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Home Movie Awards Surprise Win x3 from France + Second Consecutive ‘Gay’ Best Actor

Surprise Win x3 from France + Second Consecutive ‘Gay’ Best Actor

The Hurt Locker Jeremy Renner: Best Picture fave + Los Angeles Film Critics winner
The Hurt Locker with Jeremy Renner. The Boston, San Francisco, and Los Angeles film critics’ Best Picture choice is a low-budget Summit Entertainment release that turned out to be a major box office disappointment. Curiously, the Kathryn Bigelow-directed, Mark Boal-written Iraq War-set thriller about a U.S. Explosive Ordnance Disposal team was all but ignored at this year’s Venice Film Festival and at the 2008 Spirit Awards – where it received a mere two nominations: Best Actor (Jeremy Renner) & Best Supporting Actor (Anthony Mackie). And now, suddenly, The Hurt Locker has become an awards season favorite and an Oscar front-runner.
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1. Los Angeles Film Critics bypass most big studio releases + major Best Actress surprise

Los Angeles Film Critics bypass most big studio releases + major Best Actress surprise

Ramon Novarro biography Beyond Paradise

Big Hollywood hits and flops like Avatar, The Blind Side, Nine, and The Lovely Bones, didn’t get much – or, in most cases, any – recognition from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association. (See further below the full list of L.A. Film Critics winners.)

Talent from these films was probably mentioned during the voting process, but only Avatar got listed in the final results: James Cameron’s environmentally conscious action-fantasy was the runner-up in the Best Production Design category (Rick Carter and Robert Stromberg), trailing winner District 9 (Philip Ivey).

Instead, the Los Angeles Film Critics’ big winner – Best Film, Best Director – turned out to be Kathryn Bigelow’s relatively little-seen Summit Entertainment release The Hurt Locker, which has also just topped the Boston Society of Film Critics’ choices.

To be more specific: the Boston Film Critics gave a total of five awards to the Iraq War drama about a team of bomb-disposal experts. In Los Angeles, apart from its two wins, The Hurt Locker was listed only once more: Best Cinematography runner-up (Barry Ackroyd).

In addition to its wins in L.A. and Boston, it also received top honors at the Gotham Awards.

Oscar front-runner?

Despite its unimpressive box office performance – The Hurt Locker‘s domestic take barely covered its production costs – Kathryn Bigelow’s Iraq War drama is a likely contender for the Best Picture and Best Director Academy Awards. Its chances of coming out on top in either category, however, remain iffy.

The Hurt Locker features the following:

Jeremy Renner. Guy Pearce. Brian Geraghty. David Morse. Christian Camargo.

Evangeline Lilly. Anthony Mackie. Sam Redford (the son not of Robert Redford, but of British actor Ian Redford).

Two-time Oscar nominee Ralph Fiennes (as Best Supporting Actor for Schindler’s List, 1993; as Best Actor for The English Patient, 1996).

As an aside, Mark Boal’s The Hurt Locker screenplay hasn’t been very lucky thus far, as this awards season’s focus has been on director Bigelow.

‘Up in the Air’ & surprising French-made Best Foreign Language Film

The National Board of Review and Washington D.C. Film Critics’ favorite, Jason Reitman’s Paramount-distributed, socially conscious comedy-drama Up in the Air managed to win only one award in Los Angeles: for Reitman and Sheldon Turner’s screenplay.

The tale of a frequent-flying, business-downsizing specialist (George Clooney), Up in the Air was also the runner-up in two categories: Best Picture and Best Supporting Actress (Anna Kendrick).

Much more surprising was the Los Angeles Film Critics’ choice of Olivier Assayas’ Summer Hours / L’heure d’été as the year’s Best Foreign Language Film.

Starring Juliette Binoche, Charles Berling, and Jérémie Renier, Summer Hours chronicles the emotional ups-and-downs of three siblings as they get rid of cherished family mementos (and memories) following the death of their mother (Edith Scob).

Equally surprising is the fact that Summer Hours – which came and went without causing much of a stir – was the Boston Film Critics’ pick as well. In case Assayas’ French drama wins a third U.S. film critics award, it’ll definitely no longer be a “surprise” winner.

