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‘Labyrinth’ wins National Society of Film Critics award

Greengrass takes director prize for 'United 93'

The National Society of Film Critics looked abroad for its best picture choice, voting Guillermo del Toro’s political fantasy “Pan’s Labyrinth” the best movie of the year.

Win was the first laurel for the Spanish-language release from HBO/New Line venture Picturehouse. Movie, which opened last week to impressive per-screen numbers, is Mexico’s official selection for the foreign-language film Oscar.

In other voting Saturday, group bestowed director honors on Paul Greengrass for his 9/11 reenactment “United 93.”

Org deviated from the choice of the New York Film Critics Circle, which had bestowed director honors on Martin Scorsese for “The Departed” and tapped “United” as its best picture.

“The Queen” continued its awards reign: Miramax film won two major kudos, for actress Helen Mirren and for screenplay (Peter Morgan).

In the actor category, Forest Whitaker won for his portrayal of Idi Amin in Kevin Macdonald’s “Last King of Scotland,” continuing a near sweep of the category in the kudos to date.

Critical fave “The Death of Mr. Lazarescu,” the Romanian indictment of the medical system, and Clint Eastwood’s Japanese-language “Letters From Iwo Jima” were said to be runners-up in the pic category.

Mark Wahlberg and Meryl Streep took home supporting thesp honors for their perfs in “The Departed” and “A Prairie Home Companion” and “The Devil Wears Prada,” respectively.

“An Inconvenient Truth” nabbed the nonfiction kudos, while “Children of Men” won for Emmanuel Lubezki’s cinematography.

“Army of Shadows,” the 1969 film about the French resistance during WWII, drew a special honor from the group.

Comprised of some 55 critics from Gotham and around the country — including Roger Ebert, the New Yorker’s David Denby and Newsweek’s David Ansen — group’s best pic selection often is a harbinger for nominees in the best picture Oscar category.

Group last year chose “Capote” and in 2005 selected “Million Dollar Baby” for picture. Both films earned Oscar noms in the category.

Group met Saturday, as it traditionally does, at Broadway eatery Sardi’s.

The National Society of Film Critics winners list 2006:

Best Film: “El Laberinto del fauno” (“Pan’s Labyrinth”), directed by Guillermo del Toro

Runners-up: “Moartea Domnului Lazarescu” (“The Death of Mr. Lazarescu”)
“Letters from Iwo Jima”
“The Queen”
“L’Armée des ombres” (“Army of Shadows”)

Director: Paul Greengrass, “United 93”

Runners-up (tie): Martin Scorsese, “The Departed”
Guillermo del Toro, “El Laberinto del fauno” (“Pan’s Labyrinth”)

Best Nonfiction Film: “An Inconvenient Truth” directed by Davis Guggenheim

Runners-up: “Deliver Us from Evil”
“Shut Up & Sing”

Actor: Forest Whitaker, “The Last King of Scotland”

Runners-up: Peter O’Toole, “Venus”
Ryan Gosling, “Half Nelson”
Sacha Baron Cohen, “Borat”
Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Departed”
Daniel Craig, “Casino Royale”

Actress: Helen Mirren, “The Queen”

Runners-up: Laura Dern, “Inland Empire”
Judi Dench, “Notes on a Scandal”

Supporting Actor: Mark Wahlberg, “The Departed”

Runners-up: Jackie Earle Haley, “Little Children”
Alan Arkin, “Little Miss Sunshine”

Supporting Actress: Meryl Streep, “The Devil Wears Prada” and “A Prairie Home Companion”

Runners-up: Jennifer Hudson, “Dreamgirls”
Shareeka Epps, “Half Nelson”

Screenplay: Peter Morgan, “The Queen”

Runners-up: William Monahan, “The Departed”
Eric Roth, “The Good Shepherd”

Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki, “Children of Men”

Runners-up: “El Laberinto del fauno” (“Pan’s Labyrinth”)
Xiaoding Zhao, “Man cheng jin dai huang jin jia” (“Curse of the Golden Flower”)

Experimental Film: David Lynch, “Inland Empire”

Film Heritage Award: Jean-Pierre Melville, ” L’Armée des ombres” (“Army of Shadows”) (1969)

Film Hertiage Award: Museum of the Moving Image for presenting the first complete U.S. retrospective of French filmmaker Jacques Rivette

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