"Far From Heaven," Todd Haynes' lush '50s-style melodrama, was voted best picture of the year Monday by the New York Film Critics Circle, which also handed the film four other awards.
Haynes was honored as best director, Dennis Quaid and Patricia Clarkson won best supporting actor and actress, and Edward Lachman was chosen best cinematographer.
"Heaven," which has taken several awards in the past two weeks, joins "About Schmidt" and "Adaptation" as early award season favorites. Among actors, Julianne Moore, Daniel Day-Lewis, Jack Nicholson and Chris Cooper have emerged as early front-runners. Charlie Kaufman (and his imaginary brother Donald) dominate screenwriting awards so far. The race will heat up considerably Thursday when Golden Globe nominations are announced in Beverly Hills.
The New York critics voted Day-Lewis best actor for his role as a brutal gang leader in Martin Scorsese's "Gangs of New York." Day-Lewis shared best actor honors Saturday with Jack Nicholson ("About Schmidt") when the L.A. Film Critics Assn. announced their 2002 favorites.
Day-Lewis has been popular with the 37-member New York group that consists of critics from daily and weekly newspapers and magazines. He previously won best supporting actor from the New York critics for 1986's "My Beautiful Laundrette" and best actor for 1989's "My Left Foot."
In a somewhat surprising move, Diane Lane was chosen as best actress for her role as a wife and mother who embarks on an illicit affair with a Frenchman in Adrian Lyne's erotic drama "Unfaithful." Both the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures and the L.A. Film Critics picked Moore for "Far From Heaven" and "The Hours" in this category.
Charlie Kaufman and Donald Kaufman (who is actually a figment of Charlie's imagination but who nevertheless officially shares credit) won for best screenplay for the dark comedy "Adaptation." Kaufman previously was named the Board of Review's screenwriter of the year for a trio of films that included "Adaptation." Alfonso Cuaron's sexy Mexican coming-of-age comedy "Y tu Mama Tambien," took best foreign film honors.
On Saturday, the L.A. critics' group picked "About Schmidt" as best film of 2002; "Far From Heaven" was its runner-up. The Board of Review chose "The Hours" as its best.
Last year, David Lynch's "Mulholland Dr." was chosen by the New York critics' group as best of the year; Steven Soderbergh's "Traffic" was the best film winner in 2000.
Other honorees of the New York group included:
Best first film: "Roger Dodger."
Best animated film: Hayao Miyazaki's "Spirited Away."
Best nonfiction film: "Standing in the Shadows of Motown."
Special award: restoration of "Metropolis" by Kino International.
The Boston Society of Film Critics on Sunday selected as its best film Roman Polanski's Holocaust drama "The Pianist," also honoring the director and Adrien Brody as best actor.
The Boston group's best-actress choice was Maggie Gyllenhaal for "Secretary." Supporting actor was Alan Arkin for "Thirteen Conversations About One Thing," and Toni Collette was the supporting actress choice for "About a Boy." The Kaufmans won Boston's screenplay award for "Adaptation."