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Summit’s “The Hurt Locker,” the tale of a bomb-disposal unit in Iraq, beat out a field of 10 nominees to win the best picture prize at the Broadcast Film Critics Assn.’s 15th annual Critics’ Choice Awards.
Friday’s award further contributes to the momentum of the film, which has been championed by critics’ groups around the country as it heads into the Oscar battles.
“Hurt Locker” helmer Kathryn Bigelow earned a standing ovation earlier in the evening when she was named best director; her ex-husband and fellow nominee James Cameron was among those on their feet applauding. “It’s a wonderful to have this honor,” Bigelow said, “but the recognition should also go to the men and women who are still in the field until this day.”
Cameron’s “Avatar” didn’t win in the top categories, but it took home a leading six trophies — winning for best action movie, cinematography, art direction, editing, sound and visual effects.
When it came to best actress, the critics just couldn’t make up their minds: First, Meryl Streep’s name was announced for her turn in “Julie & Julia,” and then, as the result of a tie, Sandra Bullock also was handed a best actress prize for her role in “The Blind Side.”
The two performers made the most of their shared moment in the spotlight, kissing each other on the lips as they met onstage. “I’m really, really thrilled because I love what I do,” Streep said, “I love acting, and I love to work, and I love food and I love sex — and so did Julia Child.” An equally giddy Bullock, addressed part of her remarks to the critics: “I bet you never saw this coming,” she laughed, adding, “You may never again.”
Playing a down-on-his-luck country singer in proved a stroke of good fortune for “Crazy Heart” star Jeff Bridges, who went home with best actor honors.
There were no surprises in the supporting actor categories as Mo’Nique and Christoph Waltz have been critics’ darlings this awards season.
Mo’Nique was invited to the stage as the winner of best supporting actress for her performance as a monstrous mom in “Precious.” She made a point of thanking director Lee Daniels, calling him “one of the most brilliant and visionary directors of our time.”
Waltz was named best supporting actor for his role as a villainous, multilingual Nazi in “Inglourious Basterds.”
The evening kicked off with “Basterds” picking up the first award, for best acting ensemble. It also earned director Quentin Tarantino the prize for best original screenplay. He praised his actors, saying: “My material is not easy; it’s hard. I cannot have dumb actors do my dialogue.”
Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner’s “Up in the Air,” an adaptation of the novel by Walter Kirn, was named best adapted screenplay.
Kevin Bacon was honored with the group’s Joel Siegel Award, named after the late critic, which honors a performer who uses his or her celebrity to do good. The evening also included a tribute to writer-director John Hughes, who died in August.
Kristin Chenoweth served as the host of the ceremony, which was held at the Hollywood Palladium and broadcast by VH1.
The awards expanded this year from 17 to 25 categories, adding seven technical categories and separating its screenplay category into original and adapted slots.
The BFCA — which includes 199 TV, radio and online critics from the United States and Canada — bills itself as the largest film critics organization in the U.S. For the past three years, its best picture winner has foreshadowed the eventual best picture Oscar winner.
A complete list of winners is available on the next page.
The complete list of winners:
“The Hurt Locker”
Jeff Bridges, “Crazy Heart”
Meryl Streep, Julie & Julia
Sandra Bullock, “The Blind Side”
Cristoph Waltz, “Inglourious Basterds”
Saoirse Ronan, “The Lovely Bones”
Kathryn Bigelow, “The Hurt Locker”
Quentin Tarantino, “Inglourious Basterds”
Jason Reitman, Sheldon Turner, “Up in the Air”
“The Young Victoria”
Picture made for TV
“The Weary Kind,” Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett, from “Crazy Heart”
Michael Giacchino, “Up”
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