San Francisco Film Critics Circle hands out honors

The San Francisco Film Critics’ Circle announced their 2009 awards Monday night, hewing to the growing consensus in some areas — honoring Kathryn Bigelow’s “The Hurt Locker” for picture and director, Meryl Streep for actress and Mo’Nique for supporting actress — while also springing a few surprises.

Two acting prizes went to performers re-creating late celebrities: Streep as Julia Child in “Julie and Julia” and hitherto little-known Brit thesp Christian McKay for his uncanny evocation of Orson Welles in “Me and Orson Welles.”

Colin Firth drew the actor nod for his turn as a grieving gay academic in “A Single Man.” Mo’Nique took the supporting-actress laurels for her perf as the abusive mother in “Precious.”

Original-screenplay honors were snagged by Quentin Tarantino for “Inglourious Basterds,” while the adapted-screenplay prize went to Wes Anderson and Noah Baumbach for stop-motion animated feature “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” based on Roald Dahl’s children’s book.

Reflecting a remarkable year for animation overall, the group’s first animated-feature award went to “Coraline,” while a special citation was given to Nina Paley’s DIY toon “Sita Sings the Blues,” a cheeky mix of autobiography and Indian “Ramayana” mythology.

Sacha Gervasi’s heavy-metal survival saga “Anvil! The Story of Anvil” won the documentary award, while the foreign-language film prize went to Roy Andersson’s Swedish existential comedy “You, the Living,” which had a brief San Francisco theatrical run but has otherwise barely been seen in the U.S. outside festivals.

The annual Marlon Riggs Award, honoring a Bay Area filmmaker for “courage and innovation,” this year honored two debuting feature writer-directors. Barry Jenkins’ “Medicine for Melancholy” follows two African-American twentysomethings across San Francisco during a long day’s quasi-date in stylish black-and-white. Fraser Bradshaw’s Everything Strange and New” is a stark yet lyrical evocation of working-class Oakland life.

The San Francisco Film Critics’ Circle dedicated this year’s announcements to the memory of Rose Kaufman, recently deceased matriarch of the stubbornly local though Hollywood-tied Kaufman family. Wife to director Philip and mother to producer son Peter, she’d been a major presence in the San Francisco film scene for decades, as well as her husband’s co-scenarist on 1979′s “The Wanderers” and 1990′s “Henry and June.”

The full list of winners for the 2009 San Francisco Film Critics Circle Awards:

PICTURE: “The Hurt Locker”

DIRECTOR: Kathryn Bigelow, “The Hurt Locker”

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Quentin Tarantino, “Inglourious Basterds”

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Wes Anderson and Noah Baumbach, “Fantastic Mr. Fox”

ACTOR: Colin Firth, “A Single Man”

ACTRESS: Meryl Streep, “Julie & Julia”

SUPPORTING ACTOR: Christian McKay, “Me and Orson Welles”

SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Mo’Nique, “Precious”

ANIMATED FEATURE: “Coraline”

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: “You, the Living” (Sweden)

DOCUMENTARY: “Anvil! The Story of Anvil”

CINEMATOGRAPHY: Roger Deakins, “A Serious Man”

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

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