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'Hurt Locker' wins over National Film Critics

The Iraq war drama captures three of the society's top honors, including best picture, director (Kathyrn Bigelow) and actor (Jeremy Renner). Yolande Moreau takes best actress for 'Séraphine.'

January 04, 2010|By Susan King

The gritty Iraq war drama "The Hurt Locker" continues its winning ways. After earning best film honors last month from the Los Angeles Film Critics Assn. and the New York Film Critics Circle, the independent drama was named best picture of 2009 on Sunday by the National Society of Film Critics.

The critically acclaimed drama also earned a best director award for Kathryn Bigelow and best actor for Jeremy Renner. Bigelow also won best director from the L.A. and New York film groups.

"Hurt Locker," which has earned $12.7 million at the domestic box office, is also a contender for the Golden Globe and Critics Choice awards for best film and director. Renner and the ensemble are also up for the Screen Actors Guild awards.

Yolande Moreau was named best actress for "Séraphine," a French biographical drama about painter Séraphine de Senlis. Moreau previously received honors from the LAFCA as well as a Cesar for her performance.

Best supporting actor went to Christoph Waltz for "Inglourious Basterds," and supporting actress went to Mo'Nique for "Precious." Both performers have won numerous critical honors and are nominated for Golden Globe, SAG and Critics Choice awards.

The voting took place Sunday at the venerable Sardi's restaurant in New York -- 46 out of the 64 members voted using a weighted ballot system.

France's "Summer Hours" won best foreign language film. Agnès Varda's "The Beaches of Agnès" was named best nonfiction film.

Screenplay honors went to Joel and Ethan Coen for "A Serious Man." Christian Berger was singled out for his black-and-white cinematography for "The White Ribbon," and Nelson Lowry won best production design for the animated film "The Fantastic Mr. Fox."

Notably missing from the list of winners were such acclaimed films as "Up in the Air," "Avatar," "Invictus" and "Up."

The group, founded in 1966, is notoriously esoteric in its selections. Last year's best picture winner was the Israeli animated documentary "Waltz With Bashir." The last time the group and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences agreed on a best film was in 2004, for "Million Dollar Baby."

Several Heritage Awards were also given out Sunday: for the restoration of "Rashomon" by the Academy Film Archive, the National Film Center of the National Museum of Modern Art and Kadokawa Pictures Inc.; Bruce Posner for the restoration of "Manhatta"; "Treasures from the Film Archives, Vol. 4: Avant Garde 1947-1986" (National Film Preservation Foundation); Warner Archive Collection; UCLA Film & Television Archive for its restoration of "The Red Shoes"; and Kino International "Avant-Garde Volume 3 (Experimental Cinema 1922-1954)"

There is no awards ceremony. Scrolls will be sent to the winners.

susan.king@latimes.com

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