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Blighty crix mostly shun Brit pix

'Sunshine,' 'Daggers,' 'Aviator' named among best

See Nominees

LONDON — London film critics have decreed the five best films of 2004 are “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” “The Motorcycle Diaries,” “The Aviator,” “House of Flying Daggers” and “Sideways.” They are competing for the film of the year award from the London Film Critics’ Circle.

The pics’ helmers — Michel Gondry, Walter Salles, Martin Scorsese, Zhang Yimou and Alexander Payne, respectively — are nominated for director honors.

Salles and Zhang get a further chance for kudos in the foreign-language section, where their films vie against “Bad Education,” “The Return” and “A Very Long Engagement.”

Leonardo DiCaprio (“The Aviator”) and Paul Giamatti (“Sideways”) are up for the actor prize, with Geoffrey Rush (“The Life and Death of Peter Sellers”), Jamie Foxx (“Ray”) and Johnny Depp (“Finding Neverland”).

British films and talent were largely shut out from the LFCC’s main awards, with only Imelda Staunton nominated for “Vera Drake” in the actress section. She is up against Nicole Kidman (“Birth”), Charlize Theron (“Monster”), Natalie Portman (“Closer”) and Annette Bening (“Being Julia”).

The LFCC reserves separate awards for Brit pics, where “Vera Drake” managed to chalk up six nominations — film, supporting actress (Ruth Sheen), supporting actor (Eddie Marsan and Phil Davies) and director and screenwriter (both Mike Leigh).

The other nominees for British film are “Ae Fond Kiss,” “Shaun of the Dead,” “Finding Neverland” and “My Summer of Love.”

Eva Birthistle in “Ae Fond Kiss” and Natalie Press in “My Summer of Love” both won double nominations for British actress and British newcomer of the year. Freddie Highmore, the 12-year-old star of “Finding Neverland,” also is up for British newcomer.

British director Ken Loach will be honored for his outstanding contribution to cinema. He will receive a special award from the London Film Critics’ Circle for a 40-year career, which has included “Cathy Come Home,” “Kes” and “My Name Is Joe.”

TV presenter and journalist Mariella Frostrup will host the 25th annual awards, whose gala benefits the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.

The awards ceremony will be held Feb. 9 at London’s Dorchester Hotel.

Nominees for the 25th Awards of the London Film Critics’ Circle:

FILM OF THE YEAR

“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” (Michel Gondry)
“The Motorcycle Diaries” (Walter Salles)
“The Aviator” (Martin Scorsese)
“House of Flying Daggers” (Zhang Yimou)
“Sideways” (Alexander Payne)

BRITISH FILM OF THE YEAR – THE ATTENBOROUGH AWARD

“Ae Fond Kiss…” (Ken Loach)
“Shaun of the Dead” (Simon Pegg)
“Finding Neverland” (Marc Forster)
“My Summer of Love” (Pawel Pawlikowski)
“Vera Drake” (Mike Leigh)

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM OF THE YEAR

“Bad Education”
“The Motorcycle Diaries”
“House of Flying Daggers”
“The Return”
“A Very Long Engagement”

ACTRESS OF THE YEAR

Nicole Kidman (“Birth”)
Charlize Theron (“Monster”)
Natalie Portman (“Closer”)
Annette Bening (“Being Julia”)
Imelda Staunton (“Vera Drake”)

BRITISH ACTRESS OF THE YEAR

Eva Birthistle (“Ae Fond Kiss…”)
Kate Winslet (“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”)
Natalie Press (“My Summer of Love”)
Judi Dench (“Ladies in Lavender”)
Emily Mortimer (“Dear Frankie”)

BRITISH ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Ruth Sheen (“Vera Drake”)
Eileen Atkins (“Vanity Fair”)
Minnie Driver (“The Phantom of the Opera”)
Romola Garai (“Inside I’m Dancing”)
Emily Woof (“Wondrous Oblivion”)

ACTOR OF THE YEAR

Leonardo DiCaprio (“The Aviator”)
Geoffrey Rush (“The Life and Death of Peter Sellers”)
Paul Giamatti (“Sideways”)
Jamie Foxx (“Ray”)
Johnny Depp (“Finding Neverland”)

BRITISH ACTOR OF THE YEAR

Clive Owen (“Closer”)
Paddy Considine (“Dead Man’s Shoes”)
James McAvoy (“Inside I’m Dancing”)
Ben Kingsley (“House of Sand and Fog”)
Daniel Craig (“Enduring Love”)

BRITISH ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Eddie Marsan (“Vera Drake”)
Brian Cox (“Troy”)
Phil Davis (“Vera Drake”)
Alfred Molina (“Spiderman 2”)
Rupert Everett (“Stage Beauty”)

DIRECTOR OF THE YEAR

Michel Gondry (“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”)
Alexander Payne (“Sideways”)
Martin Scorsese (“The Aviator”)
Walter Salles (“The Motorcycle Diaries”)
Zhang Yimou (“House of Flying Daggers”)

BRITISH DIRECTOR OF THE YEAR

Pawel Pawlikowski (“My Summer of Love”)
Shane Meadows (“Dead Man’s Shoes”)
Paul Greengrass (“The Bourne Supremacy”)
Mike Leigh (“Vera Drake”)
Michael Radford (“The Merchant of Venice”)

BRITISH NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR

Freddie Highmore (“Finding Neverland”)
Eva Birthistle (“Ae Fond Kiss…”)
Amma Asante (“A Way of Life”)
Natalie Press (“My Summer of Love”)
Emily Blunt (“My Summer of Love”)

SCREENWRITER OF THE YEAR

David Magee (“Finding Neverland)
Charlie Kaufman (“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”)
Alexander Payne (and Jim Taylor) (“Sideways”)
Brad Bird (“The Incredibles”)
Jean-Pierre Bacri and Agnes Jaoui (“Look at Me”)

BRITISH SCREENWRITER OF THE YEAR

Paul Laverty (“Ae Fond Kiss…”)
Simon Pegg (and Edgar Wright) (“Shaun of the Dead”)
Mike Leigh (“Vera Drakev)
Pawel Pawlikowski (in collaboration with Michael Wynne) (“My Summer of Love”)
Joe Penhall (“Enduring Love”)

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