The gripping Iraq war drama "The Hurt Locker" is shaping up to be this year's critics' darling.
After being named best film Sunday by the Los Angeles Film Critics Assn., the independent production was selected Monday morning as the best of 2009 by the New York Film Critics Circle. Kathryn Bigelow, another LAFCA choice, was also named best director by the New York critics for the ensemble drama.
"The Hurt Locker" was also named one of the 10 best films of the year Sunday by the American Film Institute and earned eight nominations Monday for the Broadcast Film Critics Assn.'s Critics' Choice Movie Awards, including best picture and director. Two weeks ago, "The Hurt Locker" won the Gotham Independent Film Award for best film.
"The Hurt Locker" should also have a major presence today in the Golden Globes nominations.
The New York Critics Circle picked George Clooney as best actor for his performance as a corporate downsizer who begins to question his isolated life in "Up in the Air," as well as for his comedic vocal turn as the fast-talking title character in the animated "Fantastic Mr. Fox."
Meryl Streep earned best actress for her portrayal of legendary chef Julia Child in "Julie & Julia."
Christoph Waltz, who danced away with the LAFCA best supporting actor prize for "Inglourious Basterds," was also New York's selection. NYFCC and LAFCA selected Mo'Nique as best supporting actress for "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire."
The NYFCC, like LAFCA, gave best cinematography honors to Christian Berger for "The White Ribbon," best animated film to "Fantastic Mr. Fox" and best foreign-language film to "Summer Hours."
Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci and Tony Roche won best screenplay for "In the Loop." "Of Time and the City" was named best nonfiction film. Best first feature honors went to Steve McQueen for "Hunger." A special award was announced for Andrew Sarris "for his contribution to film criticism."
The annual award presentation takes place Jan. 11 at the Crimson in New York's Flatiron District.
'Nine' earns 10 nods
"Inglourious Basterds" and "Nine" earned the most nominations Monday morning for the 15th annual Critics' Choice Movie Awards, receiving a record 10 nominations each.
Quentin Tarantino's World War II epic received nominations for best picture, best supporting actor for Waltz, best ensemble, best director for Tarantino, best original screenplay, best cinematography, best art direction, best editing, best costume design and best action movie.
The musical "Nine," directed by Rob Marshall, received nominations for best picture, best supporting actress for Marion Cotillard, best ensemble, best cinematography, best art direction, best editing, best costume design, best makeup, best sound and best song.
Joining "Basterds" and "Nine" in the best picture category are "Avatar," "An Education," "The Hurt Locker," "Invictus," "Precious," "A Serious Man," "Up" and "Up in the Air."
The 15th annual Critics' Choice Movie Awards will be held Jan. 15 at the Hollywood Palladium. VH1 will broadcast the event live (tape delayed for the West Coast).
For a complete list of nominess, go to theenvelope.com.