D.C. critics fire the starting gun, ‘Up in the Air’ dominates

Posted by · 10:26 am · December 6th, 2009

(from left) George Clooney and Vera Farmiga in Up in the AirThe Washington, D.C. Area Film Critics Association has kicked off the critics’ kudos season with a most uninspired list of nominations.  I say uninspired because, aside from a random nomination for Maya Rudolph in the lead actress category, there doesn’t seem to be a single damn original bone in the group’s body.

“Up in the Air” led the way with 8 nominations and is pretty much on track to be the critics’ darling of the year, while “Precious” and “The Hurt Locker” each landed 7 each.  I imagine a similar tally will be attributed to those films when the Oscar nominees are announced.  Which raises the question: Are the D.C. critics trying to emulate AMPAS here?  I never follow them closely, not beyond the requisite announcement posts each year (I tend to get REALLY burned out on all the critics’ awards, frankly).

But seriously.  They had to see more than 33 films this year, right?  Because out of 70 possible nominees, that’s how many films were spread across the field.  Kind of sad, really.

Check out the full list of nominees after the jump.  And the group’s list of winners last year here.

Best Film
“The Hurt Locker”
“Inglourious Basterds”
“Up in the Air”

Best Director
Kathryn Bigelow, “The Hurt Locker”
Lee Daniels, “Precious”
Clint Eastwood, “Invictus”
Jason Reitman, “Up in the Air”
Quentin Tarantino, “Inglourious Basterds”

Best Actor
George Clooney, “Up in the Air”
Colin Firth, “A Single Man”
Morgan Freeman, “Invictus”
Viggo MOrtensen, “The Road”
Jeremy Renner, “The Hurt Locker”

Best Actress
Sandra Bullock, “The Blind Side”
Carey Mulligan, “An Education”
Maya Rudolph, “Away We Go”
Gabourey Sidibe, “Precious”
Meryl Streep, “Julie & Julia”

Best Supporting Actor
Woody Harrelson, “The Messenger”
Anthony Mackie, “The Hurt Locker”
Alfred Molina, “An Education”
Stanley Tucci, “The Lovely Bones”
Christoph Waltz, “Inglourious Basterds”

Best Supporting Actress
Vera Farmiga, “Up in the Air”
Anna Kendrick, “Up in the Air”
Mo’Nique, “Precious”
Julianne Moore, “A Single Man”
Samantha Morton, “The Messenger”

Best Adapted Screenplay
“The Blind Side”
“An Education”
“The Road”
“Up in the Air”

Best Original Screenplay
“(500) Days of Summer”
“The Hurt Locker”
“Inglourious Basterds”
“A Serious Man”

Best Breakthrough Performance
Anna Kendrick, “Up in the Air”
Christian McKay, “Me and Orson Welles”
Carey Mulligan, “An Education”
Jeremy Renner, The HUrt Locker”
Gabourey Sidibe, “Precious”

Best Animated Film
“Fantastic Mr. Fox”

Best Foreign Film
“Broken Embraces”
“Red Cliff”
“Sin Nombre”
“Summer Hours”
“The White Ribbon”

Best Documentary
“Anvil! The Story of Anvil”
“Capitalism: A Love Story”
“The Cove”
“Food, Inc.”
“Good Hair”

Best Art Direction
“The Lovely Bones”
“Star Trek”
“Where the Wild Things Are”
“The Young Victoria”

→ 37 Comments Tags: , , , , , , | Filed in: Daily

37 responses so far

  • 1 12-06-2009 at 10:37 am

    Matt King said...

    The screenplay nomination for “Blind Side” is surprising. At least to me. And I’m quite happy with the nomination of Maya Rudolph, but yeah, just as you said it’s a pretty dull list of nominations.

  • 2 12-06-2009 at 10:37 am

    red_wine said...

    This is an epic fail and if any Washington critics are reading this, boo to you. This is precisely the reason that awards like this are so disposable and why LA, NY & NSFC are so valuable.

