And if that alone does not cause a bit of head scratching, take a look at the heavyweights whom the young upstart has beaten out for the nod: Tom Hanks in "Cast Away," Javier Bardem in "Before Night Falls" and Mark Ruffalo in "You Can Count on Me."
Perhaps just as surprising is actress Ellen Burstyn snagging a best actress win for "Requiem for a Dream." Before this award, some thought of Burstyn as more of a supporting actress contender. Burstyn beat out Julia Roberts ("Erin Brockovich") and Laura Linney ("You Can Count on Me"). The Boston critics handed the best picture award to "Almost Famous," as well as the best director mention to the film's helmer Cameron Crowe, who also shared the best screenplay award with "Wonder Boys" scribe Steven Kloves.
Best supporting actress went to Frances McDormand for her performances in both "Almost Famous" and "Wonder Boys," and best supporting actor belonged to "Best in Show's" Fred Willard as the faux-pas-spilling announcer.
Along with the Boston Society of Film Critics, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, the New York Film Critics Circle and the National Board of Review have all unveiled their top picks for the year.
HEAR ME ROAR: Looks like Cameron Diaz has found her voice. The "Charlie's Angels" actress managed to scare off a pair of thieves rummaging through her Rome hotel room Friday night -- by screaming really loud, The Associated Press says. On their way out, two men dropped two leather jackets and a laptop computer.
BLACK FRIDAY: Stan Lee Media laid off nearly all of its Los Angeles staff on Friday because it was unable to secure new financing, Reuters reports. The company recently has experienced a drastic drop in its stock price.
ANOTHER "GRADUATE" ALUM: English actress Amanda Donohoe ("L.A. Law") will assume the post of Mrs. Robinson in the London stage version of "The Graduate." The play has grossed more than 6 million pounds since it opened in April. Previous Mrs. R's includes Kathleen Turner and Jerry Hall.