Clive Owen's new movie CHILDREN OF MEN has joined the Oscars race after leading the pack at the influential Austin Film Critics Association Awards.
The movie missed out the Best Film prize, which went to 9/11 dramatisation UNITED 93, but it was named among the 10 best films of 2006, and claimed three major honours.
Alfonso Cuaron was named Best Director and the Mexican filmmaker and his four co-screenwriters also grabbed the award for Best Adapted Screenplay. EMMANUEL LUBEZKI won Best Cinematography for his innovative camera work in the film.
Meanwhile, THE DEPARTED swept both the lead and supporting male acting categories - Oscars favourite Leonardo Dicaprio was named Best Actor while Jack Nicholson took home the Best Supporting Actor prize for his acclaimed role as a seedy gang boss.
Mexican moviemaker Guillermo Del Toro's PAN'S LABYRINTH was also a double winner - for Best Foreign Film and Best Original Screenplay.
Teenager ELLEN PAGE was the surprise winner of the Austin critics' Best Actress honour for her role as a precocious girl who traps an internet child predator in Hard Candy.
BABEL star RINKO KIKUCHI was named Best Supporting Actress for her role as a Japanese mute in the acclaimed Brad Pitt drama.
DREAMGIRLS star JENNIFER HUDSON, a red-hot Oscars favourite, was named Breakthrough Artist, while BRICK writer/director RIAN JOHNSON won the prize for Best First Film.