‘Hurt Locker’ tops with N.Y. Film Critics

War pic wins best film, director honors

Kathryn Bigelow’s “The Hurt Locker” won the New York Film Critics Circle’s award for best picture of 2009 on Monday, with Bigelow taking directing honors as well.George Clooney won the actor prize for both “Up in the Air” and his vocal turn in “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” while his “Fox” co-star, Meryl Streep, drew the actress nod for her turn as Julia Child in “Julie and Julia.”Further echoing the choices of the L.A. and Boston groups, Mo’Nique took the supporting actress kudo for her role in “Precious,” and Austrian thesp Christoph Waltz earned the supporting actor nod for “Inglorious Basterds,” in which he plays a multilingual Nazi agent.Brit political farce “In the Loop” — written by Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, helmer Armando Iannucci and Tony Roche — took the screenplay prize.Fantastic Mr. Fox” also won the animated-film award, and Steve McQueen took the first-feature nod for “Hunger.” The critics also added a special award for one of their own: veteran Andrew Sarris, who most recently wrote for the New York Observer but was long ensconced at the Village Voice.

Christian Berger, who shot Michael Haneke’s black-and-white period drama “The White Ribbon,” won for its cinematography, while Terence Davies’ “Of Time and the City” took the docu prize and French drama “Summer Hours” the award for foreign-language film.

Now in its 75th year, the New York Film Critics Circle has a reputation for choosing polarizing films and heatedly debating the merits of the films it does select. In order to prevent leaks (which spread last year via the New York Post), the org banned live-blogging during the meeting.

Our consensus is on quality,” said NYFCC chair Armond White. “We voted for films that represent our members’ tastes and what a good year it was for movies — and it really was a good year. A lot of people made good showings, from well-known directors like Kathryn Bigelow to people like Terence Davies.

We want to draw people’s attention toward the best films, whether they’re big-budget films or low-budget independents,” White said.

The awards presentation will take place Jan. 11 at local nightspot Crimson.

And the winners are:

FILM:The Hurt Locker

DIRECTOR: Kathryn Bigelow for “The Hurt Locker”

SCREENPLAY: “In The Loop”

ACTRESS: Meryl Streep for “Julie & Julia”

ACTOR: George Clooney for “Up In The Air” and “Fantastic Mr. Fox”

SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Mo’Nique for “Precious”

SUPPORTING ACTOR: Christoph Waltz for “Inglourious Basterds

CINEMATOGRAPHY: Christian Berger for “The White Ribbon”

ANIMATED FILM: “Fantastic Mr. Fox”

NON-FICTION FILM: “Of Time And The City”

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: “Summer Hours”

FIRST FEATURE: “Hunger,” director Steve McQueen

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