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‘Vera Drake’ wins five London critics awards

Other winners include Kate Winslet and ‘Sideways’
/ Source: The Associated Press

“Vera Drake,” Mike Leigh’s drama about illegal abortion in 1950s Britain, won five awards from the London Film Critics’ Circle.

It was named British movie of the year, while its Academy Award-nominated star, Imelda Staunton, took the actress of the year prize. Leigh, who’s up for a best-director Oscar, received the awards for British director and British screenplay. Phil Davis, who played Drake’s stalwart husband, was picked as best British supporting actor.

Awards Chairman William Russell praised Leigh’s film as “a work of great compassion about a social problem, unwanted pregnancies, as real today as it ever was.”

Daniel Craig was chosen as top British actor for “Enduring Love,” an adaptation of Ian McEwan’s novel of obsession.

The award for British actress of the year was shared by Kate Winslet for “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” and Eva Birthistle “Ae Fond Kiss ...”

Members of the London Film Critics’ Circle, who write for newspapers and magazines across Britain, handed out honors Wednesday for both British and international films.

In the international categories, “Sideways,” nominated for five Oscars, was named film of the year, and “The Motorcycle Diaries” top foreign-language film.

Staunton’s award came in the section open to worldwide competitors. Jamie Foxx won the best-actor prize for his portrayal of Ray Charles in “Ray.”

Martin Scorsese received the director honor for his Howard Hughes biopic “The Aviator,” while Charlie Kaufman got the screenwriter prize for “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.”