New York Film Critics Circle picks 'Hurt Locker' as top film
UPDATED 11:30 a.m.: The gripping Iraq war drama "The Hurt Locker" is shaping up to be this year's critics' darling.
After being named best film Sunday by the Los Angeles Film Critics Assn., the independent production was selected this morning as the best of 2009 by the New York Film Critics Circle. Kathryn Bigelow, another LAFCA choice, was also named best director by the New York critics for the ensemble drama.
"The Hurt Locker" was also named one of the 10 best films of the year Sunday by the American Film Institute and earned several major nominations today for the Critics' Choice Movie Awards. Two weeks ago, "The Hurt Locker" won the Gotham Independent Film Award for best film.
The New York Critics Circle picked George Clooney as best actor for his performance as a corporate downsizer who begins to question his isolated life in "Up in the Air," as well as for his comedic vocal turn as the fast-talking fox in the animated "Fantastic Mr. Fox."
Meryl Streep earned best actress for her portrayal of legendary chef Julia Child in "Julie & Julia."
Christoph Waltz, who danced away with the LAFCA best supporting actor prize for "Inglorious Basterds," was also New York's selection. NFCC and LAFCA selected Mo'Nique as best supporting actress for "Precious."
The NFCC and LAFCA also gave best cinematography honors to Christian Berger for "The White Ribbon," best animated film to "Fantastic Mr. Fox" and best foreign-language film to "Summer Hours."
Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci and Tony Roche won best screenplay for "In the Loop." "Of Time and the City" was named best nonfiction film. Best first feature honors went to Steve McQueen for "Hunger."
A special award was announced for Andrew Sarris "for his contribution to film criticism."
NYFCC chair Armond White said in a statement about the selections: "In a year of tough choices for everybody, the Circle celebrates cinema with critical thinking and cultural continuity."
The NYFCC, which was founded in 1935, is celebrating its 75th anniversary. Though some of its winners have gone on to take home an Academy Award, including last year's best lead actor (Sean Penn for "Milk") and supporting actress (Penelope Cruz for "Vicky Cristina Barcelona"), the organization considers itself "a principled alternative to the Oscars."
The annual award presentation takes place Jan. 11 at the Crimson in New Yorks' Flat-Iron district.
“The Hurt Locker” is proving to be this year’s critics’ darling.
The day after being named best picture by the Los Angeles Film Critics Assn., the New York Film Critics Circle selected it their best film of 2009 Monday morning. Kathryn Bigelow, another LAFCA choice, also won best director for the film.
Photo: Jeremy Renner in "The Hurt Locker" / Summit Entertainment