A Report From The Houston Film Critics Awards

Last Saturday at the Museum of Fine Arts' Brown Auditorium, the Houston Film Critics Society (of which yours truly is a member) held its third annual awards ceremony. It was a star-studded affair, if you consider the presence of one star sufficient to use the term.

Here's a list of the winners:
Best Picture -- The Hurt Locker
Best Director -- Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker
Best Actor -- George Clooney, Up in the Air
Best Actress -- Carey Mulligan, An Education
Best Supporting Actor -- Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds
Best Supporting Actress -- Anna Kendrick, Up in the Air
Best Screenplay -- Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner, Up in the Air
Best Animated Film -- Up
Best Cinematography -- Barry Ackroyd, The Hurt Locker
Best Documentary -- The Cove
Best Foreign Film -- Sin Nombre
Best Original Score -- Michael Giacchino, Up
Best Original Song -- "Petey's Song" by Jarvis Cocker, Wes Anderson & Noah Baumbach, Fantastic Mr. Fox

Considering some of the other finalists were Precious and (500) Days of Summer, I'm pretty happy with how Best Picture turned out, and with most of the major categories. I personally didn't feel the same amount of love for Up in the Air others did, but at least nothing was as embarrassing as picking The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, which was the BP winner last year.

Pixar actually had stiff(er) competition for Animated Film this year, but I assume Coraline and Fantastic Mr. Fox split the vote.

Neither The Cove nor Sin Nombre were my first choices for Doc or Foreign Film, but they're still perfectly respectable. And while I was really pulling for the Patterson Hood song from That Evening Sun, at least the horrific "Colorblind" (from Invictus) didn't win.

The HFCS also presented some special awards. Patrick Swayze received our first Lifetime Achievement Award (well, he didn't actually physically receive it, of course), and man was it gratifying to see clips of Red Dawn and Road House on the big screen again.

Margaret Stratton received the Outstanding Achievement in Cinema Award for her decades of work as a publicist and promotions person for local theaters, and actor G.W. Bailey was given the Humanitarian Award for his work with the Sunshine Kids. There was a funny moment during his speech when he said he assumed, upon being notified about the award, that he was finally being honored for his work in the Police Academy movies.

So think about checking out the ceremony next year. It's open to the public, and it'll give you a chance to see what lousy public speakers most of us who write for a living are.

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Peter Vonder Haar writes movie reviews for the Houston Press and the occasional book. The first three novels in the "Clarke & Clarke Mysteries" - Lucky Town, Point Blank, and Empty Sky - are out now.
Contact: Pete Vonder Haar