‘Crash,’ Singleton win critics awards

The African American Film Critics Assn. has named “Crash” -- a gritty drama about race relations in Los Angeles -- its top film pick of the year.

Terrence Howard was selected as best actor for his performance in “Hustle & Flow.” In what was termed a “surprise movie,” Felicity Huffman earned recognition as best actress for her gender-bending performance in “TransAmerica”: “Although our organization pays special attention to work by artists of African descent,” said AAFCA President Gil Robertson IV, “in the end, merit carries the day and Ms. Huffman is undeniably amazing in this role.”

The group bestowed top honors on filmmaker John Singleton for a “banner year” in which he produced “Hustle & Flow” and directed “Four Brothers.” In addition to “Crash” and “Hustle & Flow,” the organization’s top 10 list included “The Constant Gardener,” “Good Night, and Good Luck” “Brokeback Mountain,” “Syriana,” “Walk the Line,” “Capote,” “Batman Begins” and “North Country.”

“The films selected for 2005 boldly reflect a bridge toward tolerance,” Robertson said. “The film industry made great strides this year to explore the more subtle shades of humanity. What ‘Crash,’ ‘Brokeback Mountain’ and ‘North Country’ all share is the expression of the universal similarities we all have. We hope that next year these expressions will feature more performers of color, particularly African Americans.”

-- Rene Lynch