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Chicago critics choose "Crash"

Chicago’s film critics Monday named "Crash" as their No. 1 movie of 2005, beating out tough contenders "Brokeback Mountain," "Good Night, and Good Luck," "A History of Violence," and "King Kong" (2005).

"Crash," Paul Haggis’ ensemble drama examining the destructive effects of racism in America, took one other award, best screenplay by Haggis and Bobby Moresco. No single movie dominated the 2005 awards, however, four films tied with two wins each: "Capote," "A History of Violence," "Brokeback Mountain" and "Crash."

Philip Seymour Hoffman took the best actor prize from the Windy City critics for his virtuoso interpretation of novelist Truman Capote in "Capote." He bested a top crop of competitors including Terrence Howard for "Hustle & Flow," Heath Ledger in "Brokeback Mountain," Joaquin Phoenix as Johnny Cash in "Walk the Line" and David Strathairn as Edward R. Murrow in "Good Night, and Good Luck."

First-time feature director Bennett Miller also won Most Promising Director for "Capote."

Chicago-trained Joan Allen beat out Reese Witherspoon in "Walk the Line" and Felicity Huffman "Transamerica," to win Best Actress as a mother and wife coping with a deserting husband in the drama "The Upside of Anger." Also nominated were Keira Knightley in "Pride and Prejudice" (2005) and Naomi Watts in "King Kong" (2005).

David Cronenberg was named best director of 2005 for his psychological drama "A History of Violence," a provocative hybrid of an art film and a popcorn thriller. Maria Bello also won best supporting actress in the film.

Chicago’s film critics also tapped Mickey Rourke as Best Supporting Actor for his bravura performance as Marv the monstrous, quotable avenger in Robert Rodriguez’s cinematic comic book "Sin City." He became a surprise winner over a powerhouse of supporting performances by Matt Dillon and Terrence Howard in "Crash," Paul Giamatti in "Cinderella Man" and Jake Gyllenhaal in "Brokeback Mountain."

Ang Lee’s breakthrough drama "Brokeback Mountain" won both best score and best cinematography from Chicago’s critics.

Michael Haneke’s thriller "Caché" ("Hidden") won Best Foreign Language Film in one of the most hotly contested categories against Wong Kar Wai’s haunting "2046," the documentary-like World War II drama "Downfall," Stephen Chow’s zany "Kung Fu Hustle" and Chan-Wook Park’s action/mystery "Oldboy."

Werner Herzog’s "Grizzly Man" won Best Documentary, clawing its way over formidable competition from the vastly popular "March of the Penguins," "Murderball," "Mad Hot Ballroom" and "Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room."

Independent filmmaker Miranda July won Most Promising Performer for her role in the quirky drama "Me and You and Everyone We Know," which she both wrote and directed.

CFCA president Dann Gire, film critic of the Daily Herald, said, "This year we had the strongest roster of nominees in the history of the awards. Ironically, in the year of the big slump at the box office, 2005 rebounded with some of the most artistically challenging and freshest films in recent memory. This is one time Chicago’s critics got to select the very best of the best." Gire announced the winners live Monday on WGN Channel 9’s Morning News.

The Chicago Film Critics Association started out in 1988 with six charter members. Today, it has 61 members, including critics from newspapers, magazines, TV stations, radio stations, and the Internet. Popular critics Roger Ebert, Richard Roeper and Michael Wilmington are among the roster of CFCA members. More information can be obtained on the CFCA website, www.chicagofilmcritics.org.

BEST PICTURE: "Crash"

BEST FOREIGN-LANGUAGE FILM: "Caché" (Hidden)

BEST DIRECTOR: David Cronenberg -- "A History of Violence"

BEST SCREENPLAY: Paul Haggis & Bobby Moresco -- "Crash"

BEST ACTOR: Philip Seymour Hoffman -- "Capote"

BEST ACTRESS: Joan Allen -- ""The Upside of Anger"

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Mickey Rourke -- "Sin City"

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Maria Bello -- "A History of Violence"

BEST DOCUMENTARY: "Grizzly Man"

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: Rodrigo Prieto -- "Brokeback Mountain"

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE: Gustavo Santaolalla -- "Brokeback Mountain"

MOST PROMISING PERFORMER: Miranda July -- "Me and You and Everyone We Know"

MOST PROMISING DIRECTOR: Bennett Miller -- "Capote"

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