Update: Summer Hours is no longer a surprise winner.

Dolphin slaughter documentary & ‘Fantastic Mr. Fox’

Among the Los Angeles Film Critics winners, more expected was Louie Psihoyos’ The Cove, about the slaughter of dolphins in a Japanese fishing village, being chosen Best Documentary.

Less expected was that The Cove tied with Agnès Varda’s The Beaches of Agnès – an autobiographical documentary that has received enthusiastic reviews.

In the Best Animated Feature category, Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr. Fox, featuring the voices of George Clooney and Meryl Streep among others, was the surprising top film. Pete Docter’s acclaimed blockbuster Up, the animated feature to beat this awards season, was the runner-up.

Yolande Moreau Séraphine de Senlis: Los Angeles Film Critics surprise Best Actress winner
Yolande Moreau in Séraphine. The Los Angeles Film Critics’ utterly unexpected Best Actress pick was the French Academy’s 2009 Best Actress Prix César winner Yolande Moreau. In Séraphine, the Brussels-born Moreau plays cleaning lady Séraphine Louis, best known as the painter Séraphine de Senlis. Louis’ work was discovered by German art collector Wilhelm Uhde (Ulrich Tukur in the film) in 1912, when the artist was already in her late 40s. She died in poverty and alone – either in 1934 or 1942 – at a lunatic asylum in the northern French town of Clermont. In all, Séraphine won seven Prix César, including Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay.

Jeff Bridges & the Los Angeles Film Critics’ biggest surprise of all: Best Actress Yolande Moreau

The selection of veteran Jeff Bridges (The Last Picture Show, Starman) as the Los Angeles Film Critics’ Best Actor for his ageing country singer in Scott Cooper’s Crazy Heart wasn’t totally unexpected, despite strong competition from the likes of runner-up Colin Firth for A Single Man, George Clooney for Up in the Air, and Morgan Freeman for Invictus.

On the other hand, Yolande Moreau’s win for her performance as the emotionally troubled painter and cleaning lady Séraphine de Senlis in Martin Provost’s Séraphine was a major surprise.

As a result of the Los Angeles Film Critics’ decision to go out on a limb in the Best Actress category, 2009 César winner Moreau now has a better chance of getting an Oscar nomination. (Update: “Would have had” … as her film has not been submitted for consideration.)

Either way, this year’s Best Actress field remains very crowded, e.g., L.A. runner-up Carey Mulligan for An Education, in addition to Meryl Streep (Julie & Julia), Penélope Cruz (Broken Embraces), Marion Cotillard (Nine; unless she’s listed as Best Supporting Actress), Helen Mirren (The Last Station), Gabourey Sidibe (Precious), Sandra Bullock (The Blind Side), et al.

Los Angeles Film Critics’ Austrian winners: Christoph Waltz & Christian Berger

More Los Angeles Film Critics winners: Best known as a comedian, Mo’Nique was named Best Supporting Actress for her highly dramatic performance as Gabourey Sidibe’s abusive mother in Lee Daniels’ dysfunctional family drama Precious.

Vienna-born performer and Cannes Film Festival Best Actor winner Christoph Waltz was chosen Best Supporting Actor for his “Jew-hunting” Nazi in Quentin Tarantino’s World War II revenge fantasy Inglourious Basterds.

Both Mo’Nique and Waltz are sure to receive Oscar nominations and could already be considered the favorites in their respective categories.

Waltz’s fellow Austrian Christian Berger surprisingly topped the Best Cinematography category for his black-and-white work seen in Michael Haneke’s stark German drama The White Ribbon / Das Weisse Band – the 2009 European Film Awards‘ Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Screenplay winner.

Additionally, Haneke’s political-psychological drama was the runner-up for Best Director and Best Foreign Language Film.

