The Los Angeles Film Critic's announced their 2009 Awards today and the choices were full of surprises.  Contrary to public opinion, the almost 35-year-old organization is actually more progressive than their New York counterparts and displayed some of that independent spirit in this year's honorees. 

The complete list of winners with analysis below.

PICTURE:
"The Hurt Locker"
Runner-up: "Up in the Air"

Reaction: Not that surprising, although it effectively kills "Locker's" chances to win the Best Picture OscarLAFCA and the Academy have not matched up since "Schindler's List" won in 1993.  That means Paramount is no doubt celebrating "Up in the Air" came in second.

DIRECTOR:
Kathryn Bigelow, "The Hurt Locker"
Runner-up: Michael Haneke, "The White Ribbon"

Reaction: Not understanding the Haneke love for the overrated "White Ribbon," but another deserved win for Bigelow.

ACTRESS:
Yolande Moreau, "Séraphine"
Runner-up: Carey Mulligan, "An Education"

Reaction: Having not seen "Seraphine" I'll abstain, but would have loved to hear the debate on this one.

ACTOR:
Jeff Bridges, "Crazy Heart"
Runner-up: Colin Firth, "A Single Man"

Reaction:  If Bridges can win New York Film Critics Circle tomorrow he may just be the frontrunner for Oscar.

ANIMATION:
"Fantastic Mr. Fox"
Runner-up: “Up"

Reaction: This is a bit of a shocker.  LAFCA voted "WALL-E" as Best Picture overall last year and to not give the superior "Up" the lesser animated award this time around?  Eek.  Must have been a lot of love for Wes Anderson in the room (they know he lives in Paris not LA, right?).

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM:

"Summer Hours"
Runner-up: "The White Ribbon"

Reaction: Haven't seen "Hours" yet, but those who have love. 


NEW GENERATION:
Neill Blomkamp, "District 9"

Reaction: One of two awards for the deserving "District 9."

MUSIC/SCORE:

T-Bone Burnett and Stephen Bruton, "Crazy Heart"
Runner-up: Alexandre Desplat, "Fantastic Mr. Fox"

Reaction: Two great winners.  Here's hoping Desplat wins the Oscar for Best Original Score.

PRODUCTION DESIGN:
Philip Ivey, "District 9"
Runner-up: Rick Carter and Robert Stromberg, "Avatar"

Reaction: Both are worthy recipients, but the achievement on "Avatar" is much more impressive than "District 9."   

CINEMATOGRAPHY:
Christian Berger, "The White Ribbon"
Runner-up: Barry Ackroyd, "The Hurt Locker"

Reaction: A bit perplexed. Black and white cinematography should not be rewarded just because no one does it anymore. "Ribbon's" look was not that impressive. Oh, well.  Can't argue with Ackroyd as runner up for "Locker" though.  This and Boston's award earlier today might be some nice momentum for his Oscar nod hopes.

SUPPORTING ACTRESS:

Mo'Nique, "Precious"
Runner-up: Anna Kendrick, "Up in the Air"

Reaction: Doesn't matter to me whether she believes in campaigning or not.  Mo'Nique hands down gave one of the best performances of the year and deserves every honor she gets.  Happy to see the love for the talented and classy Ms. Kendrick as well.


SUPPORTING ACTOR:
Christoph Waltz, "Inglourious Basterds"
Runner-up: Peter Capaldi, "In the Loop"

Reaction: No disagreement here. Happy to see Capaldi in the gem "In The Loop" get some recognition.  Hands down one of the best films of the year.


SCREENPLAY:
Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner, “Up in the Air”
Runner-up: Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci and Tony Roche, "In the Loop"

Reaction: Great to see more love for "Loop."  "Air" will make this pundit's top ten, but not sure it's the best screenplay of the year.  Still, the film's strength is in the writing and acting, so can't really fault it though.


DOCUMENTARY/NON-FICTION FILM:
"The Beaches of Agnès" and "The Cove" (tie)

 
DOUGLAS E. EDWARDS INDEPENDENT/EXPERIMENTAL FILM/VIDEO:


C.W. Winter and Anders Edstrom, "The Anchorage"


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