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Director Jason Reitman's 'Up in the Air' Tops Southeastern Film Critics Awards

Director Jason Reitman Up in the AirDirector Jason Reitman's 'Up in the Air' is Best Picture, but Kathryn Bigelow is Best Dir.: Southeastern Film Critics Awards 2009 (image: Jason Reitman and George Clooney on 'Up in the Air' set)

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 critic's 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 Hour's 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 Teem's That Evening Sun, starring veteran Hal Holbrook, has at last won an award from a critic's 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 Dir.: 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)

Runner-up: The White Ribbon; director: Michael Haneke (Germany)

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.

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