Jean-Paul Belmondo Pierrot le Fou: French cinema big Los Angeles Film Critics wins
Jean-Paul Belmondo in Pierrot le Fou. One of the biggest international movie stars of the 1960s and 1970s, Jean-Paul Belmondo was both the male muse of the French New Wave – toplining efforts by the likes of Jean-Luc Godard, François Truffaut, and Jean-Pierre Melville – and the star of highly commercial fare directed by the likes of Henri Verneuil, Jacques Deray, and Philippe de Broca. In its heyday, Belmondo’s film career was akin to having a superstar like Tom Cruise alternating between Yorgos Lanthimos’ arthouse fare and Mission: Impossible flicks.

Jean-Paul Belmondo gets Career Achievement Award

And finally, adding to the Los Angeles Film Critics Awards’ European flavor, veteran Jean-Paul Belmondo was named the Career Achievement Award recipient.

One of the greatest French cinema icons, Belmondo became a major international star in the 1960s despite having never had a Hollywood career.

In the last five decades or so, he has worked with some of the most important French cinema directors, among them:

  • Jean-Luc Godard: Breathless, A Woman Is a Woman, Pierrot le Fou.
  • Jean-Pierre Melville: Le Doulos, Léon Morin Priest.
  • François Truffaut: Mississippi Mermaid.
  • Louis Malle: The Thief of Paris.
  • Philippe de Broca: That Man from Rio.
  • Jacques Deray: Borsalino.
  • Henri Verneuil: Weekend at Dunkirk.
  • Claude Lelouch: Les Misérables.
  • Alain Resnais: Stavisky.

Los Angeles Film Critics vs. the Academy Awards

In the last dozen years, nine Los Angeles Film Critics Best Picture winners have gone on to receive Best Picture Oscar nominations.

The other three – WALL-E, American Splendor, and About Schmidt – earned Oscar recognition in other categories.

Three of last year’s L.A. Film Critics acting picks ended up taking home Oscar statuettes: Best Supporting Actress Penélope Cruz for Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Best Supporting Actor Heath Ledger for The Dark Knight, and Best Actor Sean Penn for Milk.

At the other extreme, Happy-Go-Lucky Best Actress Sally Hawkins didn’t even land an Oscar nomination.

See below the full list of the Los Angeles Film Critics’ 2009 winners & runners-up.

Los Angeles Film Critics winners & runners-up

Best Picture: The Hurt Locker.

Runner-up: Up in the Air.

Best Foreign Language Film: Summer Hours.

Runner-up: The White Ribbon.

Best Documentary (tie): The Cove & The Beaches of Agnès.

Best Actor: Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart.

Runner-up: Colin Firth, A Single Man.

Best Actress: Yolande Moreau, Séraphine.

Runner-up: Carey Mulligan, An Education.

Best Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds.

Runner-up: Peter Capaldi, In the Loop.

Best Supporting Actress: Mo’Nique, Precious.

Runner-up: Anna Kendrick, Up in the Air.

Best Director: Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker.

Runner-up: Michael Haneke, The White Ribbon.

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

Runner-up: Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci, Tony Roche, In the Loop.

Best Cinematography: Christian Berger, The White Ribbon.

Runner-up: Barry Ackroyd, The Hurt Locker.

Best Animated Feature: Fantastic Mr. Fox.

Runner-up: Up.

Best Music: T Bone Burnett & Stephen Bruton, Crazy Heart.

Runner-up: Alexandre Desplat, Fantastic Mr. Fox.

Best Production Design: Philip Ivey, District 9.

Runner-up: Rick Carter & Robert Stromberg, Avatar.

New Generation Award: Neill Blomkamp, District 9.

Independent/Experimental Film and Video Award: The Anchorage, dir.: Anders Edström & C.W. Winter.

Career Achievement Award: Jean-Paul Belmondo.

Colin Firth A Single Man: Awards 2nd consecutive 'gay' Best Actor
Colin 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 Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds.

Best Cinematography: Roger Deakins, A 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 winner
Summer 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 Director
Where 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.

