The Washington, D.C. Area Film Critics Association (WAFCA) has named its picks for the year’s best movies, placing New Line’s The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King at the top of the live-action heap and casting a vote for Disney/Pixar’s Finding Nemo in the Best Animated Feature category. This is only the second year the 23-member group has added a list of superlatives to the crowded awards season.
In addition to Best Film, Return of the King snagged a Best Director win for Peter Jackson. Other big winners were Lost in Translation, which secured Best Actor kudos for Bill Murray and Best Original Screenplay for writer/director Sofia Coppola, and 21 Grams, for which Naomi Watts took Best Actress and Benicio Del Toro Best Supporting Actor.
Disney scored another win for its second biggest film of the year, though the studio may have some minor misgivings about Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl being voted Best Guilty Pleasure.
WAFCA president Tim Gordon comments, “This year’s awards were a challenge due to the MPAA’s screener ban. We support all efforts against piracy, but feel the studios need to address the leading sources of pirated material instead of hindering efforts to recognize the best of film, whether that comes from the largest studio or the smallest. Thankfully, the studios worked closely with us to help get all movies screened in they way they are intended to be seen–on the big screen.”
WAFCA 2003 Winners:
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King/New Line Cinema
Best Animated Feature
Finding Nemo/Buena Vista Pictures
Peter Jackson/The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King
Bill Murray/Lost in Translation
Naomi Watts/21 Grams
Best Supporting Actor
Benicio Del Toro/21 Grams
Best Supporting Actress
Anna Deavere Smith/The Human Stain
Best Screenplay, Original
Sofia Coppola/Lost in Translation
Best Screenplay, Adapted
Brian Helgeland/Mystic River
Fog of War/Sony Pictures Classics
Best Guilty Pleasure
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl/Buena Vista Pictures