Noir thriller is big Boston crix winner

BOSTON — Crime paid big at the 17th annual meeting of the Boston Society of Film Critics, with top awards going to “L.A. Confidential” and “Donnie Brasco.”

“Confidential” was the big winner, snagging best film, director (Curtis Hanson), screenplay (Hanson and Brian Helgeland) and supporting actor for Kevin Spacey. The Boston vote means the pic and Hanson have won four out of four in the year-end critics awards so far.

Al Pacino was the easy winner in the lead actor category for his sad-sack mobster in “Donnie Brasco,” with his nod the only one to be decided on a single ballot. Paul Thomas Anderson was heralded as best new filmmaker for “Hard Eight” and “Boogie Nights.”

Helena Bonham Carter won the actress prize for “The Wings of the Dove,” and Sarah Polley got the nod for her supporting performance in “The Sweet Hereafter.”

Roger Deakins was cited for cinematography for “Kundun.” The most hotly contested race was for foreign-language film, with the nod going to Emir Kusturica’s “Underground.” Errol Morris’ “Fast, Cheap and Out of Control” got the documentary prize.

The Boston crix also list second- and third-place winners. The runners-up are: for film, “The Sweet Hereafter” and “Donnie Brasco”; director, Atom Egoyan (“Hereafter”) and Mike Newell (“Brasco”); screenplay, Kevin Smith, “Chasing Amy,” and Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, “Good Will Hunting.”

Also, actress, Katrin Cartlidge (“Career Girls”) and Tilda Swinton (“Female Perversions”); supporting actor, Burt Reynolds (“Boogie Nights”) and Robert Downey Jr. (“One Night Stand”); supporting actress, Joan Cusack (“In & Out”) and Allison Elliot (“The Wings of the Dove”).

Cinematography, “The Wings of the Dove” and “The Sweet Hereafter”; foreign-language film, “Shall We Dance?” and “Irma Vep”; docu, “Sick” and “Message to Love.”

The society also cites film series and discoveries/rediscoveries. Best series were “The Universal Noirs,” which appeared at the Brattle Theatre; “Dennis Potter: The Singing Screenwriter” and “The Boston French Film Festival,” which appeared at the Museum of Fine Arts; and “Imitations of Life: The Films of Rainer Werner Fassbinder” and “Starring Johanna Ter Steege” at the Harvard Film Archive.

Individual citations went to showings of “Forgotten Silver,” Jean-Luc Godard’s “Contempt” and the 1945 pre-release version of “The Big Sleep” at the Brattle, and revivals of “Berlin Alexanderplatz” at the Harvard Film Archive and “The Harder They Come” at the Coolidge Corner Theater.