Eastwood, Greengrass lead way
Reality bites. Paul Greengrass’s 9/11 drama, United 93, and Clint Eastwood’s Letters from Iwo Jima, which observes the 1945 Pacific battle from the Japanese point of view, led the field in end-of-year awards from US film critic groups. The New York critics went to four ballots before United 93 pipped The Queen for their best film award, while the Los Angeles critics opted for the Eastwood film and named Greengrass best director. The New York critics voted Martin Scorsese as best director for The Departed and gave their non- fiction prize to Deliver Us from Evil, a documentary about a convicted Irish paedophile priest.
The LA and NY critics agreed when both groups chose Helen Mirren best actress for The Queen and Forest Whitaker best actor for The Last King of Scotland, although the LA critics shared that award between Whitaker and Borat star Sacha Baron Cohen. The National Board of Review also went with Mirren and Whitaker, naming Scorsese best director and Letters from Iwo Jima best picture. In New York, Jackie Earle Haley was named best supporting actor for Little Children and newcomer Jennifer Hudson, a former American Idol winner, as best supporting actress for Dreamgirls.
The LA critics chose Michael Sheen (The Queen) and Luminita Gheorghui (The Death of Mr Lazarescu) for supporting roles.
Band of brothers: Clint Eastwood and Ken Watanabe, director and star respectively, at the New York premiere of Letters from Iwo Jima