Martin Scorsese's elusive Oscar dream looks closer to being realised after he was named Best Director by the Broadcast Film Critics Association last night (12JAN07).
His gangster movie THE DEPARTED also picked up the Best Film prize at the 12th annual Critics Choice Awards.
Receiving his gong, Scorsese joked, "I am pleased by this award and surprised. Maybe it's because this is the first picture I made with a plot."
DAME Helen Mirren was named Best Actress for her role as British monarch Queen Elizabeth II in THE QUEEN, while Forest Whitaker took the Best Actor prize for his portrayal of Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND.
Movie musical DREAMGIRLS won four awards, including a Best Supporting Actor gong for Eddie Murphy and a Best Supporting Actress prize for JENNIFER HUDSON.
Quirky family comedy LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE did equally well, picking up four gongs too.
The prizes are decided by the 200-member Broadcast Film Critics group and are usually a good forecast for Academy Award wins.