NYFCO 2006: A Queen Sweep!

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(Whitaker’s commanding performance as Idi Amin honored. A sign of more kudos to come?).

Eagerly anticipated as an early indicator of Oscar buzz, The New York Film Critics Online (NYFCO) recently announced its annual awards for 2006 at O'Neals' Restaurant in Manhattan.

The Queen ended up the evening’s big winner, landing a quintet of accolades in the categories for Best Picture, Best Director (Stephen Frears), Best Actress (Helen Mirren), Best Supporting Actor (Michael Sheen), and Best Screenplay (Peter Morgan).

Best Actor even went to royalty, namely, Forest Whitaker for his command performance as Idi Amin in The Last King of Scotland. Newcomer Jennifer Hudson enjoyed a couple of kudos, both Breakthrough Performer and Best Supporting Actress, for her stellar work in Dreamgirls.

NYFCO, a group comprised of about two dozen of the city’s top movie reviewers, boasts a diverse membership, which ranges from Rex Reed of the upscale New York Observer to Kurt Loder of MTV. There’s also the politically-progressive Prairie Miller of WBAI, and Louis Proyect of Marx Mail, as well as the spiritually-oriented Frederic and Marry Ann Brussat. The group’s minority representation includes Armond White, Julian Roman, Ed Gonzalez and yours truly.

Complete List of Winners: Picture - The Queen; Actor - Forest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland); Actress - Helen Mirren (The Queen); Director - Stephen Frears (The Queen); Supporting Actor - Michael Sheen (The Queen); Supporting Actress - (tie) Jennifer Hudson (Dreamgirls) & Catherine O'Hara (For Your Consideration); Ensemble Cast - Little Miss Sunshine; Breakthrough Performer - Jennifer Hudson (Dreamgirls); Debut Director - Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris (Little Miss Sunshine); Screenplay - Peter Morgan (The Queen); Documentary Feature - An Inconvenient Truth; Foreign Language Picture - Pan's Labyrinth; Animated Feature - Happy Feet; Cinematography - Dick Pope (The Illusionist); Film Music/Score - Philip Glass (The Illusionist); Humanitarian Award - Deepa Mehta (Water) for taking risks to create films about the difficulties of social change in India especially as it affects women.

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