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<p>Kathryn Bigelow on set directing &quot;The Hurt Locker.&quot;</p>

Kathryn Bigelow on set directing "The Hurt Locker."

Credit: Summit Entertainment

New York Film Critics name 'Hurt Locker' Best Picture

Bigelow wins Best Director again and George Clooney wins Best Actor

"The Hurt Locker" is turning into the little film that could.  At least with critics that is. 

Kathryn Bigelow's impressive war thriller has now won both Best Picture awards from the nation's most prestigious critics groups, the Los Angeles Film Critics and the New York Film Critic's Circle. Not an easy feat. The only film to match that accomplishment this decade is "Brokeback Mountain" and only five since 1990 ("Mountain," "Schindler's List," "Leaving Las Vegas," "L.A. Confidential" and "Saving Private Ryan").  Additionally, Mo'Nique, Christoph Waltz and Meryl Streep's wins are cementing their status as frontrunners for Oscar in their respective categories.

The complete winners list and analysis for the 2009 New York Film Critics’ Circle Awards:

Best Film:
The Hurt Locker

Reaction: This was a tad unexpected.  Not many would have guessed that both the LA and NY critics would go for "Hurt."  This was probably the one chance "A Serious Man" had at major critical recognition and even "Up in the Air" was believed to have a shot here.  Nope.

Best Director:
Kathryn Bigelow for “The Hurt Locker”

Reaction: "Up in the Air" may be the "movie of the moment," but Bigelow winning the Oscar for Best Director is increasingly becoming "the award of the moment."  It's time and deserved.

Best Screenplay:
"“In the Loop”

Reaction: As a good friend of mine would remark, "happy, happy, joy, joy."  Any recognition "Loop" continues to receive is A-OK in this pundit's book.

Best Actress:
Meryl Streep for “Julie & Julia”

Reaction: The trend everyone will soon be talking about.  Could Streep finally be on her way to Oscar No. 3?


Best Actor:

George Clooney for “Up In The Air” and “Fantastic Mr. Fox”

Reaction:  Can't really fault this win considering how fantastic, no pun intended, Clooney was in "Fox" as well as "Air."  It seems as though its going to be a two-man race between Clooney and Jeff Bridges for the Best Actor Oscar.  SAG may tell the tale.

Best Supporting Actress:
Mo’Nique for “Precious”

Reaction: If she wins the Globe this may become the biggest lock of Oscar night.


Best Supporting Actor:
Christoph Waltz for “Inglourious Basterds”

Reaction: If he wins Globe and SAG this may be the second biggest lock of Oscar night.

Best Cinematography:
Christian Berger for “The White Ribbon”

Reaction: As someone who studied cinematography in film school I'm still not understanding the love for Berger's work here.

Best Animated Film:
“Fantastic Mr. Fox”

Reaction:  How unhappy is John Lassiter today after "Up" loses both premier critics group awards? Very.


Best Non-fiction Film:

“Of Time and the City”

Reaction: Haven't seen it, but somewhat unexpected.

Best Foreign Language Film:

“Summer Hours”

Reaction: Another trend.  Also, a film few have seen outside the cineaste.

Best First Feature:

“Hunger,”  director Steve McQueen

Reaction: Nice recognition for the British newcomer.

Special Award -To Andrew Sarris for his contribution to film criticism
News

Reaction: Got to give the love to one of your own.  

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<p>&nbsp;'Modern Family'</p>

 'Modern Family'

Credit: ABC

Golden Globe nominations may bring a changing of the comedy guard

Will the Globes make room for 'Glee,' 'Modern Family,' 'Nurse Jackie' and more?
The nominations for the 2010 Golden Globes will be announced on Tuesday (Dec. 15) morning. They'll be announced aggressively bright-and-early and the entire HitFix team will be up and atom, as Radioactive Man would say.
 
For my colleague Greg, the Golden Globe nominations are a key piece of the pre-Oscar season and they'll allow him to calibrate his nomination predictions with a specificity that he didn't have previously. The Golden Globes don't necessarily predict the Oscars, but as roadblocks along the way go, they'll important.
 
On the TV side, the Golden Globes are less important. They're nine months from the Emmys and therefore, they don't usually predict or prefigure much of anything. The Globe voters have their specific proclivities when it comes to voting, so you can usually assume that just because a Keri Russell or a Jennifer Garner or an Anna Paquin won a Globe won't necessarily mean that they should make a place on their mantle for an Emmy.
 
But that doesn't mean that the Golden Globes aren't fun in their own way, as we look to see which shows from the second half of the year appear to have momentum.
 
