'Children' christened by S.F. critics

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The San Francisco Film Critics Circle gave Todd Field's study of suburban angst, "Little Children," the film's first best picture and best adapted screenplay wins of the awards season. Sacha Baron Cohen nabbed his second award as best actor in "Borat" and Helen Mirren her sixth best actress honor for "The Queen."

Paul Greengrass won as best director for the Sept. 11 drama "United 93," and in a surprise vote, Rian Johnson won best original screenplay for Focus Features' low-budget mystery "Brick."

Two much-discussed Oscar front-runners, Guillermo del Toro's adult horror fantasy "Pan's Labyrinth" and Davis Guggenheim's eco-docu "An Inconvenient Truth," took home best foreign-language film and best documentary, respectively.

"Children" led the awards pack with a third honor, best supporting actor, for Jackie Earle Haley. Field directed the film, produced and shared the adapted screenplay win with Tom Perrotta.

Adriana Barraza won best supporting actress for "Babel."

The SFFCC feted its own by honoring San Francisco Silent Film Festival co-founder and artistic director Stephen Salmons with the Marlon Riggs Award for courage and vision in the Bay Area film community.

Cristi Puiu's Romanian drama "The Death of Mr. Lazarescu" earned a special citation in honor of Arthur Lazere, the late arts critic.

The SFFCC awards help give Oscar traction to "Children" and Baron Cohen, who tied with "The Last King of Scotland" star Forest Whitaker for best actor at the Los Angeles Film Critics Assn. awards.
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