On the heels of the Golden Globe nominations comes the Toronto Film Critics Association (TFCA) awards for the best in film of 2009. Tied for Best Picture are Quentin Tarantino’s WWII Nazi revenge film Inglourious Basterds, and Hunger, Steve McQueen’s dreary film about the 1981 hunger strike at Ireland’s Maze prison. Kathryn Bigelow’s Iraq war film The Hurt Locker was named runner-up while Bigelow herself won the Best Director award (Tarantino and McQueen were runners-up and McQueen received the award for Best First Feature). In another tie, Inglourious Basterds was deadlocked with Jason Reitman’s adapted script for Up in the Air in the Best Screenplay category.
In the acting categories Nicolas Cage wowed the group with his portrayal of a drug-addicted police Lieutenant in Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans and was garnered Best Actor for his work, and Carey Mulligan’s highly acclaimed role in An Education earned her the Best Actress title. Up in the Air‘s Anna Kendrick got the votes for Best Supporting Actress and Basterds‘ Christoph Waltz took the award for Best Supporting Actor.
I called Fantastic Mr. Fox the best animated film of the year in my review and it seems that the TFCA agrees, naming it the Best Animated Feature. The dolphin documentary The Cove deservedly won the Allan King Documentary Award, and Best Foreign-Language Film went to the Austrian-German film The White Ribbon (opening in Toronto January 15).
The Necessities of Life, Polytechnique, and Bruce McDonald’s Pontypool are competing for the Rogers Best Canadian Feature Award which carries a $10,000 cash prize and will be given out by iconic director David Cronenberg at the awards ceremony on January 12. Mark Peranson, editor and publisher of Cinema Scope magazine, will receive the Clyde Gilmour Award for advancing the appreciation of film, and the newly-formed Jay Scott Award (named after the influential Globe and Mail critic and worth $5,000 to the winner) will be announced at the dinner as well.
The TFCA was formed in 1997 and is comprised of Toronto-based critics and film journalists from all major daily and weekly newspapers, as well as a variety of other print and electronic outlets. Members have sat on critic juries at the Cannes, Venice and Toronto film festivals, and also participate in the International Federation of International Film Critics (FIPRESCI). For a film to be eligible for the 2009 TFCA awards, it had to be released in Canada within the year or has to qualify for the 2009 Oscars and have a release date in Canada no later than the end of February 2010. The awards were selected by an online vote conducted by TFCA members.
Full list of winners and runners-up below.
BEST PICTURE: Hunger, Inglourious Basterds (tie)
The Hurt Locker
BEST PERFORMANCE, MALE: Nicolas Cage, The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans
George Clooney, Up in the Air
Michael Fassbender, Hunger
Colin Firth, A Single Man
Viggo Mortensen, The Road
BEST PERFORMANCE, FEMALE: Carey Mulligan, An Education
Arta Dobroshi, Le Silence de Lorna
Meryl Streep, Julie & Julia
BEST SUPPORTING PERFORMANCE, MALE: Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds
Christian McKay, Me & Orson Welles
Timothy Olyphant, A Perfect Getaway
BEST SUPPORTING PERFORMANCE, FEMALE: Anna Kendrick, Up in the Air
Vera Farmiga, Up in the Air
Mo’nique, Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire
BEST DIRECTOR: Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker
Steve McQueen, Hunger
Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds
BEST SCREENPLAY: Inglourious Basterds, written by Quentin Tarantino and Up in the Air, written by Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner based on the novel by Walter Kirn (tie)
A Serious Man, written by Joel Coen and Ethan Coen
BEST FIRST FEATURE: Hunger, directed by Steve McQueen
District 9, directed by Neill Blomkamp
(500) Days of Summer, directed by Marc Webb
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE: Fantastic Mr. Fox
BEST FOREIGN-LANGUAGE FILM: The White Ribbon
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: The Cove
Anvil! The Story of Anvil
The Beaches of Agnes
For more information on the Toronto Film Critics Association visit torontofilmcritics.com.
Top image: Michael Fassbender in Hunger. Courtesy Maple Pictures.