    We fault the guilds for whoring it for the Oscars, what about these lesser ‘critics’ groups. Jeez, they seem to have read the predictions of any Oscar site, made one or 2 chances and then announced them.

    This insatiable need for conformity frustrates me to no end. Is it like Slumdog all over again? All these lesser ‘critics’ groups are gonna award Up In The Air again and again it seems ad nauseum.

  • 3 12-06-2009 at 10:40 am

    tintin said...

    Go UP!!!!!!!

  • 4 12-06-2009 at 10:41 am

    Julian Stark said...

    I’m not just saying this because I live in the area eligible for the D.C. Film Critics, but it’s not completely uninspired. I mean, who was predicting The Blind Side as an Adapted Screenplay nominee? And hasn’t The Road lost almost all of its buzz?

    Other than that and the Maya Rudolph mention (love her; HATE that movie), it’s not the most original thing this awards season

    And btw, I think that their Director lineup will match the Oscar line-up, save for Daniels. I think Cameron can (and will) take his spot

  • 5 12-06-2009 at 10:46 am

    curtis said...

    Cameron will not take Daniels spot. Trust. WOM form Avartar is that it is a good not great film. so unless Avartar get the kind of reviews that Precious, Up In The Air and The Huirt Locker is getting, james is out.

    Right now Up In The Air, Precious and The Hurtlocker are 100% locks.

  • 6 12-06-2009 at 10:52 am

    JR said...

    I have been hearing that Avartar is like this years King Kong. Great FX but childlike plot and story. Atleast that is what Jeffrey wells said and alot of people on twitter

    I agree that Precious, Up in the Air and Hurrt locker are locks. Nine and The Lovely bones are not looking good at all. Invictus is still not safe as well

  • 7 12-06-2009 at 10:55 am

    DDT said...

    Second that tintn.
    Up go fuckin up!

  • 8 12-06-2009 at 10:59 am

    tintin said...

    And Up? is a lock?

  • 9 12-06-2009 at 11:00 am

    A.J said...

    I really wonder how Avatar will shake this race up. Still 4 days before it screens. Love the Star Trek and Up mentions.

  • 10 12-06-2009 at 11:01 am

    Halolover said...

    All Ups looks like locks now.

  • 11 12-06-2009 at 11:02 am

    Tomcats said...

    This is what best Director will look like

    Best Director
    Kathryn Bigelow, “The Hurt Locker”
    Lee Daniels, “Precious”
    Clint Eastwood, “Invictus”
    Jason Reitman, “Up in the Air

    But who will get the 5th slot

    The Lovely bones and Nine are very meh. Avartar seems to be more of an FX movie then great story telling.

  • 12 12-06-2009 at 11:05 am

    Bachelor said...

    These look like oscar nods to me. Up In The Air, Precious and The Hurt Locker are all locks in the major areas. Invictuse miht be soon. Nine and TLB are falling fast

  • 13 12-06-2009 at 11:10 am

    Romeo Must Live said...

    I love these prediction. Who would have thought a year ago that the 3 major locks of the eyar would be the The Hurt Locker, Up In The Air, and Precious and not The Lovely Bones, Shutter Island and Nine. Very Happy to see 3 film with outstanding reviews getting love and not film with just hype.

  • 14 12-06-2009 at 11:10 am

    Benito Delicias said...

    I’m sorry but I don’t get the need to call every group that dares give out awards similar to what is predicted for Oscars “an awards group that is trying to emulate AMPAS…” or unoriginal or uninspired choices…

    Maybe they should’ve gone with White Ribbon and A Prophet, that way they can be cool, inspired and original.

    If those five are the expected choices to be the best films of the year (and they are!) why can’t they consider them too and name them their own top 5?

    What’s worse is that if they dare snub Precious, Up in the Air, Up or The Hurt Locker, then people will go after them with the “_____ was snubbed”…and would also consider them to mean nothing and be a “lesser” critics group.

