‘Hurt Locker’ tops with San Fran critics

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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