‘Hurt Locker’ Tops NY Film Critics Circle Awards

The New York Film Critics Circle gives Best Picture honors to Kathryn Bigelow’s “The Hurt Locker”

Last Updated: December 14, 2009 @ 5:47 PM

The New York Film Critics Circle has given its top award to Kathryn Bigelow’s “The Hurt Locker,” continuing that film’s near-dominance of critics’ awards.  

The NYFCC – which bills itself as “a principled alternative to the Oscars” and is perhaps the most respected critical organization in the country — threw its support behind the film that has already won most of the critics awards announced so far, including kudos from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and the Boston Society of Film Critics.

In the Best Actor and Actress categories, the winners were George Clooney for “Up in the Air" and "Fantastic Mr. Fox," and Meryl Streep for “Julie & Julia” – and, in the supporting categories, honors went to the two performers who have swept virtually every award so far, Christoph Waltz for “Inglourious Basterds” and Mo’Nique for “Precious.”

Bigelow won the Best Director award for “The Hurt Locker.”  She was previous honored by the L.A. Film Critics Association, the Boston Society of Film Critics, the Alliance of Women Film Journalists and the New York Film Critics Online.

Aside from the surprise choice of  the British comedy "In the Loop" for Best Screenplay, the awards were surprisingly mainstream for the NYCC, which often opts for films that have not been chosen by previous critics’ groups.  Armond White, chair of the organization, said the selection of “Hurt Locker” was not influenced by other honors it has won.  

“Each critic is a very individually-minded person," he said, "and what other organizations do means nothing to us.” Rather, he said, "The Hurt Locker" simply struck most voters as the year’s most accomplished film.

“Some years, the Best Picture and Best Director awards are split,” he added. “This year they went to the same film, which is confirmation that it’s an excellent piece of filmmaking.”

Asked if he hoped Oscar voters were paying attention to the results, White was blunt: “I don’t give a damn. The New York Film Critics started specifically as an alternative to the Oscars, and we don’t care what they do.”

The NYFCC has been voting on annual awards since 1935, with results that are often more adventurous that the Oscar winners.  (For instance, it chose "Mulholland Drive" over "A Beautiful Mind" in 2001.)  It currently  consists of fewer than three dozen critics from New York-based newspapers, magazines and websites.  

The NYFCC awards ceremony will be held on January 14.

The full list of winners:

Best Film: "The Hurt Locker" 

Best Director: Kathryn Bigelow for “The Hurt Locker”

Best Screenplay: "In the Loop"

Best Actress:  Meryl Streep  for “Julie & Julia”

Best Actor: George Clooney for “Up In The Air” and “Fantastic Mr. Fox”

Best Supporting Actress: Mo’Nique for “Precious”

Best Supporting Actor:  Christoph Waltz for “Inglourious Basterds

Best Cinematography: Christian Berger for “The White Ribbon”

Best Animated Film: "Fantastic Mr. Fox" 

Best Non-fiction Film: "Of Time and the City" 

Best Foreign Language Film: "Summer Hours"

Best First Feature:  "Hunger,"  director Steve McQueen

New York Film Critics Circle website.