The Oklahoma Film Critics Circle announced its fourth annual list of awards for achievement in film Dec. 22.
OFCC members are Oklahoma-based movie critics who write for print and online outlets that publish or post reviews of current film releases. Among the media outlets represented are The Oklahoman, The Tulsa World, Oklahoma Gazette, Edmond Life & Leisure, 411mania.com and others.
OFCC members named The Hurt Locker as the year's Best Film. Set in war-torn Iraq, the absorbing drama focuses on an elite group of soldiers tasked with disarming bombs. The woman who helmed The Hurt Locker, Kathryn Bigelow, is the film group's Best Director of 2009.
Rounding out the Oklahoma critics' 10 Best Films of 2009 list are (in order):
Up in the Air Inglourious Basterds (500) Days of Summer Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire A Serious Man Up District 9 Fantastic Mr. Fox Avatar
Top performance honors went to George Clooney as Best Actor for his portrayal of a high-flying hatchet man in Up in the Air. Best Actress honors went to Meryl Streep for her transformation into famed chef Julia Child in Julie & Julia. Mo'Nique earned the Best Supporting Actress spot as an abusive mother in Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire, while Christoph Waltz won Best Supporting Actor for his role as a sinister SS officer in Inglourious Basterds.
"This was a very good year for cinema, and we hope our awards encourage viewers to seek out these films we have honored," OFCC President Phil Bacharach said."One of our goals as a critics' group is to make Oklahomans aware of quality films that may not have the publicity budgets of major studio releases."
While 2009 was a strong year for well-crafted movies, it also saw its share of disappointments. OFCC members selected Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen as Obviously Worst Film of the Year. Their nod to Amelia as Not-So-Obviously Worst Film of the Year expresses their realization that some films fall far short of their sizable amibition.
"As professional moviegoers, we see many more unsuccessful films than successful ones," Bacharach said. "The Not-So-Obviously Worst Film category contains films that may have great talent behind them, but somehow add up to less than the sum of their parts."
Not all the films named as award winners opened in Oklahoma before voting took place; studios arranged press screenings and provided DVDs of many of their films so OFCC members could assess and consider them for year-end awards.
"We honor achievements in motion pictures each year both to celebrate film and to continue to draw attention to Oklahoma as a place with a sophisticated audience of people who appreciate films that challenge and entertain," Bacharach said.
OFCC promotes film in Oklahoma and strives to increase the visibility of the state's film-viewing and filmmaking communities. Oklahoma film critics see the majority of the studio and independent films of any given year and write hundreds of reviews of them as individuals.
The group's Web site allows member critics to link to their reviews on the sites of their various media outlets as well as to post original pieces on film. This year, several critics began Coming Soon to a TV Near You, a post that suggests movies to watch each week on the small screen.
Other 2009 Oklahoma Film Critics Circle awards:
Best Director: Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker Best First Feature: (tie) Neill Blomkamp, District 9 & Marc Webb, (500) Days of Summer Best Actress: Meryl Streep, Julie & Julia Best Actor: George Clooney, Up in the Air Best Supporting Actress: Mo'Nique, Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire Best Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds Best Screenplay (Original): Scott Neustadtler & Michael H. Weber, (500) Days of Summer Best Screenplay (Adaptation): Jason Reitman & Sheldon Turner, Up in the Air Best Documentary: Anvil! The Story of Anvil, dir. Sacha Gervasi Best Foreign Film: Coco Before Chanel, dir. Anne Fontaine Best Animated Film: Fantastic Mr. Fox, dir. Wes Anderson Obviously Worst Film: Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen Not-So-Obviously Worst Film: Amelia