Michelle Monaghan Trucker: Potential Best Actress contender nearly ignored this awards season
Michelle Monaghan in Trucker. Tom Cruise’s leading lady in the action thriller Mission Impossible III, Michelle Monaghan was initially touted as a likely Best Actress awards season – i.e., Oscar – contender for her performance in writer-director James Mottern’s low-budget drama Trucker, in which she plays a sex & booze-loving, long-haul truck driver whose life radically changes after she is forced to discover the joys & woes of motherhood by way of 10-year-old Jimmy Bennett. To date, Michelle Monaghan has been singled out by only one group, the San Diego Film Critics Society.

Michelle Monaghan among San Diego Film Critics’ unusual winners

Whether or not one agrees with its choices, the San Diego Film Critics Society, possibly more than any other U.S.-based critics group, association, society, or circle, always comes up with a whole array of unusual winners. For instance, the San Diego Film Critics’ Best Actress of 2009? Michelle Monaghan for her portrayal of a carefree long-haul truck driver whose life suddenly undergoes a dramatic change in James Mottern’s Trucker.

Their Best Film of 2009? Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds. To the best of my knowledge, this is the first time this awards season that Tarantino’s twisted, violent World War II fantasy about Jews taking bloody revenge against Nazis has been chosen as the year’s Best Film by a North American critics group.

Dec. 16 update: Just now, the Toronto Film Critics Association has chosen both Inglourious Basterds and, even more surprisingly, Steve McQueen’s independently made British political drama Hunger as the two best films of the year. See the full list of Toronto winners further below.

Quentin Tarantino wins two awards

Back to the San Diego Film Critics: Inglourious Basterds’ Quentin Tarantino was voted both Best Director and the writer of the year’s Best Original Screenplay. More expectedly, critic’s fave Christoph Waltz was the Best Supporting Actor.

All in all, Inglourious Basterds received a total of six mentions. The other two were for Best Production Design (David Wasco) and Best Ensemble Performance. Besides Christoph Waltz, Tarantino’s film features the following:

Brad Pitt. Mélanie Laurent. Diane Kruger. Michael Fassbender (who also stars in Hunger).

Daniel Brühl. Til Schweiger. Eli Roth. August Diehl. Mike Myers. Bo Svenson.

Veteran Rod Taylor (The Time Machine, The Birds).

More San Diego Film Critics winners

The San Diego Film Critics’ selection of Colin Firth as Best Actor for his gay college professor in Tom Ford’s A Single Man, no matter how well-deserved, wasn’t really a surprise. More offbeat choices were the following:

  • Best Supporting Actress Samantha Morton for her war widow in Oren Moverman’s The Messenger.
  • Best Editing for (500) Days of Summer (Alan Edward Bell), hardly one’s idea of “showy” film editing work.
  • Best Cinematography for Javier Aguirresarobe‘s work on John Hillcoat’s bleak futuristic drama The Road, starring Viggo Mortensen, and which has been all but ignored by critics groups elsewhere. (The Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s Golden Globes didn’t find any room for The Road either.).
Il Divo Toni Servillo as Italian Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti: Humorously dark politics
Il Divo with Toni Servillo as Giulio Andreotti. One of the very best movies of the year, in the U.S. Paolo Sorrentino’s Il Divo struck and vanished like lightning (minus the fiery impact). But those who appreciate great filmmaking and great acting, should enjoy Sorrentino’s darkly humorous take on the cunning, conniving, scheming Italian Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti, magisterially played by Best Actor David di Donatello winner Toni Servillo.

Most interesting choice of all: ‘Il Divo’

But the San Diego Film Critics’ most interesting choice of all was their Best Foreign Language Film: Paolo Sorrentino’s mordant Il Divo, the story of powerful and power-hungry Italian Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti (memorably brought to life by Toni Servillo).

All but ignored in the U.S. – where Italian politics seems to be outside the realm of interest of the myopic general populace – Il Divo won seven David di Donatello Awards, including Best Actor for Toni Servillo.

And finally, Woody Harrelson won the year’s Body of Work prize for The Messenger, Zombieland, and 2012.

2012!? As mentioned further up, the San Diego Film Critics go for some very unusual stuff. That was no exaggeration.

See below the list of San Diego and Toronto film critics’ 2009 winners.

