'Gay' Best Actor Winner for Second Consecutive Year: San Francisco Awards + Boston Goes to War

Colin Firth A Single Man: Awards 2nd consecutive 'gay' Best ActorColin Firth in A Single Man. San Francisco Film Critics Circle Best Actor Colin Firth will quite likely receive his very first Oscar nomination for his portrayal of a Los Angeles-based English professor grieving over the unexpected death of his lover (Matthew Goode) in Tom Ford's A Single Man, based on Christopher Isherwood's 1964 novel. This is the second time in a row that the San Francisco Film Critics have selected a “gay” Best Actor. Last year, Mickey Rourke and Sean Penn tied for their work in, respectively, The Wrestler and Milk; in the latter, Penn plays slain gay rights activist and San Francisco Board of Supervisors member Harvey Milk.

San Francisco Film Critics Awards: Second consecutive 'gay' Best Actor choice

Just as in the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards, The Hurt Locker was named the Best Picture of 2009 by the San Francisco Film Critics Circle. The Iraq War drama's director, Kathryn Bigelow, unsurprisingly received top honors as well. (See further below the full list of San Francisco Film Critics winners.)

A more unique choice to date – though not all that unexpected, considering that it's San Francisco – was 2009 Venice Film Festival Best Actor Colin Firth as … Best Actor.

In Tom Ford's A Single Man – based on Christopher Isherwood's 1964 novel – Firth plays a gay English professor in 1960s Los Angeles, a time and place where homosexuality was generally not your usual conversation topic and homosexual acts were downright illegal.

After his lover (Matthew Goode) dies unexpectedly, the professor must decide what he wants to do with his own life. Or rather, whether he still has a life.

Last year, the San Francisco Film Critics' Best Actors – there was a tie – were Mickey Rourke for Darren Aronofsky's The Wrestler and Sean Penn for Gus Van Sant's Milk, in which the eventual Best Actor Oscar winner played openly gay San Francisco Board of Supervisors member Harvey Milk.

Christian McKay & rockumentary

Among the San Francisco Film Critics' expected winners in the acting categories were Meryl Streep for her Julia Child portrayal in Nora Ephron's Julie & Julia and Mo'Nique for her abusive mom in Precious.

But Christian McKay's Best Supporting Actor win for Richard Linklater's little-seen Me and Orson Welles, starring Zac Efron and Claire Danes, was a much bigger surprise than Colin Firth, even though McKay – as the Citizen Kane filmmaker – has been mentioned elsewhere (but usually as a nominee or runner-up).

Another curiosity was the choice of Sacha Gervasi's rockumentary Anvil! The Story of Anvil as Best Documentary. Louie Psihoyos' The Cove and Robert Kenner's Food, Inc. have been the favorites thus far.

As an aside, Anvil! The Story of Anvil has no chance at the Oscars, as it's not one of the semifinalists in the Best Documentary Feature category.

More San Francisco winners: 'You, the Living' biggest surprise

Wes Anderson and Noah Baumbach's win for their adaptation of Roald Dahl's Fantastic Mr. Fox wasn't something expected, either, but the San Francisco Film Critics' biggest surprise was its choice of Best Foreign Language Film: Roy Andersson's off-the-wall comedy-drama You, the Living, a 2008 production that was Sweden's submission for the Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award last year. Thus far this awards season, no other U.S. critics group has singled it out.

This year's two recipients of the Marlon Riggs Award – given to a “Bay Area filmmaker or individual who represents courage and innovation in the world of cinema” – were Frazer Bradshaw's drama Everything Strange and New, about working-class life in Oakland, and Barry Jenkins' Medicine for Melancholy, described as a “lyrical black-and-white portrait of two African-American twenty-somethings spending a long day and night in San Francisco.”

And finally, Henry Selick's stop-motion adventure tale Coraline topped the inaugural Best Animated Feature category.

The San Francisco Film Critics Circle consists of 26 Bay Area film critics. Last year, their Best Picture was Milk.

