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Chicago Film Critics Do It Sideways

By Scott Smith in Arts & Entertainment on Dec 20, 2004 8:57PM

Several years ago, Chicagoist was reading an interview with a Big Famous Movie Critic who was asked why critics sometimes fall all over themselves to single out a particular film for near unanimous praise. BFMC replied that as critics, they are required to see almost every movie that’s released and most of them are crap. So when a film (or a filmmaker) comes along with an original, intelligent work that is also entertaining, he and the rest of the other BFMCs want to shout its name from the highest mountain, especially when said work may be slighted by audiences.

Let's toast to me never having to do the Wings Reunion SpecialThe Chicago Film Critics Awards generally prove this anecdote to be true. This year the film Sideways picked up five awards for Best Supporting Actor and Supporting Actress (Thomas Haden Church and Virginia Madsen), Best Actor (Paul “Pig Vomit” Giamatti), Best Screenplay and Best Picture. While the CFCA followed Oscar’s lead last year and lavished praise on the final Lord of the Rings movie, in 2002 it gave six awards to Far From Heaven, a film that received four Oscar nominations but no actual Oscars.

The claws were out during this morning’s live awards announcements on WGN as CFCA members Bonnie DeShong of WVAZ and Michael Wilmington of the Chicago Tribune expressed disappointment at Giamatti’s win and cited Jamie Foxx’s portrayal of Ray Charles in Rayas more deserving of the win. The surprise win for Giamatti might be a result of the CFCA’s one-tier voting procedure this year (previous years had members voting on winners from a list of nominees) though many other critics had his performance at the top of their best-of lists. Madsen’s award was probably the least surprising considering her heritage and means her Oscar nomination is probably a lock (we apologize in advance if we just jinxed her by saying that).

Full award listing after the jump...

BEST FOREIGN-LANGUAGE FILM: A Very Long Engagement (France)
BEST DIRECTOR: Clint Eastwood for Million Dollar Baby
BEST ACTOR: Paul Giamatti for Sideways
BEST ACTRESS: Imelda Staunton for Vera Drake
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Thomas Hayden Church for Sideways
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Virginia Madsen for Sideways
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY (TIE): Christopher Doyle for Hero and Robert Richardson for The Aviator
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE: Howard Shore for The Aviator
BEST DOCUMENTARY: Fahrenheit 9/11
MOST PROMISING NEWCOMER: Catalina Sandino Moreno for Maria Full of Grace
MOST PROMISING FILMMAKER: Zach Braff for Garden State