San Diego Film Critics winners

Best Film: Inglourious Basterds.

Best Foreign Language Film: Il Divo.

Best Actor: Colin Firth, A Single Man.

Best Actress: Michelle Monaghan, Trucker.

Best Supporting Actress: Samantha Morton, The Messenger.

Best Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds.

Best Ensemble Performance: Inglourious Basterds.

Best Director: Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds.

Best Original Screenplay Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds.

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

Best Documentary: The Cove, dir.: Louie Psihoyos.

Best Animated Film: Up, dir.: Pete Docter.

Best Cinematography: Javier Aguirresarobe, The Road.

Best Editing: Alan Edward Bell, (500) Days of Summer.

Best Score: Abel Korzeniowski, A Single Man.

Best Production Design: David Wasco, Inglourious Basterds.

Body of Work Award: Woody Harrelson, The Messenger, Zombieland, and 2012.

Toronto Film Critics winners

Best Picture (tie): Hunger & Inglourious Basterds.

Best Foreign Language Film: The White Ribbon, dir.: Michael Haneke.

Best Documentary The Cove.

Best Actor: Nicolas Cage, Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans.

Best Actress: Carey Mulligan, An Education.

Best Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds.

Best Supporting Actress: Anna Kendrick, Up in the Air.

Best Director: Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker.

Best Screenplay (tie): Up in the Air, Jason Reitman & Sheldon Turner + Inglourious Basterds, Quentin Tarantino.

Best Animated Feature: Fantastic Mr. Fox, dir.: Wes Anderson.

Best First Feature: Hunger.

Best Canadian Film nominees: Polytechnique, dir.: Denis Villeneuve.

Update: More on the Toronto Film Critics’ Best Canadian Film winner.

Mélanie Laurent Inglourious Basterds. Surprise Best Actress winner in WWII revenge fantasy
Mélanie Laurent in Inglourious Basterds. The one major surprise among the Austin Film Critics’ winners was Best Actress Mélanie Laurent for Inglourious Basterds. The film’s title – whether you see its misspelling as humorously quirky or an obnoxious affectation – was inspired by Enzo G. Castellari’s 1978 B action flick The Inglorious Bastards, a loose remake of Robert Aldrich’s The Dirty Dozen. Its original title, Quel maledetto treno blindato (lit., “That Damned Armored Train”), may (or may not) have been a pun on the title of Pietro Germi’s Un maledetto imbroglio / The Facts of Murder.

Mélanie Laurent Best Actress surprise as ‘The Hurt Locker’ tops another film critics awards

The Austin Film Critics Association has chosen the Iraq War drama The Hurt Locker as the Best Film of 2009. Kathryn Bigelow was chosen Best Director. In the cast: Jeremy Renner, Ralph Fiennes, Guy Pearce, and Brian Geraghty.

Most of the Austin Film Critics’ other picks were just as predictable, even though some of them didn’t exactly match the choices of the majority of U.S. critics groups thus far, e.g., Anna Kendrick as Best Supporting Actress for Jason Reitman’s Up in the Air (same at the National Board of Review), Colin Firth as Best Actor for A Single Man (also in San Francisco and San Diego).

The one major surprise was the choice of Mélanie Laurent as Best Actress for Inglourious Basterds, in which she plays a Jewish woman running a movie theater in Nazi-occupied Paris. Quentin Tarantino’s violent World War II fantasy was also the top choice for Best Original Screenplay (Tarantino) and Best Supporting Actor, critics’ fave Christoph Waltz.

Additionally, the Austin Film Critics released their list of Top Ten films of the decade, nearly all of which are big-budget Hollywood productions. See below.

Austin Film Critics winners

Best Film: The Hurt Locker.

Best Foreign Language Film: Sin Nombre, dir.: Cary Fukunaga (as Cary Jôji Fukunaga).

Best Actor: Colin Firth, A Single Man.

Best Actress: Mélanie Laurent, Inglourious Basterds.

Best Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds.

Best Supporting Actress: Anna Kendrick, Up in the Air.

Best Director: Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker.

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

Best Original Screenplay: Inglourious Basterds, Quentin Tarantino.

