‘Departed’ given top honors by Boston critics

Mob drama also wins trophies for director, supporting actor, screenplay

The Boston Society of Film Critics mobbed up for “The Departed,” naming the Boston-set gangster pic the best film of 2006. The movie (shot in Boston and New York) also won for director (Martin Scorsese), screenplay (William Monahan) and supporting actor (Mark Wahlberg).

The critics reached consensus quickly, picking most winners on no more than two or three ballots.

“The Departed” edged out runner-up “United 93” in both picture and director (Paul Greengrass) categories. A third contender was “The Queen,” which was runner-up for screenplay (Peter Morgan), and supporting actor, where Michael Sheen (who plays British PM Tony Blair) tied with “The Departed’s” Alec Baldwin (also noted for “Running With Scissors” and “The Good Shepherd”) for honorable mention.

Actor and actress nods went to two performers playing real-life rulers: Forest Whitaker as Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in “The Last King of Scotland” and Helen Mirren as Elizabeth II in “The Queen.” Two thesps playing teachers were runners-up: “Half Nelson’s” Ryan Gosling and Judi Dench in “Notes on a Scandal.”

Shareeka Epps of “Half Nelson” drew the supporting actress nod. Meryl Streep’s boss from hell in “The Devil Wears Prada” was runner-up in the category.

Closest vote among the Boston critics came as “Half Nelson” director Ryan Fleck edged out Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, co-directors of “Little Miss Sunshine,” by a single vote to land the David Brudnoy New Filmmaker Award, given to a first-time director in honor of one the founding members of the BSFC who died in 2004. Most categories found quick consensus. “United 93” took ensemble cast (over “The Departed”), while Guillermo del Toro’s “Pan’s Labyrinth” was tapped the top foreign-language film and honored for cinematography (Guillermo Navarro). Pedro Almodovar’s “Volver” was runner-up in the foreign pic race.

The documentary category saw votes divided among a wide range of films, ending in a tie for “Shut Up and Sing,” Barbara Kopple and Cecilia Peck’s film about the Dixie Chicks, and “Deliver Us From Evil,” Amy Berg’s portrait of a priest who molested children in several California parishes. Doug Block’s “51 Birch Street,” a voyage of discovery into the private lives of his parents, was the runner-up.

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