Director Jason Reitman's Up in the Air, the tale of a corporate-downsizing expert and frequent flyer (George Clooney) who begins to question both his ethics and his life's purpose, was the Best Film of 2009 according to the Southeastern Film Critics Association. Their Best Director, however, was critics' favorite Kathryn Bigelow for the Iraq War drama The Hurt Locker.
Among the other Southeastern Film Critics' award winners were George Clooney for Up in the Air, Meryl Streep as Julia Child in Nora Ephron's Julie & Julia, Christoph Waltz as a nasty Nazi in Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds, and Mo'Nique as a mean mom in Lee Daniels' Precious. All four performers have won awards elsewhere and, at least for the time being, all four could be considered the top contenders for the 2010 Academy Awards.
Here's a partial list of their previous wins: 2009 National Board of Review (Clooney), Boston Society of Film Critics (Streep, Mo'Nique, Waltz), Los Angeles Film Critics (Mo'Nique, Waltz), New York Film Critics (Clooney, Streep, Mo'Nique, Waltz), New York Film Critics Online (Streep, Mo'Nique, Waltz), San Francisco Film Critics (Streep, Mo'Nique), Washington Film Critics (Clooney, Mo'Nique, Waltz), and even the 2009 Cannes Film Festival (Waltz) and the 2009 Sundance Film Festival (Mo'Nique).
Director Olivier Assayas' 'Summer Hours' is Best Foreign Language Film
Writer-director Olivier Assayas' Summer Hours, starring Jérémie Renier, Juliette Binoche, and Charles Berling, was the Southeastern Film Critics' Best Foreign Language Film. This is Summer Hours' fourth win this awards seasons, which is kind of a surprise as Assayas' family drama hadn't been getting all that much pre-awards season buzz. In fact, the little-seen (in the U.S.) French film didn't seem to be getting any buzz at all. That has all changed after the Los Angeles, Boston, and New York Film Critics went for it.
Recognition outside critics' circles – i.e., the Golden Globes, the Academy Awards – looks iffy. Not helping matters is the fact that the film is ineligible for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar because in its place France has submitted Jacques Audiard's acclaimed prison drama A Prophet, starring Tahar Rahim.
And finally, screenwriter-director Scott Teems' That Evening Sun, starring veteran Hal Holbrook, has at last won an award from a critics' group: the Southeastern Film Critics' Wyatt Award for a film "that captures the spirit of the South." See below the full list of the 2009 Southeastern Film Critics Association's winners and runners-up.
2009 Southeastern Film Critics' winners and runners-up
1. Up in the Air; director: Jason Reitman
2. The Hurt Locker; director: Kathryn Bigelow
3. Up directed Director: Pete Docter
4. Inglourious Basterds; director: Quentin Tarantino
5. A Serious Man; director: Joel and Ethan Coen
6. (500) Days of Summer; director: Marc Webb
7. Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire; director: Lee Daniels
8. The Messenger; director: Oren Moverman
9. Fantastic Mr. Fox; director: Wes Anderson
10. District 9; director: Neill Blomkamp
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: Summer Hours; director: Olivier Assayas (France)
BEST DIRECTOR: Kathryn Bigelow - The Hurt Locker
Runner-up: Jason Reitman - Up in the Air
BEST ACTOR: George Clooney - Up in the Air
Runner-up: Jeremy Renner - The Hurt Locker
BEST ACTRESS: Meryl Streep - Julie & Julia; director: Nora Ephron
Runner-up: Gabourey Sidibe - Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Christoph Waltz - Inglourious Basterds
Runner-up: Woody Harrelson - The Messenger
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Mo'Nique - Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire
Runner-up: Anna Kendrick - Up in the Air
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber - (500) Days of Summer
Runner-up: Mark Boal - The Hurt Locker
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner - Up in the Air
Runner-up: Wes Anderson and Noah Baumbach - Fantastic Mr. Fox
BEST DOCUMENTARY: Food, Inc.; director: Robert Kenner
Runner-up: The Cove; director: Louis Psihoyos
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE: Up; director: Pete Docter
Runner-up: Fantastic Mr. Fox; director: Wes Anderson
WYATT AWARD: That Evening Sun; director: Scott Teems
Runner-up: Goodbye Solo; director: Ramin Bahrani
Director Jason Reitman and George Clooney Up in the Air photo: Dale Robinette / Paramount Pictures.