TORONTO (CP) _ Stephen Frears’ royal-family-in-crisis drama "The Queen" has been named the year’s best picture by the Toronto Film Critics Association, beating out films like "The Departed" and "United 93."
"The Queen," the universally acclaimed film that chronicles the tumultuous events in the British royal household in the aftermath of the 1997 death of Diana, Princess of Wales, dominated the awards.
Helen Mirren won best actress for her role as Queen Elizabeth while Michael Sheen was named best supporting actor for his turn as newly elected Prime Minister Tony Blair. Peter Morgan also won the best screenplay award for writing "The Queen," and Frears shared the best director prize in a tie with brothers Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne for their drama "L’Enfant."
The film that won the best Canadian film award, Jennifer Baichwal’s "Manufactured Landscapes," was also named best documentary, beating out the acclaimed Al Gore global-warming doc "An Inconvenient Truth" among other films.
In other categories, Sacha Baron Cohen won as best actor for playing Kazakh journalist Borat Sagdiyev in "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan," and Cate Blanchett won best supporting actress for "Notes on a Scandal."
George Miller’s "Happy Feet" took the prize as best animated feature, beating out "Over the Hedge" and "A Scanner Darkly."
Canadian director Jason Reitman’s "Thank You for Smoking" was named best first feature, beating out "Brick" and "Little Miss Sunshine."
The Dardenne brothers’ "L’Enfant" won for best foreign-language film, besting "Pan’s Labyrinth" and "Volver."
In other news, documentary filmmaker Allan King was named the winner of the Clyde Gilmour Award. It goes annually to a Canadian who has enriched the understanding and appreciation of film in this country.
The Vancouver-born, Toronto-based King, who made his directorial debut 50 years ago with his ground-breaking documentary "Skid Row" (1956), is still hard at work. His latest effort, "EMPz 4 Life," played at the 2006 Toronto International Film Festival, appropriately in its so-called masters program.
King has directed landmark documentaries such as "A Married Couple," "Who’s in Charge," "Dying at Grace" and "Memory for Max, Claire, Ida And Company." He’s also delved into fiction with his features "Who Has Seen the Wind" and "Termini Station."
The awards will be handed out at a private ceremony in January.
Here’s a complete list of winners:
BEST PICTURE: "The Queen"
BEST PERFORMANCE, MALE: Sacha Baron Cohen, "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan"
BEST PERFORMANCE, FEMALE: Helen Mirren, "The Queen"
BEST SUPPORTING PERFORMANCE, MALE: Michael Sheen, "The Queen"
BEST SUPPORTING PERFORMANCE, FEMALE: Cate Blanchett, "Notes on a Scandal"
BEST DIRECTOR (TIE): Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne, "L’Enfant"; and Stephen Frears, "The Queen"
BEST SCREENPLAY: Peter Morgan, "The Queen"
BEST CANADIAN FILM: "Manufactured Landscapes," directed by Jennifer Baichwal
BEST FIRST FEATURE: "Thank You for Smoking", directed by Jason Reitman
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE: "Happy Feet," directed by George Miller
BEST FOREIGN-LANGUAGE FILM: "L’Enfant," directed by Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: "Manufactured Landscapes," directed by Jennifer Baichwal