San Francisco Film Critics awards

Best Picture: The Hurt Locker.

Best Foreign Language Film: You, the Living.

Best Actor: Colin Firth, A Single Man.

Best Actress: Meryl Streep, Julie & Julia.

Best Supporting Actor: Christian McKay, Me and Orson Welles.

Best Supporting Actress: Mo'Nique, Precious.

Best Director: Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker.

Best Adapted Screenplay: Wes Anderson & Noah Baumbach, Fantastic Mr. Fox.

Best Original Screenplay: Quentin TarantinoInglourious Basterds.

Best Cinematography: Roger DeakinsA Serious Man.

Best Documentary: Anvil! The Story of Anvil.

Best Animated Feature: Coraline.

Special Citation: Sita Sings the Blues.

Marlon Riggs Award for courage & vision in the Bay Area film community:
Frazer Bradshaw, filmmaker, in recognition of his film Everything Strange and New.
Barry Jenkins, filmmaker, in recognition of his film Medicine for Melancholy.

In Memoriam: Rose Kaufman.

Summer Hours L'heure d'été Charles Berling Jérémie Renier. Surprise double awards winnerSummer Hours / L'heure d'été with Charles Berling and Jérémie Renier. Olivier Assayas' 2008 family drama Summer Hours, starring Juliette Binoche, Charles Berling, and Jérémie Renier as three siblings reunited following the death of their mother (Eyes Without a Face veteran Edith Scob), has been a surprising Best Foreign Language Film double winner, nabbing awards in both Los Angeles and Boston. In the U.S., Summer Hours barely caused a ripple at the box office; in France, it was a modest performer as well ($3.77 million after six weeks). Of note, Edith Scob was the film's sole Prix César nominee, in the Best Supporting Actress category.

Boston Society of Film Critics joins Iraq War

This awards season early favorite, The Hurt Locker was the Boston Society of Film Critics' top movie in more ways than one. (See full list of Boston winners further below.)

Kathryn Bigelow's Iraq war drama won a total of five awards: Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor (Jeremy Renner), Best Cinematography (Barry Ackroyd), and Best Film Editing (Bob Murawski & Chris Innis).

Noticeably missing in action: The Hurt Locker screenwriter Mark Boal.

Double winners 'Precious' & 'Summer Hours'

The only other movie to win in more than one category in Boston was Lee Daniels' Precious, which earned Mo'Nique a Best Supporting Actress citation in addition to the Best Ensemble award in a tie with the space crew of Star Trek.

Lastly, stretching a bit the meaning of the expression “double winner,” Olivier Assayas' Summer Hours, starring Juliette Binoche, Charles Berling, and Jérémie Renier, was a double surprise winner: after all, the French family drama was unexpectedly named the year's Best Foreign Language Film in both Boston and Los Angeles.

Boston Society of Film Critics awards

Best Picture: The Hurt Locker.

Best Foreign Language Film: Summer Hours.

Best Documentary: The Cove.

Best Actress: Meryl Streep, Julie & Julia.

Best Actor: Jeremy Renner, The Hurt Locker.

Best Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds.

Best Supporting Actress: Mo'Nique, Precious.

Best Ensemble Cast (tie): Precious & Star Trek.

Best Director: Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker.

Best Screenplay: Joel and Ethan Coen, A Serious Man.

Best Cinematography: Barry Ackroyd, The Hurt Locker.

Best Film Editing: Bob Murawski & Chris Innis, The Hurt Locker.

Best Animated Film: Up.

Best New Filmmaker: Neill Blomkamp, District 9.

Best Use of Music in a Film: Crazy Heart.

Where the Wild Things Are Max Records Alexander (Paul Dano): Surprising Best DirectorWhere the Wild Things Are with Max Records and one of the titular “wild things,” Alexander (Paul Dano). Surprisingly, the newly formed Indiana Film Journalists Association has named Spike Jonze the year's Best Director for his handling of the film adaptation of Maurice Sendak's fantasy novel Where the Wild Things Are. This is Jonze's sole Best Director win so far this awards season. Adapted by Jonze and Dave Eggers (the runners-up in the Best Screenplay category), Where the Wild Things Are was also singled out for the Indiana Film Journalists' Original Vision Award.

