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George Clooney Tops US Critics' Awards

George Clooney, Vera Farmiga in Up in the Air
George Clooney, Vera Farmiga in Up in the Air (Dale Robinette / Paramount)

With ten wins from groups as diverse as the 75-year-old New York Film Critics Circle and the recently formed Indiana Film Journalists Association, George Clooney was the actor of choice of most US-based critics' groups. Clooney has received the best reviews of his career for his performance as a corporate-downsizing expert in Jason Reitman's timely Up in the Air, currently doing good business at the domestic box office.

Colin Firth, playing a grieving college professor following the death of his male lover in Tom Ford's A Single Man, comes in second place with four wins from US critics' groups, plus a Venice Film Festival victory.

Jeremy Renner for The Hurt Locker and Jeff Bridges for Crazy Heart are the runners-up. All four actors have been nominated for SAG and the Critics' Choice Awards. Renner is the only who didn't land a Golden Globe nod.

US critics' groups usually choose the same movies, actors, etc. as the year's best, so there isn't much variety in the list below. Only one other actor won an award from American critics, Viggo Mortensen for The Road, from the Utah scribes. Also, Nicolas Cage was the Toronto winner for Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans.

If you want to include the National Board of Review, then there's another one (tied with George Clooney): Morgan Freeman, for his Nelson Mandela in Clint Eastwood's box office disappointment Invictus.

Daniel Day-Lewis was a shoo-in for the Oscars until Nine opened. Critics have thus far ignored him, but he did get a Golden Globe in the best actor - comedy or musical category. Day-Lewis may also get a best actor Oscar nomination – Academy members have made surprising choices in the past – but he would be quite the dark horse at this point.

The list below includes US-based critics groups (it'll be updated as more results are announced early next year), in addition to the Gotham, Satellite, and National Board of Review awards; Golden Globe, Spirit Award, and SAG nominations; plus a handful of festival awards.

George Clooney, Up in the Air - National Board of Review (tie), Washington, Indiana, St. Louis, Southeastern, Phoenix, Oklahoma, New York, Houston, Florida, Dallas-Ft. Worth, plus SAG, Critics Choice, Golden Globe nominations

Jeremy Renner, The Hurt Locker - National Society of Film Critics, Satellite (drama), Las Vegas, Chicago, Boston, plus SAG, Critics Choice, Spirit (in 2008) nominations

Colin Firth, A Single Man - San Francisco, San Diego, Detroit, Austin, Venice Film Festival, plus SAG, Critics Choice, Golden Globes, Spirit nominations

Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart - New York Online, Los Angeles, plus SAG, Critics Choice, Golden Globes, Spirit nominations

Morgan Freeman, Invictus - National Board of Review (tie), plus SAG, Critics Choice, Golden Globe nominations

Viggo Mortensen, The Road - Utah, plus Critics Choice nomination

Nicolas Cage, Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans - Toronto

Michael Stuhlbarg, A Serious Man - Satellite (comedy/musical), plus Golden Globe nomination

Joseph Gordon-Levitt, (500) Days of Summer - Golden Globes, Spirit nominations

Tobey Maguire, Brothers - Golden Globe nomination

Matt Damon, The Informant! - Golden Globe nomination

Robert Downey Jr, Sherlock Holmes - Golden Globe nomination

Daniel Day-Lewis, Nine - Golden Globe nomination

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