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Toronto Film Critics Association Awards

Toronto Film Critics Association Names Nominees
by Mike Sage

'Manufactured Landscapes'

Hot on the heels of the Golden Globe nominations, the Toronto Film Critics Association announced its picks for Best Films of the year. Comparing each list, Toronto excluded quite a few of the mainstream movies dominating the Hollywood Foreign Press' selections.

There is no mention of Leonardo DiCaprio or Meryl Streep in the Best Male and Female Performance categories. Both actors were lauded recently by the Golden Globes. DiCaprio for his work in "The Departed" and "Blood Diamond." Streep for her evil turn in "The Devil Wears Prada."

Clint Eastwood was also snubbed for his overrated, but thus far audience-ignored, two-part 'Iwo Jima' saga. The first part, "Flags of our Fathers," tanked when it was released a few months ago which forced Warner Bros. to push the second film into an earlier release date than they had originally planned.

An interpreter (left) assists Clint Eastwood (middle) direct actor
Ken Watanabe (right) in a scene from 'Letters From Iwo Jima'

The all-Japanese "Letters From Iwo Jima" went into a late December limited release. The new release date ensured the film for awards consideration. The Golden Globes took the bait and Eastwood was nominated twice in the Director category.

Most of the standouts are among the best reviewed pictures of the year, and appear on both lists. "The Queen" leads with five nominations for Picture, Performance Female for Helen Mirren, Supporting Performance Male for Michael Sheen, Director and Screenplay.

Each of the general categories contains three or four nominees, perhaps explaining the glaring omissions. My pick for Best of 2006, Martin Scorsese's "The Departed," was also honored with four nominations, including Picture, Director, Supporting Male for Mark Wahlberg and Screenplay.

'United 93'

The final choice for Best Picture goes to Paul Greengrass' gripping 9/11 thriller, "United 93." The film was otherwise ignored by the older demographic of the Hollywood Foreign Press, probably because it was released way back in April.

The nominees for Best Canadian Feature include "The Journals of Knud Rasmussen," "Monkey Warfare," "Six Figures" and "Manufactured Landscapes," which was also selected in the Documentary category.

The Toronto Film Critics Association will announce the winners on Wednesday, December 20. The critics picks for Best Documentary, Animated Feature and Foreign Language film are likely precursors of the Academy Award nominations, to be revealed on Tuesday, January 23 at 5:30 a.m. PST.
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Toronto Film Critics Association Award Nominations
(winners will appear highlighted in red)

Helen Mirren in 'The Queen'

Best Picture
"The Departed"
"The Queen"
"United 93"

Best Canadian Film
"The Journals of Knud Rasmussen"
"Manufactured Landscapes"
"Monkey Warfare"
"Six Figures"

Best Foreign Language Film
"L'Enfant"/"The Child"
Country: Belgium/France
Director: Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne

"El Laberinto del fauno"/"Pan's Labyrinth"
Country: Mexico
Director: Guillermo del Toro

Country: Spain
Director: Pedro Almod
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'The Queen' Rules Toronto Film Critics Awards

by Bruce Kirkland, Sun Media


Best Supporting Actor Michael Sheen in a scene with Best Actress

Helen Mirren from the award-winning film, 'The Queen'

TORONTO, Canada -- Stephen Frears's "The Queen" scored a royal flush with the Toronto Film Critics Association recently. Beating out other nominees, "The Departed" and "United 93," Frears's drama was named the Best Picture of 2006. "The Queen" chronicles the tumult in the British royal family after the death of Princess Diana.

"The Queen" dominated the awards with four other prizes, one of them shared in a tie, for a total of five. In the performance categories, Helen Mirren won as Best Actress for playing embattled Queen Elizabeth II. Michael Sheen won as Best Supporting Actor for his convincing portrayal of newly elected British Prime Minister Tony Blair.


Best Directors Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne won top honors for

their film, 'L'Enfant' ('The Child')

In other award categories, Peter Morgan won the Best Screenplay award for his writing of "The Queen," which is based on meticulous research. Frears shared the Best Director prize in a rare tie with brothers, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, for their drama, "L'Enfant" ("The Child").

Other awards were spread around. Jennifer Baichwal's "Manufactured Landscapes" won twice, as Best Documentary Feature and Best Canadian Film. It was the only film besides "The Queen" to be named more than once.


Best Actor Sacha Baron Cohen in 'Borat'

In a huge surprise, Sacha Baron Cohen won as Best Actor for his crazed performance in "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan." The peerless Cate Blanchett won Best Supporting Actress for "Notes On A Scandal."

In other categories, George Miller's "Happy Feet" took the prize as Best Animated Feature and Jason Reitman's "Thank You For Smoking" was named the Best First Feature. The Dardenne Brothers' "L'Enfant" ("The Child") won for Best Foreign Language Film.


Director Jason Reitman on the set of 'Thank You For Smoking,'

which won Best First Feature honors

The tallies mean that major films such as Martin Scorsese's "The Departed," Pedro Almodovar's "Volver," Guillermo del Toro's Pan's Labyrinth and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's Babel were shut out, despite several nominations among them.

In a non-competitive category, documentary filmmaker Allan King was named to the Clyde Gilmour Award. It goes annually to a Canadian who has enriched the understanding and appreciation of film in Canada. King will be feted when the TFCA holds its annual dinner in the new year.


Clyde Gilmour Award Winner Documentary

Filmmaker Allan King

The Vancouver-born, Toronto-based King made his directorial debut 50 years ago with his ground-breaking 1956 documentary, "Skid Row" and still remains active. His latest effort, "EMPz 4 Life," played in the Toronto Film Fest this year in the Masters program.

The TFCA also paid tribute to the late Sid Adilman (1937-2006), who spent decades at the Toronto Telegram and the Toronto Star tirelessly focusing attention on Canadian culture and Canadian talent.

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