a single take. Though the film technically had a 2002 release, it didn’t open in many markets, including the Bay area, until 2003, and SFFCC members said they wanted to recognize its achievement.

Group also announced establishment of an annual honor to be bestowed on a Bay area filmmaker, the Marlon Riggs Award. Riggs was a documaker (“Ethnic Notions,” “Tongues Untied,” “Black Is … Black Ain’t”) and professor at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.

The first recipient is documentarian Sam Green, whose in his 2003 film “The Weather Underground” took a clear-eyed look back at the titular 1960s radical group and the rage that fueled its acts of urban terrorism. Green co-directed the film with Bill Siegel.

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