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National critics picks 'Splendor' as best film

Group selects Murray as best actor, Theron as best actress
/ Source: The Associated Press

“American Splendor,” the life story of a grumpy file clerk who attains cult celebrity status by becoming a comic book writer, took best picture honors at the National Society of Film Critics awards Saturday.

Clint Eastwood’s working class crime drama “Mystic River” was second in the voting for best picture and Sofia Coppola’s “Lost in Translation,” a quirky tale of two Americans finding friendship while in Japan, took third.

The group of 55 film critics met in Sardi’s restaurant in Manhattan to announce this year’s winners.

Eastwood got the nod for best director for “Mystic River;” Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini won best screenplay for “American Splendor;” and Bill Murray won best actor for “Lost in Translation.”

Charlize Theron’s performance in “Monster” earned best actress honors, while Peter Sarsgaard was named best supporting actor for his role in “Shattered Glass.”

Patricia Clarkson took the best supporting actress prize for two films: “The Station Agent” and “Pieces of April.” Aki Kaurismaki won the award for best foreign language film as director of “The Man Without a Past.” The society’s pick for best nonfiction film was Nicolas Philibert’s “To Be and to Have.”

The group also gave its “film heritage” awards to Kino on Video for its DVD collections of F.W. Murnau, Erich von Stronheim and the American Film Theater Series; and Milestone Film and Video for its theatrical and DVD presentations of Michael Powell’s “The Edge of the World,” E.A. Dupont’s “Picadilly,” Andre’ Antoine’s “La Terre,” and Evgenei Bauer’s “Mad Love” series.