'Where the Wild Things Are' Indiana Film Journalists surprise

The newly formed Indiana Film Journalists Association have also announced their list of winners. (Four of their nine members can be found at The Film Yap.)

Will it influence the Oscars? Not at all likely, but that doesn't make their views any less valid.

Besides, they have made one curious choice: Spike Jonze as Best Director for Where the Wild Things Are, which also won the Original Vision Award.

True, this heavily marketed $100 million fantasy is hardly what you'd call “unusual” in terms of general awareness, but it's certainly something new when it comes to year-end critics' choices that have tended to honor the same five people and the same five films over and over again.

A box office disappointment in relation to its official cost, Where the Wild Things Are also features the following:

Catherine Keener. Mark Ruffalo. James Gandolfini. Lauren Ambrose. Chris Cooper. Forest Whitaker.

Catherine O'Hara. Michael Berry Jr. Pepita Emmerichs. Spike Jonze himself as the two owls Bob and Terry.

'Welcome' surprise

When it comes to surprises, Philippe Lioret's Welcome as the Indiana Film Journalists' Best Foreign Language Film runner-up was an even more interesting inclusion.

In the socially conscious/political French drama, an undocumented Kurdish teenager (Firat Ayverdi) aims to reach England from Calais so he can be reunited with his girlfriend. How? By swimming across the English Channel. One problem: he can't swim.

Will the local swimming coach (Vincent Lindon) give him lessons in a country where it's a crime to help undocumented migrants? And will the young Kurd achieve his objective?

Director Lioret, Emmanuel Courcol, and Olivier Adam were credited for the Welcome screenplay, with “collaboration” by Serge Frydman.

See below the full list of Indiana Film Journalists winners.

Indiana Film Journalists awards

Best Film: Up in the Air.

Best Foreign Language Film: Sin Nombre.

Best Documentary: The Cove.

Best Actress: Carey Mulligan, An Education.

Best Actor: George Clooney, Up in the Air.

Best Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds.

Best Supporting Actress: Mo'Nique, Precious.

Best Director: Spike Jonze, Where the Wild Things Are.

Best Screenplay: Jason Reitman & Sheldon Turner, Up in the Air.

Best Animated Film: Fantastic Mr. Fox.

Original Vision Award: Where the Wild Things Are.

St. Louis Film Critics nominations: Surprises galore

There are quite a few surprises among the nominees for the St. Louis Film Critics Association's 2009 Awards.

Among them are:

  • Kim So Yong's Seoul-set, U.S.-produced Treeless Mountain for Best Foreign Language Film.
  • Jeff Stilson's Good Hair for Best Documentary.
  • Wes Anderson (Fantastic Mr. Fox) and Oren Moverman (The Messenger) for Best Director.
  • Patton Oswalt (Big Fan) and Ben Foster (The Messenger) for Best Actor.
  • Maya Rudolph (Away We Go) for Best Actress.
  • Robert Duvall (The Road) for Best Supporting Actor.
  • Mélanie Laurent (Inglourious Basterds) for Best Supporting Actress.
  • Red Cliff for Best Cinematography (Yue Lü and Li Zhang).

Surprisingly missing in action: The Cove in the Best Documentary category.

Update: Check out the full list of St. Louis Film Critics winners.

 

San Francisco Film Critics Circle website.

Boston Film Critics Society website.

Indiana Film Journalists Association website.

Indiana Film Journalists list of winners via Awards Daily.

Colin Firth A Single Man image: The Weinstein Company.

Charles Berling and Jérémie Renier Summer Hours / L'heure d'été image: MK2 Productions.

Max Records and Alexander (Paul Dano) Where the Wild Things Are image: Warner Bros.

“'Gay' Best Actor Winner for Second Consecutive Year: San Francisco Awards + Boston Goes to War” last updated in July 2018.

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