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‘Malkovich,’ ‘Topsy-Turvy’ Tie for Best Film Honors

TIMES STAFF WRITER

“Being John Malkovich,” an unconventional satire on fame, and “Topsy-Turvy,” Mike Leigh’s look at composers Gilbert and Sullivan, were both named best picture of 1999 Saturday by the National Society of Film Critics. It is the first time in the society’s history that there has been a tie for best film.

Last month, “Topsy-Turvy” was named best film by the New York Film Critics Circle.

Mike Leigh was also named best director for “Topsy-Turvy.” Runners-up for best director were David O. Russell for “Three Kings” and Sam Mendes for “American Beauty.”

Charlie Kaufman won for his screenplay for “Being John Malkovich.” Kaufman, who is up for a Golden Globe, received the same honor from the Los Angeles Film Critics Assn.

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The society, which consists of 53 of the country’s leading movie critics, held its 34th annual meeting Saturday at the Algonquin Hotel in New York.

Best actor honors went to Russell Crowe for his role as a tobacco industry whistler-blower in “The Insider.” Crowe, who is nominated for a Golden Globe, previously won the National Board of Review and the L.A. Film Critics Assn. honors for his performance. Jim Broadbent was runner-up for “Topsy-Turvy.”

Reese Witherspoon was named best actress for her role as a determined high school student in “Election.” She is also nominated for a Golden Globe for her performance. Hilary Swank came in second for “Boys Don’t Cry.”

Christopher Plummer’s performance as veteran newsman Mike Wallace in “The Insider” won best supporting actor. Plummer received the L.A. Film Critics honors last month. Philip Seymour Hoffman was second in this category for his work in “The Talented Mr. Ripley” and “Magnolia.”

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Chloe Sevigny was singled out for best supporting actress for “Boys Don’t Cry.” Nominated for a Golden Globe, Sevigny also received the L.A. Film Critics award for her performance. Julianne Moore was runner-up in this category for her roles in “Magnolia,” “Cookie’s Fortune,” “Map of the World” and “An Ideal Husband.”

Veteran Conrad Hall received best cinematography award for his work on “American Beauty.” Runner-up was Emanuel Lubetziki for “Sleepy Hollow.”

France’s Eric Rohmer picked up the best foreign language film honors for “Autumn Tale.”

The National Society of Film Critics also issued a long statement deploring what it called the rash decision of the Directors Guild of America’s National Board to retire and soon rename the Guild’s annual D.W. Griffith Award for distinct achievement in film.

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“The recasting of this honor . . . is a depressing example of ‘political correctness’ as an erasure, and rewriting, of American film history, causing a grave disservice to the reputation of a pioneering American filmmaker.”

Peter Rainer, New York magazine critic, was reelected chairman of the society. Scrolls will be sent to the winners.

Here is the list of winners:

Best picture: (tie) “Being John Malkovich” and “Topsy-Turvy”

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Best director: Mike Leigh, “Topsy-Turvy”

Best actor: Russell Crowe, “The Insider”

Best actress: Reese Witherspoon, “Election”

Best supporting actor: Christopher Plummer, “The Insider.”

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Best supporting actress: Chloe Sevigny, “Boys Don’t Cry”

Best screenplay: Charlie Kaufman, “Being John Malkovich”

Best cinematography: Conrad Hall, “American Beauty”

Best foreign language film: “Autumn Tale,” directed by Eric Rohmer

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Best nonfiction film: “Buena Vista Social Club,” directed by Wim Wenders

Experimental film award: Robert Beavers for his contributions to the field of avant-garde film as exemplified by his 1999 program in the New York Film Festival as well as his ongoing work as a visionary filmmaker and his activities in restoring and preserving films by Gregory J. Markopoulos.


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