Best Animated Feature: Up.

Best Documentary: Anvil! The Story of Anvil, dir.: Sacha Gervasi.

Best Cinematography: The Hurt Locker, Barry Ackroyd.

Best Original Score: Up, Michael Giacchino.

Best First Film: District 9, Neill Blomkamp.

Breakthrough Artist Award: Christian McKay, Me and Orson Welles.

Austin Film Award: Me and Orson Welles, dir.: Richard Linklater.

Top Ten Films of the Decade:

See also: Roman Polanski & Martin Scorsese thrillers at the 2010 Berlin Film Festival.

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus: Faust Dr. Lao mix is Best Song Oscar contender
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. Directed by former Monty Pythonite Terry Gilliam – and with elements in common with disparate works such as Goethe’s Faust and George Pal’s 7 Faces of Dr. Lao* – the fantasy The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus would have starred veteran Christopher Plummer as Doctor Parnassus and Heath Ledger as the mysterious stranger Tony. Following Ledger’s death, Gilliam ended up using three other actors – alongside Ledger – in the part: Jude Law, Johnny Depp, and Colin Farrell. Two songs from the film, “We Love Violence” and “We Are the Children of the World,” are potential Best Original Song Oscar contenders.

Best Song Oscar longlist: ‘Love’ is not everywhere

In other awards season news, 63 songs are in contention for a Best Original Song Academy Award nomination.

Needless to say, among them are songs from Disney movies – A Christmas Carol, The Princess and the Frog – in addition to songs from Miley CyrusHannah Montana The Movie.

Among the curiosities are “AyAyAyAy” from The Maid, “Dove of Peace” from Brüno, “We Love Violence” from The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, and long-titled “You Got Me Wrapped Around Your Little Finger” from An Education.

Only five of the potentially in-contention songs have the word “love” in them, including the aforementioned “We Love Violence” and “The Word Is Love” from Oy Vey! My Son Is Gay!.

The songs and their movies are listed below in alphabetical order by song title:

Best Original Song Oscar longlist

  • “All Is Love,” Where the Wild Things Are.
  • “Almost Over You,” My One and Only.
  • “Almost There,” The Princess and the Frog.
  • “AyAyAyAy,” The Maid.
  • “Back to Tennessee,” Hannah Montana The Movie.
  • “Being Bad,” Duplicity.
  • “Blanco,” Fast & Furious.
  • “Brothers in Arms,” Brothers at War.
  • “Butterfly Fly Away,” Hannah Montana The Movie.
  • “Cinema Italiano,” Nine.
  • “Colorblind,” Invictus.
  • “Depression Era,” That Evening Sun.
  • “Don’t Walk Away,” Hannah Montana The Movie.
  • “Dove of Peace,” Brüno.
  • “Down in New Orleans,” The Princess and the Frog.
  • “Fly Farm Blues,” It Might Get Loud.
  • “Forget Me,” I Love You, Beth Cooper.
  • “God Bless Us Everyone,” Disney’s A Christmas Carol.
  • “Here,” Shrink.
  • “Hideaway,” Where the Wild Things Are.
  • “Hoedown Throwdown,” Hannah Montana The Movie.
  • “I Bring What I Love,” Youssou N’Dour: I Bring What I Love.
  • “I See You,” Avatar.
  • “(I Want to) Come Home,” Everybody’s Fine.
  • “If You’re Wondering,” The Lightkeepers.
  • “Impossible Fantasy,” Adventures of Power.
  • “Innocent Child,” Skin.
  • “Invictus 9,000 Days,” Invictus.
  • “Legendary,” Tyson.
  • “Let Freedom Reign,” Skin.
  • “Loin de Paname,” Paris 36.
  • “Ma Belle Evangeline,” The Princess and the Frog.
  • “My One and Only,” My One and Only.
  • “Na Na,” Couples Retreat.
  • “Never Knew I Needed,” The Princess and the Frog.
  • “New Divide,” Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.
  • “New Jersey Nights,” Adventures of Power.
  • “New York Is Where I Live,” Did You Hear About the Morgans?.
  • “No Time for Love,” Simon & Malou.
  • “One Day,” Post Grad.
  • “Only You,” The Young Victoria.
  • “Other Father Song,” Coraline.
  • “Petey’s Song,” Fantastic Mr. Fox.
  • “Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea,” Ponyo.
  • “Possibility,” The Twilight Saga: New Moon.
  • “Raining Sunshine,” Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.
  • “Running Out of Empty (Make Ourselves at Home),” Lymelife.
  • “Smoke without Fire,” An Education.
  • “Somebody Else,” Crazy Heart.
  • “Stu’s Song,” The Hangover.
  • “Take It All,” Nine.
  • “Through the Trees,” Jennifer’s Body.
  • “Trust Me,” The Informant!.
  • “Un Bouquet des Violettes,” New York, I Love You.
  • “We Are the Children of the World,” The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus.
  • “We Love Violence,” The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus.
  • “The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart),” Crazy Heart.
  • “When You Find Me,” Adam.
  • “Winter,” Brothers.
  • “The Word Is Love,” Oy Vey! My Son Is Gay!.
  • “You Got Me Wrapped around Your Little Finger,” An Education.
  • “You’ll Always Find Your Way Back Home,” Hannah Montana The Movie.
  • “You’ve Been a Friend to Me,” Old Dogs.

