Toronto critics bow to 'Queen'

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The Toronto Film Critics Assn. on Tuesday chose Stephen Frears' "The Queen" as best picture of 2006.

The royal drama dominated the voting, with Helen Mirren earning best actress for her portrayal of a frosty Queen Elizabeth II facing the emotionally charged death of Princess Diana; Michael Sheen winning best supporting actor for his performance as British Prime Minister Tony Blair; and Peter Morgan taking the screenplay award.

Frears shares the best director nod with Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne for their Belgian drama "L'Enfant," winner of the Palme d'Or at 2005's Festival de Cannes. It also was named best foreign-language film.

The other multiple winner this year is Canadian filmmaker Jennifer Baichwal, who picked up the best documentary feature and best Canadian film citations for "Manufactured Landscapes," a film shot in China about the world and work of Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky.

In addition, Sacha Baron Cohen won best actor for his star turn in "Borat," and Cate Blanchett earned best supporting actress honors for "Notes on a Scandal."

Jason Reitman's "Thank You for Smoking" was the critics' pick for best first feature, while George Miller's "Happy Feet" earned top honors in the animated feature category.
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