The English family drama “Secrets & Lies” won three top awards from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association on Saturday: best picture; best director, Mike Leigh; and best actress, Brenda Blethyn.
The tearful story of a middle-age white woman’s (Blethyn) discovery that she has a grown black daughter also won the best picture Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. The only other 1996 film to win multiple awards from LAFCA was Jane Campion’s adaptation of the Henry James novel “The Portrait of a Lady,” which took best supporting actress for Barbara Hershey and tied “Evita” for the production design award.
“Shine’s” Geoffrey Rush won the best actor award, and Edward Norton was voted best supporting actor for his work in three 1996 releases, “Primal Fear,” Woody Allen’s “Everyone Says I Love You” and the yet-to-open “The People vs. Larry Flynt.” Last week, Rush received the New York Film Critics Circle’s best actor award for his portrayal of the disturbed Australian pianist David Helfgott, and newcomer Norton received the supporting nod from the National Board of Review.
Other than that, LAFCA’s choices added yet more confusion to what is shaping up as a wide-open movie awards season. The National Board chose “Shine” as best picture, and the New York critics opted for “Fargo,” which only won one award, for screenplay, from their Los Angeles peers. However, Joel and Ethan Coen’s deadpan comedy was runner-up in numerous LAFCA categories, including picture, and director and actress (Joel Coen and Frances McDormand).
Other LAFCA winners Saturday were “Breaking the Waves” actress Emily Watson, new generation award; “When We Were Kings,” Leon Gast’s long held-up film about the Muhammad Ali-George Foreman “Rumble in the Jungle” prizefight, best documentary; Hal Willner and the Hey Hey Club Musicians for the jazz-drenched “Kansas City,” best musical score; and Claude Chabrol’s “La Ceremonie,” best foreign language film.
The following fields overflowed: CREDIT = Bob Strauss Los Angeles Daily News