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Friday, December 19, 2003 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Seattle critics laud indie films

"Lost in Translation" and "American Splendor" — this year's darlings among film critics and indie-minded audiences — dominated the second annual Seattle Film Critics Awards.

"Lost in Translation" snagged top honors for writing, acting and directing, and "American Splendor" was named best picture.

The winners, announced yesterday, were selected by more than two dozen film writers from the greater Seattle area.

The award for best actor went to Bill Murray for his work in Sophia Coppola's "Lost in Translation," the tale of a young American woman and a jaded American actor adrift in Japan. Coppola was honored for best original screenplay and the coveted best director award.

"American Splendor," the story of eccentric comic-book creator Harvey Pekar, also won for best adapted screenplay, and its leading lady, Hope Davis, was named best actress.

Marcia Gay Harden ("Mystic River") and Sean Astin ("Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King") received best supporting actress and actor nods, respectively.

The Seattle critics bestowed their "Living Treasure" award to English actor Christopher Lee ("The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes," "The Three Musketeers," "Dracula"). The award celebrates the achievements of veteran film notables. Lee was featured most recently in the "Star Wars" series and as Saruman in the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy.

The award for best cinematography went to "Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King," while "The Triplets of Belleville" took top honors for best animated feature ("Finding Nemo" was the runner-up). The French film "The Man on the Train" was named best foreign-language film, while "Capturing the Friedmans" was named best documentary.

— Tina Potterf, Seattle Times staff reporter

Copyright © 2003 The Seattle Times Company

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