Brokeback Mountain, the film about a gay love affair that transforms the lives of two cowboys, was named 2005's best film by a major critics group on Saturday in the first of several award lists expected to narrow the field of Oscar contenders.
The Los Angeles Film Critics Association gave its best director award to Ang Lee for Brokeback Mountain and placed one of the film's stars, Heath Ledger, in the runner-up position for best actor.
The critics group named Philip Seymour Hoffman as 2005's best actor for his role as writer Truman Capote in Capote. A surprise decision, Vera Farmiga was named best actress for playing a drug-addicted woman in the low-budget drama Down to the Bone.
Director David Cronenberg's dramatic thriller A History of Violence, about a man pursued by mobsters who believe he belongs to their gang, was runner-up for best film, and Cronenberg was runner-up for top director.
Judi Dench landed the best actress runner-up award for her part in Mrs. Henderson Presents, about an upper-class British woman who buys a London theater and fills it with nude actresses to entertain troops during World War Two.
The Los Angeles critics list is the first major group of pre-Oscar award winners, and will be followed next week by New York Film Critics Circle's Critics Choice Awards and the Golden Globe Awards.
The Los Angeles Film Critics awards will be presented in Los Angeles on January 17.
(Shenzhen Daily December 12, 2005)