    Everybody is calling NBR ridiculous for not mentioning Precious in their Top10….had they mentioned it, then it would’ve been even closer to the expected Academy’s top10 which would’ve meant calling NBR AMPAS whores trying to copy them…

    I don’t understand these ridiculous comments, when NSFC, NY and LA announce it’ll probably come off that list too….but I bet nobody will call them unoriginal, uninspired or emulators…..they’re the respected ones…

    Do you seriously believe that if the big groups had nominees instead of just winners and runner ups it wouldn’t look this way too? Or at least extremely close?

  • 15 12-06-2009 at 11:22 am

    Georgie said...

    Really like the Maya Rudolph nomination. And their Best Film five.

  • 16 12-06-2009 at 11:26 am

    the expert said...

    Boring nominations.

  • 17 12-06-2009 at 11:31 am

    Chris said...

    @Benito Delicias: It’s simply that if you look at the Best Actor line-up for instance, you would expect that a critics’ group would go for somebody like Sam Rockwell, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ben Whishaw or Matt Damon, or still someone else from an even smaller film. But what they do is dish up five of the six serious remaining contenders for the five slots at the Oscars. I’d say it’s fair to call those uninspired choices.

  • 18 12-06-2009 at 11:31 am

    Domination? said...

    Actually, “Up in the Air” has one less possible win than “precious” or “Hurt Locker.” Think about it. Best supporting actresses will cancel each other out. That means the other two films are actually leading with likely wins.

  • 19 12-06-2009 at 11:32 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    All this “I’ve been hearing” re: an elementary script for Avatar, as if that buzz didn’t start right here with Anne’s thoughts from an HFPA member.

    Come on, people. Let the thing breathe. One person said something that isn’t a surprise in the first place. James Cameron wrote a simplistic narrative and built a grand scale film around it. Nothing new.

  • 20 12-06-2009 at 11:34 am

    red_wine said...

    @ Benito: Lets look at last year. LA chose Wall-E, NSFC chose Waltz With Bashir. 2 out of those 3 picked Mike Leigh for Best Director. 3 out of 3 picked Sally Hawkins for Best Actress. NSFC picked Eddie Marsan for supp actor. Zero overlap with the Oscars. And all better choices than what AMPAS picked(imho).

    And I think there’s actually a pretty great chance that NSFC’s gonna pick The White Ribbon! Thats way cool I think.

    What the other groups are doing are simply voting for buzzed titles on auto-pilot. I’m not saying its wrong, some of these titles are very worthy(The Hurt Locker) but the the singular personality of vision of these awards is severely compromised. Guy wrote a superb column about that, you must read that. And I also say this from experience. In the past when I finally saw all the movies, I preferred their choices more. They have awarded such titles as Mulholland, Far From Heaven, American Splendor, Pan’s Labyrinth none of which came close to best picture nominations.

  • 21 12-06-2009 at 11:49 am

    Ivan said...

    It makes me extremely happy to see Up getting the recognition it deserves.

  • 22 12-06-2009 at 11:54 am

    Chris138 said...

    I live in the DC metropolitan area and was pretty underwhelmed by the nominees, especially the stuff for The Blind Side. I am glad to see The Hurt Locker’s multiple mentions, though.

  • 23 12-06-2009 at 11:55 am

    Nel said...

    Viggo Mortenson – The Road
    Woody Harrelson, “The Messenger”
    Anthony Mackie, “The Hurt Locker”
    Vera Farmiga, “Up in the Air” – so under rated!!

    Especially pleased over Christian McKay – new comer

    Negatives …Er…no Jeff Bridges …Tilda )o; and no The Prophet for best foreign film (now that really confuses me!)

  • 24 12-06-2009 at 12:02 pm

    Joel said...

    Um, boring. Yeah. That’s the word. I’m liking the “Star Trek,” “Up,” and “(500) Days of Summer” mentions, but my God, all the love for “The Blind Side” just kills me. What is it with that movie??

    And “9” for Animated Film? I could replace that with every other freaking animated movie this year, mostly “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.”

    Meh, more hits than misses, but the misses are blatant.

