Independent movie American Splendor has been named the year's Best Picture by America's influential NATIONAL SOCIETY OF FILM CRITICS.

The film, an innovative biopic of file clerk-turned-comic book creator Harvey Pekar which won top prizes at the CANNES and SUNDANCE Film Festivals last year (03), beat hot favourites Mystic River and Lost In Translation into second and third place.

Lost in Translation's Bill Murray beat Splendor's Paul Giamatti and Mystic River's Sean Penn to the Best Actor crown, after winning the same title from the NEW YORK FILM CRITICS CIRCLE, BOSTON SOCIETY OF FILM CRITICS, SAN FRANCISCO FILM CRITICS CIRCLE and Toronto Film Critics Association.

South African actress Charlize Theron was named Best Actress for her portrayal of serial killer AILEEN WUORNOS in Monster, an extreme physical transformation which has also brought her kudos from the NATIONAL BOARD OF REVIEW and the San Francisco critics.

Clint Eastwood took Best Director honours for Mystic River, narrowly beating The Lord Of The Rings: THE RETURN OF THE KING's Peter Jackson.

05/01/2004 21:41