SAN FRANCISCO -- The San Francisco Film Critics Circle chose Roman Polanski's Holocaust drama "The Pianist" as the Best Picture of 2002 and gave top acting awards to Michael Caine and Isabelle Huppert.
Polanski's searing picture, which stars Adrien Brody as Jewish pianist Wladyslaw Szpilman, is based on Szpilman's memoir of Warsaw under siege by the Nazi forces.
Caine won for his starring role in director Phillip Noyce's "The Quiet American," an adaptation of Graham Greene's 1955 novel of the same name, which traces the early American involvement in the French war in Indo-China. Caine plays a cynical English journalist whose relationship with a young Vietnamese woman is threatened by the arrival of an idealistic young American. Director Noyce also received a special citation from the group for his work in two films, "The Quiet American" and the Australian historical drama "Rabbit-Proof Fence," both slated for a North American release in 2002.
The group's Best Actress award went to Huppert for her bold work in "The Piano Teacher," an exploration of the sexual obsessions of a repressed teacher at a Vienna conservatory.
Miranda Richardson won Best Supporting Actress for multiple roles in "Spider," David Cronenberg's drama about a mentally ill man (Ralph Fiennes). For Best Supporting Actor, the group cited Chris Cooper for his work in "Adaptation," the latest comic collaboration from the creators of "Being John Malkovich," director Spike Jonze and writer Charlie Kaufman.
Todd Haynes won Best Director for "Far From Heaven," his striking homage to the melodramas of the 1950s, starring Julianne Moore and Dennis Quaid as a suburban couple whose seemingly perfect life is shattered by the revelation of the husband's homosexuality.
For Best Documentary, the group selected "Rivers and Tides," director Thomas Riedelsheimer's chronicle of Scottish artist Andy Goldsworthy, who works with found objects within nature to create sculptures, many of them transitory.
The top award in the Foreign Language category went to "Y Tu Mama Tambien," director Alfonso Cuaron's story of two teenaged boys on a road trip through Mexico with a mysterious older woman.
A special citation was awarded to local filmmakers Jay Rosenblatt and Caveh Zahedi for "Underground Zero" a collection of short films inspired by the events of September 11. In addition to curating the collection, Rosenblatt and Zahedi each contributed shorts to "Underground Zero."
Writer/director Dylan Kidd was also given a special citation, "Most Promising Debut" for his first film, "Roger Dodger," which starred Campbell Scott as a chronic womanizer who learns a few things about women from his 16 year-old nephew.
Founded in 2002, the San Francisco Film Critics Circle is comprised of critics from Bay Area publications. Its members include film writers from the Bay Guardian, the Contra Costa Times, the East Bay Express, the Oakland Tribune, the San Francisco Chronicle, the San Francisco Examiner, SF Weekly, the San Jose Mercury News, the San Jose Metro, and Contactmusic.com.