"Leaving Las Vegas," the downbeat drama about a hopeless alcoholic and the prostitute who loves him, was voted best picture of 1995 on Saturday by the Los Angeles Film Critics Assn.
The movie by Mike Figgis captured four of the critics' awards. Nicolas Cage won for best actor, and best actress went to Elisabeth Shue. Figgis received honors for best direction.
Figgis also was runner-up in the screenplay category. Emma Thompson received that honor for her adaptation of Jane Austen's "Sense and Sensibility."
The voting for best picture was very close. The runner-up was the magical "A Little Princess," a film 180 degrees removed from "Leaving Las Vegas."
Last week, "Leaving Las Vegas" received the New York Film Critics' Circle award for best picture and best actor. With its Los Angeles honors, the movie is now a definite contender for the 68th annual Academy Awards, to be presented March 25.
Though "Pulp Fiction," the Los Angeles critics' choice for best of 1994, lost out that year to "Forrest Gump" for the best film Oscar, "Unforgiven" and "Schindler's List," their selections in 1992 and 1993, respectively, won the Academy Awards for best film.
Other major winners Saturday included Joan Allen, who was named best supporting actress for her role as First Lady Pat Nixon in Oliver Stone's "Nixon," and Don Cheadle, who received the best supporting actor award for playing the volatile Mouse in "Devil in a Blue Dress."
Disney's computer-animated box office hit, "Toy Story," directed by John Lasseter, was deemed best in animation. French director Andre Techine's "Wild Reeds" won best foreign film and best documentary honors went to Terry Zwigoff's "Crumb."
The career achievement award was won by writer/director/producer Andre De Toth ("Pitfall," "Slattery's Hurricane" and "Springfield Rifle").
The Douglas Edwards Independent/Experimental Film/Video award went to writer/director Mark Rappaport for "From the Journals of Jean Seberg."
Alfonso Cuaron, who directed "A Little Princess," was the recipient of the new generation award.
The Los Angeles critics' awards will be presented the week of Jan. 15 at the Bel Age Hotel.
The winners Saturday:
Picture: "Leaving Las Vegas"; runner-up: "A Little Princess"
Direction: Mike Figgis, "Leaving Las Vegas"; runner-up: Ang Lee, "Sense and Sensibility."
Actress: Elisabeth Shue, "Leaving Las Vegas"; runner-up: Jennifer Jason Leigh, "Georgia."
Actor: Nicolas Cage, "Leaving Las Vegas"; runner-up: Anthony Hopkins, "Nixon."
Supporting actress: Joan Allen, "Nixon"; runner-up: Mira Sorvino, "Mighty Aphrodite."
Supporting actor: Don Cheadle, "Devil in a Blue Dress"; runner-up: Kevin Spacey for his body of work in "Outbreak," "Swimming With Sharks," "Seven" and "The Usual Suspects."
Screenplay: Emma Thompson, "Sense and Sensibility"; runner-up, Mike Figgis, "Leaving Las Vegas."
Cinematography: Lu Yue, "Shanghai Triad"; runner-up, Darius Khondji, "Seven."
Music: Patrick Doyle, "A Little Princess"; runner-up: Howard Shore, "Seven."
Production design: Bo Welch, "A Little Princess"; runner-up: Gary Frutkoff, "Devil in a Blue Dress."
Documentary: "Crumb," directed by Terry Zwigoff and produced by Lynn O'Donnell; runner-up: "Theremin: An Electronic Odyssey," directed by Steven M. Martin.
Foreign film: Andre Techine's "Wild Reeds"; runner-up: Michael Radford's "Il Postino."
Animation: "Toy Story"