Best Original Song category rules

Regarding the Best Original Song category rules, here’s what the Academy has to say (via its press release):

“On Tuesday, January 12, the Academy will screen clips featuring each song, in random order, for voting members of the Music Branch in Los Angeles. Following the screenings, members will determine the nominees by an averaged point system vote. If no song receives an average score of 8.25 or more, there will be no nominees in the category. If only one song achieves that score, it and the song receiving the next highest score shall be the two nominees. If two or more songs (up to five) achieve that score, they shall be the nominees.

The Academy adds that “a maximum of two songs may be nominated from any one film. If more than two songs from a film are in contention, the two songs with the most votes will be the nominees.”

The 2010 Academy Award nominations will be announced on Feb. 2. The Oscar ceremony will take place on March 7 at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center.

Michelle Monaghan & Chris O’Donnell to announce SAG Award nominations

Michelle Monaghan and Chris O’Donnell will join Screen Actors Guild president Ken Howard to announce the nominees for the 2010 Screen Actors Guild Awards on Thursday, Dec. 17, at 6 a.m. PT in the SilverScreen Theater at the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood.

Monaghan starred opposite Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible III and at one point was touted as a potential Best Actress contender for Trucker (the San Diego Film Critics have gone for her).

NCIS: Los Angeles star Chris O’Donnell is perhaps best known for playing Robin opposite George Clooney’s Batman in Batman Forever, and as the young man accompanying a blind, tango-dancing Al Pacino in Scent of a Woman.

Ten minutes prior to Michelle Monaghan and Chris O’Donnell’s announcement of the individual/cast nominees, SAG Awards Committee Chair JoBeth Williams (Poltergeist, The Big Chill) and Vice Chair Daryl Anderson (Lou Grant, Hollywood Wives) will name the film and TV stunt-ensemble nominees.

The 2010 SAG Awards ceremony will be simulcast live on TNT and TBS on Saturday, Jan. 23, at 8 p.m. ET, 7 p.m. CT, 6 p.m. MT, from the Shrine Exposition Center in Los Angeles. The ridiculous three-hour delay for the West Coast – the show will start at 8 p.m. PT – will continue.

San Diego Film Critics Society website.

Screen Actors Guild website.

Michelle Monaghan Trucker image: Plum Pictures / Monterey Media.

Toni Servillo Il Divo image: Lucky Red.

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus image: Sony Pictures Classics.

Mélanie Laurent Inglourious Basterds image: The Weinstein Company.

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.

Los Angeles Film Critics Association website.

Image of Jeremy Renner in the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Best Picture winner The Hurt Locker: Jonathan Olley / Summit Entertainment.

Image of Los Angeles Film Critics Best Actress winner Yolande Moreau in Séraphine: Diaphana Films.