  • 25 12-06-2009 at 12:05 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    What’s with the random category for Best Art Direction, with no other technical awards? Does anyone else find that odd?

    Anyway, critics’ awards really shouldn’t bother with nominees — not least when they’re as insignificant as the DC group.

  • 26 12-06-2009 at 12:19 pm

    Melissa said...

    Viggo Mortenson – The Road
    Woody Harrelson, “The Messenger”
    Anthony Mackie, “The Hurt Locker”
    Vera Farmiga, “Up in the Air” – so under rated!!


    So unoriginal wow, aside from Harrelson who else is nominating them????

    Sorry I don’t see your point.

  • 27 12-06-2009 at 12:26 pm

    Zac Oldenburg said...

    Doesn’t Eastwood’s ridiculous use of crowd shots and 3-4 of continuous minutes of slow-mo instantly discount him as best director? Or the fact that he can’t shoot rugby and make it interesting in a movie around rugby?

  • 28 12-06-2009 at 12:41 pm

    Loyal said...

    I’m not convinced they even saw The Lovely Bones or Nine before voting. Those look like throwaway nominations.

  • 29 12-06-2009 at 12:43 pm

    Nel said...

    @ Melissa – no point really – it was a rather underwhelming list so I picked my personal faves out of the list and queried what I perceived to be serious omissions.

  • 30 12-06-2009 at 12:46 pm

    Me. said...

    I’m guessing “Up”, “Inglourious Basterds”, “The Hurt Locker”, The “Precious” bitch and especially “Up in the Air” are close to becoming locks for Best Picture. Also “Invictus”.

    I’m worried about “Nine” and “The Lovely Bones”, my most anticipated films this year. Probably the Golden Globes and the PGA will help them?

  • 31 12-06-2009 at 2:07 pm

    tintin said...

    i´m worried too…

  • 32 12-06-2009 at 2:12 pm

    Maxim said...

    “They had to see more than 33 films this year, right? Because out of 70 possible nominees, that’s how many films were spread across the field. Kind of sad, really.”

    Hardly sad considering that they STILL nominated 33 different movies and good movies tend to do well in multiple categories.

  • 33 12-06-2009 at 2:20 pm

    AmericanRequiem said...

    This sure bodes well for Inglourious Basterds, its looking better and better by the day

  • 34 12-06-2009 at 2:47 pm

    lovespike said...

    It seems to me that some people discount the selection of a particular critic’s group when they disapprove with their picks but is that really fair? What would you have them do nominate the movies tha you deemed the best? then someone else would deem them obsolete. I vehemently disagree with some of the NBR picks, that doesn’t mean they are any more or less credible.

  • 35 12-06-2009 at 3:27 pm

    Speaking English said...

    Excellent group, even though the D.C. critics hardly mean anything. Lots of surprises and great picks in there. Looking forward to LA/NY!

  • 36 12-06-2009 at 4:30 pm

    Sean said...

    and here are the winners:
    Best Actor
    George Clooney, Up in the Air

    Best Actress
    Carey Mulligan, An Education

    Best Supporting Actor
    Christoph Waltz | Inglourious Basterds

    Best Supporting Actress
    Mo’Nique | Precious

    Best Director
    Kathryn Bigelow | The Hurt Locker

    Best Screenplay, Adapted
    Up in the Air | Paramount

    Best Screenplay, Original
    Inglourious Basterds | Weinstein Company

    Best Film
    Up in the Air | Paramount

    Best Breakthrough Performance
    Gabourey Sidibe | Precious

    Best Ensemble
    The Hurt Locker | Summit Entertainment

    Best Animated Film
    Up | Walt Disney

    Best Foreign Film
    Sin Nombre | Focus Features

    Best Art Direction
    Nine | The Weinstein Company

    Best Documentary
    Food, Inc. | Magnolia

    courtesy of Eclipe Magazine

  • 37 12-07-2009 at 10:48 am

    mark said...

    Is there were the Bullock as best actress talk gets serious,you say that you think bullock isn’t getting in but she is your top 5 in the side bar.