‘Hurt Locker’ tops with L.A. critics

Bridges, Moreau win top acting prizes

“The Hurt Locker” has disarmed the Los Angeles Film Critics Assn., as Kathryn Bigelow’s visceral Iraq War drama snared honors for best picture and best director of the year on Sunday. The Summit Entertainment pickup first premiered at the 2008 Venice and Toronto film festivals.

Jeff Bridges won the actor nod for his turn as a boozy, washed-up country musician in Fox Searchlight’s “Crazy Heart,” which also plucked the group’s music honors for songwriters T-Bone Burnett and Stephen Bruton.

Yolande Moreau drew the actress prize for her performance as Gallic painter Seraphine de Senlis in “Seraphine,” a Music Box Films release.

Where portrayals of tortured artists prevailed in the lead acting categories, the supporting honors went to a pair of villains: Christoph Waltz as a multilingual Nazi colonel in the Weinstein Co.’s “Inglourious Basterds,” and Mo’Nique as the mother of all abusive mothers in Lionsgate’s “Precious.”

Besides “The Hurt Locker” and “Crazy Heart,” the only film to score more than one prize from the L.A. critics was Sony/TriStar’s “District 9,” which received the New Generation award for South African director Neill Blomkamp and was also cited for production designer Philip Ivey’s imaginative rendering of Johannesburg in the wake of an alien invasion.

French helmer Olivier Assayas’ family drama “Summer Hours,” released by IFC Films, was the org’s choice for top foreign-language film.

Two other pics proved popular with the L.A. critics. Paramount’s “Up in the Air” was recognized in the screenplay category for Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner’s adaptation of the Walter Kirn novel, while the film also placed runner-up for picture and supporting actress Anna Kendrick. Sony Pictures Classics’ Palme d’Or winner “The White Ribbon” won the cinematography award for Christian Berger’s black-and-white lensing and was the runner-up for Michael Haneke’s direction and foreign-language film.

Fox Searchlight’s stop-motion adaptation of “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” directed by Wes Anderson, poached the animation prize; the runner-up was Disney/Pixar’s “Up,” from helmer Pete Docter.

The award for documentary/nonfiction film turned out to be a shore thing, with a tie between Agnes Varda’s self-portrait “The Beaches of Agnes,” a Cinema Guild release, and helmer Louie Psihoyos’ dolphin-slaughter expose “The Cove,” from Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions.

The Douglas E. Edwards award for independent/experimental film/video was given to Anders Edstrom and C.W. Winter’s Swedish production “The Anchorage,” which had its L.A. premiere at the AFI Film Festival.

Elsewhere, a certain French flavor could be discerned among the LAFCA picks, from the selections of Belgian thesp Moreau, “Summer Hours” and “The Beaches of Agnes” to the group’s decision to dedicate its awards to the French New Wave in commemoration of the movement’s 50th anniversary. As previously announced, New Wave luminary Jean-Paul Belmondo will receive the group’s career achievement award.

Other runners-up were Colin Firth (“A Single Man”), actor; Carey Mulligan (“An Education”), actress; Peter Capaldi (“In the Loop”), supporting actor; Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci and Tony Roche (“In the Loop”), screenplay; Barry Ackroyd (“The Hurt Locker”), cinematography; Rick Carter and Robert Stromberg (“Avatar”), production design; Alexandre Desplat (“Fantastic Mr. Fox”), music score.

The Los Angeles Film Critics Assn.’s awards dinner will be held Jan. 16 at the InterContinental Hotel in Century City.

