The wine-swilling road comedy Sideways has advanced its reputation as this year's art-house critical darling, amassing a full four awards from the Florida Film Critics Circle. The FFCC, a voting body that now counts 17 Sunshine State reviewers as members, named Sideways the best picture of 2004, as well as recognizing the darkly humorous film in the categories of Best Director (Alexander Payne), Best Screenplay (Payne and Jim Taylor) and Best Supporting Actor (Thomas Haden Church).
Other winners in the FFCC's ninth annual awards include Jamie Foxx, named Best Actor for his performance as the late music great Ray Charles in Ray; and Hilary Swank, who earned the title Best Actress by playing an up-and-coming boxer in Clint Eastwood's ring drama Million Dollar Baby. (The film is scheduled to open here Jan. 28.)
In a first for the organization, the members of the FFCC (including this writer) elected to honor one of their own with the Golden Orange Award for Outstanding Contribution to Film. The recipient: Jay Boyar, the veteran Orlando Sentinel film critic who recently announced his transition to Travel Editor. Boyar was credited for his 22 years of work as the Sentinel's senior film critic, and for leading the FFCC, which he co-founded and chaired for the last nine years. In 2005, he will cede his chairmanship post to Phoebe Flowers of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
Here is the full list of 2004 winners.
Best picture: Sideways
Best actor: Jamie Foxx (Ray)
Best actress: Hilary Swank (Million Dollar Baby)
Best supporting actor: Thomas Haden Church (Sideways)
Best supporting actress: Laura Linney (Kinsey)
Best director: Alexander Payne (Sideways)
Best screenplay: Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor (Sideways)
Best cinematography: Christopher Doyle (Hero)
Best foreign-language film: A Very Long Engagement (France)
Pauline Kael Breakout Award: Zach Braff (actor/writer/director, Garden State)
Best animated feature: The Incredibles
Best documentary: Fahrenheit 9/11
Golden Orange for Outstanding Contribution to Film: Jay Boyar, "for co-founding and leading the Florida Film Critics Circle and for 22 years as a movie critic for the Orlando Sentinel."