Un Certain Regard film Japanese Story dominated the prizes at the 2003 Film Critics Circle of Australia Awards, held in Sydney on Friday night (Oct 31).

Japanese Story won best film for producer Sue Maslin, best director for Sue Brooks, best actress for Toni Collette, best cinematography for Ian Baker, and best music score for Elizabeth Drake.

The best actor award went to David Wenham for Gettin' Square and the screenplay awards to Rolf de Heer for Alexandra's Project in the original category, and to Anthony Fingleton for Swimming Upstream in the adapted category.

Japanese animation Spirited Away, which was jointly distributed by Niche Pictures and Madman Entertainment, scored the best foreign film in the non-English language category. Imagine Entertainment's Donnie Darko won the made in English foreign film category.

Meanwhile, earlier in the day, Gettin' Square emerged as the leading contender in the 45th AFI (Australian Film Institute) Awards, with a highly impressive 14 nominations in 12 of the 14 feature categories. This equalled the record set by director Phillip Noyce's film Newsfront back in 1978.

Gettin' Square will have to beat Alexandra's Project, Japanese Story and The Rage In Placid Lake for the best film award.

Its director, Jonathan Teplitzky, is competing with those who made Crackerjack, Japanese Story and Ned Kelly in the directors' category. Japanese Story received 10 nominations in all, and Ned Kelly received nine.

The AFI Award for best foreign film is between Bowling For Columbine, The Hours and New Zealand films Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers and Whale Rider.

Two of the nominees in the best actor category are non-Australians, namely the UK's Timothy Spall in Gettin' Square and Japan's Gotaru Tsunashima in Japanese Story.