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Crix crown Spielberg

Completing a sweep of the major film critics’ groups, “Schindler’s List” has been named best picture of 1993 by the National Society of Film Critics and, for once, Steven Spielberg also won as best director.

“Schindler” thus became the first film since “Nashville” in 1975 to cop honors from the four most prominent critics’ orgs — the New York and Los Angeles associations, the National Society and the National Board of Review. (“Nashville” tied that year with “Barry Lyndon” for the latter group’s prize.)

In all, the epic Holocaust drama took four awards, with N.Y. Crix winner Ralph Fiennes again snaring the supporting actor kudo, and Janusz Kaminski, a winner in N.Y. and co-winner in L.A., taking the cinematography honors.

Holly Hunter also completed a four-group sweep by prevailing as best actress for “The Piano,” while David Thewliss copped the best actor award for “Naked,” as he had with the N.Y. Critics.

Only other prize for “The Piano” came for Jane Campion’s screenplay, and Madeleine Stowe was named best supporting actress for “Short Cuts.”

Foreign-language film accolade went to Zhang Yimou’s “The Story of Qiu Ju” from China. Documentary award went to “Visions of Light: The Art of Cinematography” by Arnold Glassman, Variety chief film critic Todd McCarthy and Stuart Samuels.

“Schindler” prevailed as best picture on the first ballot in voting Monday at the Algonquin Hotel in New York, tallying 44 votes to 36 for “The Piano” and 19 for “Short Cuts.” A winner can be declared on a first ballot if it appears on more than half of the ballots cast.

In similar fashion, but reversing the much-discussed trend of other critics’ groups to rate the best picture’s director second, Spielberg triumphed on the first ballot with 46 votes. Campionwas next with 33 and Altman was third with 16 .

Thewliss and Hunter also won on the first ballots. Thewliss took actor honors with 45 votes, followed by a tie, at 25 apiece, between Anthony Hopkins for “The Remains of the Day” and “Shadowlands” and Daniel Day-Lewis for “In the Name of the Father.”

Hunter won by the biggest margin, grabbing 52 votes over 28 for Ashley Judd for “Ruby in Paradise” and 16 for Stockard Channing in “Six Degrees of Separation.”

Close race

It took three ballots for Fiennes to emerge as best supporting actor, winning with 29 votes over 22 apiece for Leonardo DiCaprio for “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape” and “This Boy’s Life” and Tommy Lee Jones for “The Fugitive.”

With 19 votes, Stowe had the edge on the second ballot for supporting actress over Gwyneth Paltrow in “Flesh and Bone” with 18, and Anna Paquin in “The Piano” and Jennifer Jason Leigh for “Short Cuts,” both with 15.

Campion also won her screenplay prize on the second ballot with 25 votes. Second was John Guare for “Six Degrees” with 17, followed by Robert Altman and Frank Barhydt for “Short Cuts” with 13.

Kaminski nabbed the lensing award for “Schindler” with 40 votes over his L.A. Crix co-winner Stuart Dryburgh for “The Piano” (36) and Michael Ballhaus for “The Age of Innocence” (15).

Second language

Voting for foreign-language film went to a second ballot, with “The Story of Qiu Ju” (21) besting Krzysztof Kieslowski’s Franco-Polish “Three Colors: Blue” ( 18) and Chen Kaige’s Hong Kong-Chinese “Farewell My Concubine” (16). The latter won with all previous critics’ groups.

“Visions of Light” won the documentary prize on the first ballot with 45 votes, followed by “It’s All True” (24) and “The War Room” by D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus (22).

A special citation was given to “It’s All True” directors Richard Wilson, Myron Meisel and Bill Krohn and editor Ed Marx “for their historic work in assembling the footage from Orson Welles ‘lost’ 1942 Brazilian documentary.”

A special citation for experimental work was awarded to Mark Rappaport’s video “Rock Hudson’s Home Movies””for adroitly combining fictional narrative with essay to deconstruct Rock Hudson’s screen image.”

Overall, results differed from the New York Film Critics only in three categories: director (Campion at N.Y.), supporting actress (Gong Li in “Concubine”) and foreign-language film (“Concubine”).

This was the 28th annual awards voting by the group. Of the 35 members, 19 were present in person and another 13 voted by proxy. Peter Rainer of the Los Angeles Times was voted to a fourth term as president.

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