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Chicago Film Critics Speak Babel

By Scott Smith in Arts & Entertainment on Dec 21, 2006 4:00PM

This week, the Chicago Film Critics announced its nominations for the best films and cinematic performances of the past year. Babel 2006_12_babel.jpgpicked up nine nominations, while The Departed and The Queen followed with six.

As usual, the CFCA made some unconventional choices: Maggie Gyllenhaal picked up a nod for her work in the largely ignored Sherrybaby, and an adapted screenplay nomination went to A Prairie Home Companion. The CFCA also fueled the comebacks of Ben Affleck (Hollywoodland) and Eddie Murphy (Dreamgirls).

The CFCA’s winners will be announced on WGN Morning News on December 28.

In this year’s Oscar race, a few early favorites in the acting categories are emerging: Helen Mirren in The Queen, Forrest Whittaker in The Last King of Scotland, and former South Sider Jennifer Hudson in Dreamgirls. The two films likely to battle it out for Best Picture and the lion’s share of awards are Clint Eastwood’s Letters from Iwo Jima and Martin Scorcese’s The Departed.

While most of the awards season controversy last year stemmed from Crash, this year’s dust-up is centered on internal wrangling over whether the Director’s Guild of America received its customary screeners. Also, the Chicago Reader blog recently explored whether films that aren’t given a robust release belong on year-end “best-of” lists.

Tomorrow, Chicagoist television and film writer Rob Christopher posts his “Top Ten Movies We Didn't See This Year,” with a top ten favorites list of movies he actually saw to follow next week.