Completing a rare sweep of the country’s three most prestigious critics groups, “L.A. Confidential” dominated the voting of the National Society of Film Critics, snaring the awards for best picture, director — Curtis Hanson — and screenplay — Hanson and Brian Helgeland.
Results in these categories represented a repeat of the Warner Bros. period crime film’s performance with the New York and Los Angeles film critics groups. Exceptionally, pic scored each of its victories yesterday on the first ballot.
Robert Duvall was named best actor for his portrayal of a troubled evangelical preacher in “The Apostle,” while Julie Christie copped best actress honors for her work as a wife with a lot of time on her hands in “Afterglow.”
Christie won on the first ballot, as did Burt Reynolds, who himself completed a sweep of the critics groups with the supporting actor nod for his performance as a porn director in “Boogie Nights.” Julianne Moore snared the supporting actress award for her characterization as a vet actress in the same film.
“Kundun” won its d.p. Roger Deakins cinematography honors. Foreign-language film award was voted to Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne’s “La Promesse” from Belgium, while Errol Morris’ “Fast, Cheap and Out of Control” was named best nonfiction film, the new designation for the former documentary category.
No experimental award was voted this year, but a special award was given to Charles Burnett’s made-for-Disney Channel “Nightjohn,” “a film whose exceptional quality and origin challenge strictures of the movie marketplace.”
The National Society, which as usual held its voting meeting at the Algonquin Hotel in Manhattan, also announces its runners-up. Following “L.A. Confidential” in the races for best picture and director were “The Sweet Hereafter” and “Boogie Nights” and their helmers Atom Egoyan and Paul Thomas Anderson. Second and third places in the screenplay competition went to Egoyan, then Kevin Smith for “Chasing Amy.”
Following Duvall for best actor were Peter Fonda for “Ulee’s Gold” and a three-way tie among Dustin Hoffman (“Wag the Dog”), Ian Holm (“The Sweet Hereafter”) and Al Pacino (“Donnie Brasco”). Placing and showing for best actress behind Christie were Helena Bonham Carter for “The Wings of the Dove” and Judi Dench for “Mrs. Brown.”
Spacey behind Reynolds
Running behind Reynolds in the supporting actor category were Kevin Spacey for “L.A. Confidential” and Rupert Everett for “My Best Friend’s Wedding,” while Sarah Polley for “The Sweet Hereafter” and Nathalie Richard for “Irma Vep” took second and third after Moore for supporting actress. For the cinematography award, “Kundun” bested Dante Spinotti for “L.A. Confidential” and Christopher Doyle for “Happy Together.”
Runners-up to “La Promesse” as best foreign-language films were Emir Kusturica’s “Underground” and Mohsen Makhmalbaf’s “Gabbeh.” Finishing second and third behind “Fast, Cheap and Out of Control” for best nonfiction film were Spike Lee’s “4 Little Girls” and Kirby Dick’s “Sick: The Life and Death of Bob Flanagan, Supermasochist.”