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San Francisco Film Critics Circle Awards

by Ruthe Stein, Chronicle Senior Movie Writer

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Kate Winslet and Patrick Wilson in 'Little Children'

San Francisco, California -- "Little Children" came out the big winner when the San Francisco Film Critics Circle announced its annual awards on Tuesday, December 12. Director Todd Field's sensitive portrayal of lust and unhappiness in suburbia was voted Best Picture of 2006. Field and co-screenwriter Tom Perrotta also won for Best Adapted Screenplay.

The Best Supporting Actor prize went to former child star Jackie Earle Haley for his comeback performance in "Little Children" as a sexual deviant shunned by a suburban community. Paul Greengrass was chosen as Best Director for "United 93."

Best Actress honors went to Helen Mirren for her portrayal of a conflicted Queen Elizabeth II in "The Queen." In the last week, Mirren has been named Best Actress by the National Board of Review, New York Film Critics Circle and Los Angeles Film Critics Association.

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Sacha Baron Cohen in 'Borat'

The San Francisco Film Critics Circle, comprised of 23 print, television and online movie reviewers, named "Borat" star Sacha Baron Cohen as Best Actor and "Babel" star Adriana Barraza as Best Supporting Actress for her heartbreaking portrayal of a Mexican nanny torn between her family and professional obligations.

"Pan's Labyrinth," Mexican director Guillermo del Toro's combination fable and horror story set against the backdrop of Spain's fascist regime, took the Best Foreign Language Film Award, and Best Documentary went to Davis Guggenheim's "An Inconvenient Truth," in which Al Gore delivers a mesmerizing and terrifying lecture on global warming.

"The Death of Mr. Lazarescu," a black comedy from Romania about the failures of that country's healthcare system, won a special award for overlooked gems. The citation is in honor of Arthur Lazere, a member of the critics group and founder of culturevulture.net who passed away earlier this year.

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Joseph Gordon-Levitt in 'Brick'

The Best Original Screenplay prize went to Rian Johnson for "Brick," a film noir set in a high school. The Marlon Riggs Award, singling out a member of the Bay Area film community for his or her innovation in the world of cinema, went to Stephen Salmons, co-founder and artistic director of the San Francisco Silent Film Festival.

Salmons' passion for finding an audience for silent cinema resulted in his creating what is now the largest annual silent film festival in the country. Now in its 11th year, the festival recently expanded to show silents year round in addition to its big summer showcase.

The San Francisco Film Critics Circle includes reviewers from the San Francisco Chronicle, the Sacramento Bee, the San Jose Mercury News, the Contra Costa Times, the Palo Alto Weekly and KRON-TV.

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San Francisco Film Critics Circle Awards


Best Picture
"Little Children"

Best Director
Paul Greengrass
"United 93"


Best Original Screenplay
Rian Johnson
"Brick"


Best Adapted Screenplay
Todd Field and Tom Perrotta
"Little Children"


Best Actor
Sacha Baron Cohen
"Borat"


Best Actress
Helen Mirren
"The Queen"


Best Supporting Actor
Jackie Earle Haley
"Little Children"


Best Supporting Actress
Adriana Barraza
"Babel"


Best Foreign Language Film
"Pan's Labyrinth"

Best Documentary
"An Inconvenient Truth"

Marlon Riggs Award
(for Courage and Vision in the Bay Area Film Community)
Stephen Salmons
Co-Founder and Artistic Director
San Francisco Silent Film Festival


Special Citation in Honor of Arthur Lazere
"The Death of Mr. Lazarescu"
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