And the winners are:

PICTURE: “The Hurt Locker”
Runner-up: “Up in the Air”

DIRECTOR: Kathryn Bigelow, “The Hurt Locker”
Runner-up: Michael Haneke, “The White Ribbon”

ACTOR: Jeff Bridges, “Crazy Heart”
Runner-up: Colin Firth, “A Single Man”

ACTRESS: Yolande Moreau, “Séraphine”
Runner-up: Carey Mulligan, “An Education”

SUPPORTING ACTOR: Christoph Waltz, “Inglourious Basterds”
Runner-up: Peter Capaldi, “In the Loop”

SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Mo’Nique, “Precious”
Runner-up: Anna Kendrick, “Up in the Air”

SCREENPLAY: Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner, “Up in the Air”
Runner-up: Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci and Tony Roche, “In the Loop”

CINEMATOGRAPHY: Christian Berger, “The White Ribbon”
Runner-up: Barry Ackroyd, “The Hurt Locker”

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Philip Ivey, “District 9”
Runner-up: Rick Carter and Robert Stromberg, “Avatar”

BEST MUSIC SCORE: T-Bone Burnett and Stephen Bruton, “Crazy Heart”
Runner-up: Alexandre Desplat, “Fantastic Mr. Fox”

Runner-up: “The White Ribbon”

DOCUMENTARY/NON-FICTION FILM: “The Beaches of Agnès” and “The Cove” (tie)

ANIMATION: “Fantastic Mr. Fox”
Runner-up: “Up”


NEW GENERATION: Neill Blomkamp, “District 9”


Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Amanda Awards

    ‘Out Stealing Horses’ Tops Norway’s 2019 Amanda Awards

    HAUGESUND, Norway —  Hans Petter Moland’s sweeping literary adaptation “Out Stealing Horses” put in a dominant showing at Norway’s Amanda Awards on Saturday night, placing first with a collected five awards, including best Norwegian film. Celebrating its 35th edition this year, the Norwegian industry’s top film prize helped kick off the Haugesund Film Festival and [...]

  • Editorial use onlyMandatory Credit: Photo by

    Richard Williams, 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit' Animator, Dies at 86

    Renowned animator Richard Williams, best known for his work on “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” died Friday at his home in Bristol, England, Variety has confirmed. He was 86. Williams was a distinguished animator, director, producer, author and teacher whose work has garnered three Oscars and three BAFTA Awards. In addition to his groundbreaking work as [...]

  • Instinct

    Locarno Film Review: 'Instinct'

    Now that “Game of Thrones” has finally reached its conclusion, releasing its gifted international ensemble into the casting wilds, will Hollywood remember just what it has in Carice van Houten? It’s not that the statuesque Dutch thesp hasn’t been consistently employed since her startling 2006 breakout in Paul Verhoeven’s “Black Book,” or even that she’s [...]

  • Good Boys Movie

    Box Office: 'Good Boys' Eyes Best Original Comedy Opening of 2019

    Universal’s “Good Boys” is surpassing expectations as it heads toward an estimated $20.8 million opening weekend at the domestic box office following $8.3 million in Friday ticket sales. That’s well above earlier estimates which placed the film in the $12 million to $15 million range, marking the first R-rated comedy to open at No. 1 [...]

  • Pedro Costa’s 'Vitalina Varela' Wins at

    Pedro Costa’s 'Vitalina Varela' Triumphs at Locarno Film Festival

    The 72nd Locarno Film Festival drew to a close Saturday with Portuguese auteur Pedro Costa’s dark and detached film “Vitalina Varela” coming away with several awards together with superlatives from segments of the hardcore cinephile crowd, including jury president Catherine Breillat. In announcing the Golden Leopard prize for the film, as well as best actress [...]

  • Vitalina Varela

    Locarno Film Review: 'Vitalina Varela'

    Frequently beautiful compositions and the theatrical use of a fierce kind of artifice have long been the hallmarks of Portuguese auteur Pedro Costa, regarded by a small but influential group of aesthetes as one of the great filmmakers of our era. For those in tune with his vision, the director’s films offer an exciting lesson [...]

  • Notre dame

    Locarno Film Review: 'Notre dame'

    Not to be too cynical about it, but might the recent horrific fire in Paris’ cathedral attract audiences to a film in which the gothic gem plays a major role? It’s likely a wiser marketing strategy than promoting the unrelenting silliness of Valerie Donzelli’s oh-so-kooky comedy “Notre dame,” the writer-director-star’s return to contemporary Paris following [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content