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Boston critics hand out honors

'Wall-E,' 'Slumdog' share top prize

It was too close to call in many races as the Boston Society of Film Critics voting resulted in several ties.

At the org’s annual meeting Sunday , the voting for best picture resulted in Pixar’s “Wall-E” and Danny Boyle’s “Slumdog Millionaire” sharing top honors.

“Wall-E” also received the Boston scribes’ inaugural award for animated feature, while “Slumdog” received its first award for film editing.

“Milk” was the runner-up for best picture, but Gus Van Sant took director honors for both “Milk” and “Paranoid Park.” Each of those films also received separate honors.

Sean Penn nabbed the actor prize for “Milk,” which he shares with Mickey Rourke for “The Wrestler.” The actor category proved to be most competitive, with the runner-up slot producing yet another tie, this time for Frank Langella for “Frost/Nixon” and Richard Jenkins for “The Visitor.” Langella was last year’s winner for “Starting Out in the Evening.”

“Milk” scribe Dustin Lance Black was cited for screenplay in the afternoon’s most contentious voting, finally edging out “Happy-Go-Lucky” by a single vote on the fourth ballot. Meanwhile Christopher Doyle and Rain Kathy Li won for cinematography for “Paranoid Park,” besting “Slumdog Millionaire.”

The late Heath Ledger was named supporting actor for his performance as the Joker in “The Dark Knight” with Robert Downey Jr. the runner-up for his over-the-top method actor in “Tropic Thunder.” Penelope Cruz won supporting actress for “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” where she played Javier Bardem’s fiery ex-wife. She edged out Viola Davis as the concerned mother in “Doubt.” Actress went to Sally Hawkins’ upbeat character in “Happy-Go-Lucky” over Anne Hathaway’s recovering drug addict in “Rachel Getting Married.”

In the documentary category it was “Man on Wire,” about the man who walked between the towers of the World Trade Center in New York edging out the singing senior citizens of “Young @ Heart.”

Perhaps the biggest surprise was the selection of the Swedish vampire film “Let the Right One In” for foreign language film over the animated Israeli documentary “Waltz With Bashir.”

The Boston critics also cited “Tropic Thunder” as ensemble cast (over the more subdued “The Visitor”) and gave its David Brudnoy Award for new filmmaker to Martin McDonagh for “In Bruges.”

The Boston critics also voted to add another category, film score, to next year’s awards.

Local honorees for film series and rediscoveries, as well as one or more of the recipients in the voting categories will be honored at an awards presentation at the Brattle Theater on Feb. 8. It will be the second year that the Boston Society of Film Critics has done such an event.

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