Kudos all round

The Oscars have yet to come, and the Genie nominations for Canadian films have just been announced. But local movie fans don't have to wait for the really big one: the Vancouver Film Critics Circle has already held its sixth annual awards. The by-invitation event, which took place at the Heritage Hall Tuesday evening (February 7), was publicly staged for the first time.

In choosing from its nominations, the group-made up of film critics from all media-was surprisingly unanimous in the main categories, with those selections in line with the Golden Globes and other awards recently handed out. Brokeback Mountain was named best film, with its maker, Ang Lee, earning best director. Philip Seymour Hoffman and Felicity Huffman hoffed and huffed their ways into the best actor and actress awards for their respective movie-dominating performances in Capote and Transamerica. The supporting nods went to Terrence Howard, for his ensemble work in Crash (he also got plenty of votes for his lead pimp in Hustle & Flow), and Amy Adams, who knocked out all competition as the ditzy daughter-in-law in Junebug.

As in the Genies, the Canadian categories were dominated by Jean-Marc Vallée's C.R.A.Z.Y., which was named best film, and acting prizes went to lead actor Marc-André Grondin and supporters Michel Cí´té and Danielle Proulx. Best director, however, was Deepa Mehta, for Water, with her star Lisa Ray named best actress.

The best British Columbian film was It's All Gone Pete Tong, despite a strong showing from A Simple Curve, which was actually shot here. The Palestinian-Israeli Paradise Now easily won the best foreign-language-film prize.

Awards were also given out last Sunday (February 5) at the Victoria Independent Film & Video Festival. The Anglo-Irish Omagh was named best feature overall, while former Vancouverite Amnon Buchbinder's Nova Scotia-made Whole New Thing got the juried prize for best Canadian feature. The audience favourite was The Life and Hard Times of Guy Terrifico.