Bay Area film critics love ‘Hurt Locker’

Film critics across the country are naming “The Hurt Locker” the best movie of 2009.

The San Francisco Film Critics Circle, which includes 26 Bay Area critics, gave the movie its top honor earlier this week; the group also named Kathryn Bigelow, “The Hurt Locker” director, best of the year.

The wartime drama about a bomb-defusion unit in Iraq also earned honors from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and the American Film Institute, which named the independent production the year’s best drama.

The film also was nominated best picture in the Critics’ Choice Movie Awards — to be selected by broadcast film critics — as well as the Golden Globes, presented by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Both groups will present their awards in January.

Locally, San Francisco and Bay Area critics voted Colin Firth as best actor for his role as a gay English professor in “A Single Man,” while Meryl Streep earned best actress for playing Julia Child in “Julie & Julia.” For supporting actor, Christian McKay won for his role as Orson Welles in “Me and Orson Welles,” while Mo’Nique got nods for her performance as an abusive mother in “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire.”

The San Francisco Critics Circle gave its first award for best animated feature to “Coraline,” director Henry Selick’s dark fantasy, while Quentin Tarantino won best original screenplay for “Inglourious Basterds.”

Wes Anderson and Noah Baumbach got honors for best adapted screenplay for “Fantastic Mr. Fox.”

Roger Deakins won best cinematography for the Coen Brothers’ “A Serious Man.” “Anvil! The Story of Anvil” won best documentary.

Best foreign language film went to Sweden’s “You, the Living,” about the vagaries of life and death.

The Marlon Riggs Award, recognizing innovation, went to directors Frazer Bradshaw — for “Everything Strange and New” about working-class life in Oakland — and Barry Jenkins, for “Medicine for Melancholy,” about two black 20-somethings spending a day and night in San Francisco.

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