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Steven Soderbergh's complex drug thriller "Traffic" was chosen best picture of the year Wednesday by the New York Film Critics Circle.
"Traffic" received three major awards from the 34-member critics group. Soderbergh won best director for the ensemble film, as well as for his direction of the spring box-office hit "Erin Brockovich." Benicio Del Toro took home best supporting actor honors for his performance in "Traffic" as a Mexican cop who becomes embroiled in drug wars.
Tom Hanks won as best actor for his role in "Cast Away," playing the sole survivor of a plane crash who spends four years on a deserted island. Hanks, who lost approximately 50 pounds for the role, is alone on screen for the majority of "Cast Away."
Laura Linney received best actress honors as a single mom coping with her troubled younger brother in the comedy-drama "You Can Count on Me," and Marcia Gay Harden was named best supporting actress as Jackson Pollock's wife in "Pollock."
Kenneth Lonergan won best screenplay honors for "You Can Count on Me," and Peter Pau was singled out for best cinematography for Ang Lee's "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon."
Taiwan's "Yi Yi (A One and a Two)" took best foreign film honors, and "George Washington" won best first film.
The baseball documentary "The Life & Times of Hank Greenberg" scored best nonfiction film honors, and "Chicken Run" was named best animated film.
Special awards went to Jules Dassin, the former blacklisted director of the classic French film noir "Rififi," and Rialto Pictures for the re-release of the film, and to the New York-based production company Shooting Gallery, for "their ingenious distribution pattern as well as their choice of films." The Los Angeles Film Critics Association will announce its winners on Saturday.