Boston film critics crown ‘Three Kings’ best picture

Three Kings,” David O. Russell‘s Gulf War actioner, was named Best Picture by the Boston Film Critics Association today.

The film, which also won Russell a Best Director award, follows American soldiers who find a map in the desert leading to an arsenal of stolen gold bullion. As they hunt for the treasure, the trio encounter atrocities of war and face moral dilemmas.

Starring George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg and Ice Cube, “Three Kings” grossed about $58 million at the box office and was earlier named one of the National Board of Review’s top 10 of the year. It’s the second year in a row Clooney has starred in the association’s top picture; the 1998 Best Picture was Steven Soderbergh‘s “Out of Sight,” co-starring Jennifer Lopez.

Hilary Swank picked up her third critics’ award of 1999, named Best Actress for “Boys Don’t Cry.” She plays Brandon Teena, a Nebraska woman who masquerades as a man before her brutal murder. Swank was earlier named Best Actress by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and Best Breakthrough Performance by the National Board of Review. The 25-year-old actress, whose biggest roles to date were “The Next Karate Kid” and a part on “Beverly Hills, 90210,” is now a likely strong Oscar contender.

The film also won a second Best Supporting Actress award for Chloe Sevigny and a second Best New Filmmaker award for director Kimberly Peirce.

Jim Carrey, who picked up a Golden Globe last year for his dramatic showing in “The Truman Show,” was named Best Actor for his portrayal of late comedian Andy Kaufman, who died of cancer at age 35. The Best Supporting Actor award went to “The Insider‘s” Christopher Plummer, for his role as “60 Minutes” correspondent Mike Wallace. It is Plummer‘s second award for the film, which was voted Best Picture by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association.

Other awards went to Charlie Kaufman for his screenplay for “Being John Malkovich” and Emmanuel Lubezski for “Sleepy Hollow‘s” cinematography. Pedro Almodovar‘s “All About My Mother” continued its sweep of Best Foreign Film awards, and “Hands on a Hardbody,” about contestants competing for a free truck in Texas, was named Best Documentary.

Missing from the awards list is “American Beauty,” which was named Best Picture by the National Board of Review, and other critics’ award winners “The Talented Mr. Ripley,” “Magnolia” and “Tumbleweeds.”

The group also cited five film series: a John Ford retrospective (Harvard Film Archive); “Scandalous Cinema: The Films of Catherine Breillat” (Museum of Fine Arts); “The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of: Marcello Mastroianni” (MFA); “Shoot the Director: The Films of Francois Truffaut” (MFA); and the Boston Jewish Film Festival. In addition, the association cited five discoveries and rediscoveries: ”The Man Who Laughed,” ”Mighty Peking Man,” ”The Third Man,” ”Grand Illusion” and ”The Three Stooges & Co.”