S.F. film critics give top honors to ‘Children’

The San Francisco Film Critics Circle has named Todd Field’s “Little Children” as its Best Picture of 2006.

Paul Greengrass, who made the uncompromising “United 93” about the horrors of 9/11, won honors for Best Director.

The awards were announced Monday by the group, which includes 23 film critics from around the Bay Area.

“Borat” star Sacha Baron Cohen won Best Actor for his newsmaking portrayal of a Kazakhstani reporter crossing the U.S. in search of mainstream America.

Best Actress honors went to Helen Mirren, who played the stoic Queen Elizabeth II in “The Queen,” a contemporary view of the life of the royals in a time of crisis.

Jackie Earle Haley won Best Supporting Actor for his role in “Little Children” as pedophile Ronald James McGorvey. “Babel” star Adriana Barraza was named Best Supporting Actress for her poignant portrayal of a Mexican nanny caught in difficult situation.

Best Original Screenplay honors went to Rian Johnson’s “Brick,” while Best Adapted Screenplay was awarded to Field and Tom Perrotta’s “Little Children,” an unsettling drama about life in the suburbs.

Best Documentary honors went to Davis Guggenheim’s “An Inconvenient Truth” in which Al Gore continues his quest to warn people about the state of global warming and the reality of Earth’s questionable future. Best Foreign Language Film honors went to Guillermo del Toro’s “Pan’s Labyrinth.”

A Special Citation honoring the late member Arthur Lazere went to the Romanian tragicomedy “The Death of Mr. Lazarescu,” an emotional tale focusing on health care system indifference.

The group’s Marlon Riggs Award, honoring a Bay Area filmmaker or individual who represents courage and innovationa, was awarded to Stephen Salmons, co-founder and artistic director of the S.F. Silent Film Festival, for recognizing a neglected audience for silent movies and creating what is now, in its 11th year, the nation’s largest annual silent-cinema showcase.

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