Guild gifts golden; crix’ pix take licks

The myriad guild awards presented in the weeks leading up to the Academy Awards proved to be remarka-bly reliable predictors of this year’s Oscar winners.

As usual, however, voting by critics groups was generally at odds with that of Academy members.

As it has in 12 of the last 14 years, the Academy agreed with the Directors Guild of America that “The English Patient” helmer Anthony Minghella was tops in his field this year. Similarly, the Producers Guild of America hon-ored Saul Zaentz, producer of the best picture winner.

The Screen Actors Guild presented awards to Oscar winners Geoffrey Rush, Frances McDormand and Cuba Gooding Jr.

However, with the exception of critics org the National Board of Review, virtually no group, professional or criti-cal, picked Oscar winner Juliette Binoche in the supporting actress category. SAG and the Golden Globes tapped Lauren Bacall, who was expected by many to take home a statuette Monday night.

Winners in the two screenplay categories, Billy Bob Thornton and the Coen brothers, Joel and Ethan, mirrored ex-actly the voting of the Writers Guild of America.

Academy voters also concurred with the Cinema Audio Society, American Cinema Editors and the American So-ciety of Cinematographers that “English Patient” featured the best sound, editing and photography of 1996.

Both the L.A. film critics and their New York counterparts agreed with the Academy on only one of the six “money” categories: Both groups picked “Shine’s” Geoffrey Rush as best actor.

The Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. picked both Rush for actor and “The English Patient” for picture. The Na-tional Society of Film Critics, on the other hand, was completely at odds with the Academy in the major categories.

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