Jason Reitman's comedy-drama Up in the Air was voted the best film, but as it's happened before Kathryn Bigelow was the best director for the Iraq War drama The Hurt Locker. Also as it's happened before, Reitman and Sheldon Turner's screenplay was chosen as the best of the year (in the adapted category), while The Hurt Locker's Mark Boal is nowhere to be found in the list of winners. In Up in the Air, George Clooney stars as a frequent-flying corporate-downsizing expert.
Meryl Streep was the best actress for her star turn as Julia Child in Nora Ephron's Julie & Julia (Amy Adams' Julie hasn't been at all lucky this awards season), while Mo'Nique won for her abusive mother in Lee Daniels' Precious and Christoph Waltz for his multilingual Nazi in Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds. Tarantino's World War II revenge fantasy also earned the director-screenwriter the best original screenplay award. Pete Docter's Up was the best animated feature.
The unusual suspects rounded up by the Kansas City critics were two: Matteo Garrone's Camorra saga Gomorrah, chosen as the best foreign language film, and best documentary Every Little Step, Adam Del Deo and James D. Stern's portrait of auditions for a Broadway revival of A Chorus Line.
Kansas City Film Critics Awards 2010
Best Film - Up in the Air
Best Foreign Language Film - Gomorrah
Best Documentary - Every Little Step
Best Animated Film - Up
Best Director - Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker
Best Actress - Meryl Streep, Julie & Julia
Best Actor - George Clooney, Up in the Air
Best Supporting Actress - Mo'Nique, Precious
Best Supporting Actor - Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds
Best Original Screenplay - Inglourious Basterds
Best Adapted Screenplay - Up in the Air
Vince Koehler Award for Outstanding Science Fiction, Fantasy or Horror Film - District 9
Oscar ballots mailed out
Pictured above is an actual Oscar ballot for the Best Picture of 2009. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences mailed Oscar ballots of various kinds to its 5,777 voting members on Dec. 28, '09.
According to the Academy's preferential voting system, every vote is supposed to count – unless, of course, none of your choices make it into the top ten (for Best Picture) or top five (in case you belong to a specific individual branch* as well).
Having said that, I should add that at most only one choice per ballot will be counted. It could be your first choice, or (much less likely) your fifth choice, or (much, much less likely) your tenth choice. But only one will be counted depending on who/which movie among your choices has the best chance of landing a nomination.
Sounds complicated? Well, it could always be more mind-boggling.
* At the Oscars, actors vote for actors, directors for directors, screenwriters for screenwriters, and so on.
Best Picture contenders
This year's potential Best Picture Oscar contenders include:
- Jason Reitman's Up in the Air, with George Clooney, Vera Farmiga, and Anna Kendrick.
- Kathryn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker, with Jeremy Renner.
- James Cameron's Avatar, with Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, and Sigourney Weaver.
'It's Complicated' actors to host Oscar ceremony
The 2010 Academy Award nominations will be announced on Tuesday, Feb. 2, '10, at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills.
Both Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin, who co-star with Meryl Streep in Nancy Meyers' romantic comedy hit It's Complicated (not about the Academy Awards' preferential voting system), will share duties as Oscar hosts.
Best Picture Oscar ballot photo: Greg Harbaugh / © A.M.P.A.S.
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (A.M.P.A.S.) website.