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Film Critics Awards: 'Avatar' Tops New York But Not Vegas

Film Critics Awards AvatarFilm Critics awards go to 'Avatar,' 'The Hurt Locker' and 'Up in the Air' (image: Zoe Saldana in 'Avatar')

In the last few days, the New York Film Critics Online, the Las Vegas Film Critics Society, and the recently formed Indiana Film Journalists Association have all announced their lists of 2009 award winners. Now, will these Film Critics Awards influence the Oscar nominations early next year? Not really, but it's interesting to see the choices they've made.

For instance, their Best Picture selections were, respectively, James Cameron's Avatar, Kathryn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker, and Jason Reitman's Up in the Air. Kathryn Bigelow was the Best Director of 2009, according to both the New York Online and the Las Vegas critics. The Best Actor and Best Actress awards went to Jeremy Renner for The Hurt Locker, George Clooney for Up in the Air, Meryl Streep for Julie & Julia, Carey Mulligan for An Education, Gabourey Sidibe for Precious, and Jeff Bridges for Crazy Heart. But most shocking of all was the critics' choice of Mo'Nique as Best Supporting Actress for Precious and Christoph Waltz as Best Supporting Actor for Inglourious Basterds. No, scratch all that.

All joking aside, there were a few unusual choices. A key example was the Indiana film journalists singling out Spike Jonze as 2009's Best Director for Where the Wild Things Are. True, this big-budget fantasy film is hardly what you'd call "unusual" in terms of mainstream appeal, but it's certainly unusual when compared to other year-end critics' choices that have for the most part honored the same handful of actors, the same three or four films, the same three or four directors, the same three or four screenplays, and so on, over and over again. Just like in years past.

Below is the full list of New York Film Critics Online, Las Vegas Film Critics Society, and Indiana Film Journalists Association 2009 award winners.

Las Vegas Film Critics winners

Best Picture
The Hurt Locker

Best Foreign Language Film
Red Cliff (China)

Best Director
Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker

Best Actor
Jeremy Renner, The Hurt Locker

Best Actress
Gabourey Sidibe, Precious

Best Supporting Actor
Christoph Waltz, Inglorious Basterds

Best Supporting Actress
Mo'Nique, Precious

Best Screenplay (Original or Adapted)
Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, (500) Days of Summer

Best Documentary
Anvil: The Story of Anvil

Best Animated Film
Fantastic Mr. Fox

Best Cinematography
Barry Ackroyd, The Hurt Locker

Best Film Editing
Bob Murawski, The Hurt Locker

Best Score
Michael Giacchino, Star Trek

Best Song
"The Weary Kind" (theme from Crazy Heart) Music and Lyrics by Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett

Best Art Direction

Best Costume Design
Anna B. Sheppard, Inglorious Basterds

Best Visual Effects
Star Trek

Best Family Film
Fantastic Mr. Fox

Youth in Film
Saoirse Ronan, The Lovely Bones

Best DVD (Packaging, Design, and Content)
The Wizard of Oz (70th Anniversary Ultimate Collector's Edition). Directed by Victor Fleming, the 1939 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer production of The Wizard of Oz features Judy Garland, Bert Lahr, Ray Bolger, Jack Haley, Frank Morgan, Billie Burke, and Margaret Hamilton.

The William Holden Lifetime Achievement Award
Cinematographer Roger Deakins


Indiana Film Critics winners

Best Film
Up in the Air
Runner-up: Fantastic Mr. Fox

Best Foreign Language Film
Sin Nombre
Runner-up: Welcome

Best Director
Spike Jonze, Where the Wild Things Are
Runner-up: Wes Anderson, Fantastic Mr. Fox

Best Actress
Carey Mulligan, An Education
Runner-up: Meryl Streep, Julie & Julia

Best Actor
George Clooney, Up in the Air
Runner-up: Jeremy Renner, The Hurt Locker

Best Supporting Actress
Mo'Nique, Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire
Runner-up: Vera Farmiga, Up in the Air

Best Supporting Actor
Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds
Runner-up: Stanley Tucci, The Lovely Bones and Julie & Julia

Best Screenplay
Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner, Up in the Air
Runner-up: Spike Jonze and Dave Eggers, Where the Wild Things Are

Best Documentary
The Cove
Runner-up: Anvil! The Story of Anvil

Best Animated Film
Fantastic Mr. Fox
Runner-up: Up

Original Vision Award
Where the Wild Things Are
Runner-up: District 9


New York Film Critics Online winners

Avatar (20th Century Fox)

TOP 11 PICTURES (in alphabetical order)
Adventureland (Miramax Films)
Avatar (20th Century Fox)
Fantastic Mr. Fox (Fox Searchlight)
The Hurt Locker (Summit Entertainment)
Inglourious Basterds (The Weinstein Company)
The Messenger (Oscilloscope)
Precious (Lionsgate)
A Serious Man (Focus Features)
Two Lovers (Magnolia)
Up (Disney / Pixar)
Up in the Air (Paramount)

Michael Haneke's The White Ribbon (Sony Classics)

The Cove (Roadside Attractions)

Up (Disney/Pixar)

Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker

Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart

Meryl Streep, Julie & Julia

Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds

Mo'Nique, Precious

In the Loop

Inglourious Basterds, Quentin Tarantino

Inglourious Basterds, Robert Richardson

Crazy Heart, Stephen Bruton and T Bone Burnett; music supervisor, Jeffrey Pollack

Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds

Marc Webb, (500) Days of Summer

Zoe Saldana Avatar image: Weta Digital / 20th Century Fox. New York Film Critics Online website. Indiana Film Journalists Association website. Las Vegas Film Critics Society site.

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