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NSFC honors Clint, Thompson

The National Society of Film Critics echoed other scribes in voting prizes for “Unforgiven,” actress Emma Thompson and others representing “The Player” and “The Crying Game.”

In its 27th meeting on Jan. 3 at the Algonquin Hotel in Manhattan, 25 voters of the 35-member organization came up with honorees that provide an unusual pre-Oscar consensus with the choices made by the New York Film Critics Circle, Los Angeles Film Critics Assn., National Board of Review’s D.W. Griffith Awards and Hollywood Foreign Press Assn.’s Golden Globe nominations.

Best picture and best director mirrored the L.A. film critics, going to Clint Eastwood and his Warner Bros. western “Unforgiven,” both first-ballot victors. As director Eastwood got 43 points, to beat Robert Altman’s 28 for “The Player” and Neil Jordan’s 23 for “The Crying Game.” In the picture balloting, “Unforgiven” got 47, “Crying Game” 28 and “The Player” 23.

Starring in Sony Pictures Classics’ “Howards End,” Thompson scored her fourth straight win as best actress of ’92. She earned 41 points in a first-ballot win, beating Susan Sarandon’s 14 for both “Lorenzo’s Oil” and “Light Sleeper,” and 10 points each for Gong Li in “Raise the Red Lantern” and Pernilla August in “The Best Intentions.”

NSFC found a new face for best actor, naming Irish thesp Stephen Rea on the second ballot for his starring role in Miramax’s “The Crying Game.” He got 20 votes, ahead of LAFCA winner Clint Eastwood’s 18 as actor in his own “Unforgiven” and 14 for NYFCC victor Denzel Washington as “Malcolm X.”

Gene Hackman was named best supporting actor on first ballot for “Unforgiven.” Hackman’s 33 points outdistanced Jaye Davidson’s 13 for “The Crying Game” and Delroy Lindo’s 11 for “Malcolm X.”

Judy Davis also scored a first-ballot victory asbest supporting actress in TriStar’s “Husbands and Wives.” She already has the award from the LAFCA and the National Board of Review, plus a Golden Globe nomination.

Davis earned 36 points, with second place and 23 points going to NYFCC winner Miranda Richardson for “Damage,””The Crying Game” and “Enchanted April.” Third, with 22, was Vanessa Redgrave of “Howards End.”

David Webb Peoples was the first-ballot choice as best screenwriter for “Unforgiven,” mirroring his LAFCA nod. His 40 points beat out NYFCC winner Neil Jordan’s 31 for “The Crying Game” and Michael Tolkin’s 18 for “The Player.”

Orion Classics’ “Raise the Red Lantern,” directed by Zhang Yimou, was a first-ballot victor as best foreign-language film with 23 points. Aki Kaurismaki’s “The Match Factory Girl” got 21 and Bille August’s “The Best Intentions” had 15.

“Lantern” also received a best cinematography nod on the second ballot for lenser Zhao Fei, with 23 points, ahead of Jean de Segonzac’s 19 for “Laws of Gravity” and Jack N. Green’s 17 for “Unforgiven.”

Barbara Kopple’s Oscar winner “American Dream” (Miramax) won best documentary on the first ballot with 33 points. Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky’s “Brother’s Keeper” had 20 and Errol Morris’ “A Brief History of Time” had 14.

The group made a citation “to ‘Another Girl Another Planet’ by Michael Almereyda for expanding the possibilities of experimental filmmaking, including the use of a Pixelvision toy camcorder.”

NSFC dedicated the awards to “the memory of our colleague Stephen Harvey, gifted critic (of Inquiry magazine) and curator for Museum of Modern Art’s Dept. of Film, who passed away from AIDS Jan. 1.”

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