Jean-Paul Belmondo Pierrot le Fou image: Société Nouvelle de Cinématographie.

“Surprise Win x3 from France + Second Consecutive ‘Gay’ Best Actor: Awards Season” last updated in March 2019.

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ianaleah -

“Time For Miracles’- magnificent love song.

saravana -

AR Rahman will win oscar once again for “na na” from couples retreat this year…..All the best..millions of people will pray for you once again..

Casper Anderson -

McCartney should win for “(I Want to) Come Home” from Everybody’s Fine

Kalpesh -

“Na Na” from Couples Retreat

Best of Luck A.R.Rahman bring again OSCAR at INDAI… Lucky ^

babu.v -

Dr A.R.Rahman win once again the song Na Na from ouples retreat. All indians will pray to God win the award of Oscar hero Mr Dr A.R.Rahman.

solin -

na na couples retreat best song oscar 2010..amazing………..

Christoph Graham -

The obvious choice is “Stu’s Song”.

michelle howard -

i think nas should win for legendary for the movie tyson

A True Indian -

Na Na from couples retreat… again from the winner of 2 oscars… Dr. A. R Rahman is an amazing music director…. feel the song…. must win again….


I see You Should win

Laine -

“Through the Trees” is one of those songs that moves you from the depths of your soul. There’s no explaining the power of the song. There’s just something so incredible about the way it makes me feel. It pulls me in! It should definitely win the Oscar! I did a little research on it and the singer and songwriter is Ryan Levine. He has other songs out there on myspace etc. and he’s very talented.

James -

“Only You” from The Young Victoria; this song should win the Oscar for Best Song!

Nishtan -

“Running Out Of Empty” From Lymelife is just incredible. It deserves special consideration. Definitely worth a listen if you have not yet heard it!

markhagen -

After hearing alot of these songs I expect to see through the trees nominated. In my opinion that song should win the oscar. After I saw the movie and grew attached to the song instantly I had to know who wrote it. Turns out its a singer/songwriter named Ryan Levine. He has a myspace page under ryanlevinemusic. I suggest you music fans take a look at it and see whats on there. Some brilliant music. I am a huge fan.

Liza -

I applaud the SD critics for choosing Michelle Monaghan as the best actress for her incredible work in Trucker. I was completely blown away by her performance and the movie overall. I prefer movies about realistic, flawed characters like hers. I am bored by movies like An Education and glad that a gritty, gut-wrenching film like Trucker is getting so much recognition!

Bill B. -

What is with some of these stupid rules?! If a film has 3, 4 or 5 of the best songs written, what is the purpose of only allowing 2 from one film to be nominated? So they can nominate other songs of lesser quality? The category itself is on the stupid side, but that aside, this makes no sense. Making a little more sense, but even more irritating, is the rule that a performer cannot be nominated against themselves. Why? If someone should happen to give two of the finest performances in the same category in a year, then he or she should be recognized for both. I realize that this rule was to “help” an actor so that they are not splitting their votes and hurting their chances of winning, but that’s life and I don’t think it’s such a terrible thing to be acknowledged for giving 2 of the best performances in a particular year. It’s an idiotic rule. Being nominated against one’s self sure didn’t hurt Steven Soderbergh a few years ago from winning best director with 2 nominations. And certainly many cinematographers, music writers, visual effects people, costume designers, art directors, etc. have received multiple nominations in the same category, so why are actors different? I love the Academy Awards (though I rarely agree with them for best picture) because they are fun, they have a long history, but more importantly, because they help promote film, but they have a few really squirrelly rules like the foreign film (especially) and documentary categories. And please tell me why in this day and age of endless special effects, they only allow 3 nominees? I guess none of this is actually of any importance, but it is the subject at hand.

Anders -

Hey there. I’m one of the SD critics. It’s interesting, one of the most hotly debated choices was the Body of Work category. But just so we’re clear, that vote wasn’t a voice of support for “2012.” A number of people thought, though, that Woody had already had a standout year in a long career, and that his role in that movie was the best–and possibly the only good–thing in it.


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