Clooney's New Movie Wins Big in Vegas

01/03/2003 at 11:00 AM EST

Talk about a roll of the dice: The Las Vegas Film Critics have named George Clooney's directorial debut, "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind" -- which has garnered mixed reviews elsewhere -- as its best film of 2002, Variety reports.

Then again, Clooney, 41, deserves to be a darling of Vegas critics. In 2001, his "Ocean's 11" -- costarring Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts and Matt Damon -- brought a glamour to the city that hadn't been seen since the glory days of the Rat Pack.

"Confessions," starring Sam Rockwell, traces the rise of Chuck Barris, now 70, who produced "The Gong Show." He also claims to have been a CIA hit man, and the movie, with a script by Charlie Kaufman ("Adaptation," "Being John Malkovich"), presents Barris's assertion as a question for the audience.

In other honors, the Vegas reviewers divided their acting prizes among Daniel Day-Lewis for "Gangs of New York," Nicole Kidman for "The Hours," and supporting actor John C. Reilly for his roles in "Gangs of New York," "The Hours" and "Chicago."

Susan Sarandon was named best supporting actress for "Igby Goes Down" and "Moonlight Mile".

Box-office powerhouse "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers" won in four categories: direction (Peter Jackson), visual effects, costume design and film editing.

Spike Lee was given the annual William Holden lifetime achievement award for his accomplishments as an independent thinker and filmmaker.

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