On the drama side, there are fewer options for new faces. Will the Globes recognize "The Good Wife"? Star Julianna Margulies seems plausible. But what else might sneak in? Might "Sons of Anarchy" get its first real awards recognition? Unlikely, but possible. Might "FlashForward" or "V" get a couple nominations? Probably not, but they'll be in the mix. Will the Golden Globes go "True Blood" crazy and nominate supporting actors and all sorts of random bloodsucking stars? Nobody would be surprised.
 
The excitement will come in the comedy categories, which shows us just how far we've come since two or three years ago when reporters at the Television Critics Association press tour all seemed to be writing the same Comedy Is Dead trend pieces.
 
Since the last Golden Globes ceremony, the number of newly eligible comedies-of-pedigree may be at an all-time high. Sure to get nominations are "Nurse Jackie" and "Glee," plus "The United States of Tara," which was already eligible at Emmy time and won a trophy for star Toni Collette. Those are three easy and obvious powerhouses, but what about "Modern Family" and "Community," the two most adored comedies of the fall? What about "The Middle" and "Cougar Town," two comedies whose stars -- Patricia Heaton and Courteney Cox -- should never be ruled out of any awards discussion? What about "Parks and Recreation," which went from a spring disappointment to possibly the best comedy on network TV in the fall? And what about comedies like "Party Down" and "Better Off Ted" and even HBO's "Hung," which may lack the mainstream adoration, but could certainly have powerful pockets of support within the tiny Hollywood Foreign Press?
 
If the Globes nominate two or three of these new comedies, what will happen to old stalwarts like "Weeds"? And while only some viewers would lament a well-deserved shunning for "Entourage," might this influx prove an obstacle for "Curb Your Enthusiasm," which delivered one of its very best seasons and, in my opinion, deserves to make its way back into the field more than several of the new shows deserve that first exposure. Might these new shows stop the awards momentum of a "How I Met Your Mother," coming off its first Outstanding Comedy Emmy nomination? Might the new shows be fresher and shinier than "The Big Bang Theory," probably TV's hottest comedy of the moment?
 
With an impressive number of these comedies sporting female leads, the Lead Actress in a Comedy Series race may be positioned to surpass Lead Actor in a Drama as the most competitive. Collette and "Nurse Jackie" star Edie Falco can count on nominations, but is Lea Michele the "Glee" lead? Can Amy Poehler break in for "Parks and Recreation"? And will all of these fresh faces force out an America Ferrera? Or even a Mary-Louise Parker? There's only so much room.
 
Because the Golden Globes stupidly combine comedy, drama and movie/mini supporting performers into single categories, we may not be able to judge the supporting might of the "Glee" cast or whether Chevy Chase is an Emmy favorite for "Community" or even which members of "Modern Family" are being considered leads and which are supporting. This is a piece of idiocy the Globes may want to reconsider if they want to remain relevant as bellwethers in the future.
 
In any case, take a look at my Golden Globes nomination contender overview. And check back tomorrow when HitFix covers the heck out of the Golden Globe nominations.
 
 

2010 Golden Globe TV Nomination Contenders. 

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<p>Justin Timberlake will help present the 2010 Golden Globe Award nominations Tuesday morning.</p>

Justin Timberlake will help present the 2010 Golden Globe Award nominations Tuesday morning.

Credit: AP Photo

Oscar Watch: Justin Timberlake will wake up early for the Golden Globes

Plus: Rain affects Academy screenings of 'Nine' and 'Invictus'

 

The nominations for the 67th Annual Golden Globes are less than a day away and the HFPA has announced which three stars will rise up to reveal this year's contenders.  And what a pretty trio they are. 

Justin Timberlake, John Krasinkski and Diane Kruger will all be bright eyed and peppy to announce the nominations from the Beverly Hilton beginning at 8 AM ET, 5 PM PT on the morning show or news network of your choice. None of the three have been Golden Globe nominees in the past, but that won't stop them from giving some love to the HFPA in hopes of future returns.

For music superstar Timberlake it's the sort of publicity appearance that makes you wonder "Is he really serious about not doing a new album anytime soon?"  Timberlake is currently playing Sean Parker, the founder of Napster, in David Fincher's new drama about the founding of Facebook, "The Social Network." Considering how much time he's given to his acting career the past few years, could he be contemplating focusing entirely on his thespian efforts?  If he takes any time to talk to the press on Tuesday morning, we'll try and find out.

Look for comprehensive Golden Globe Nominations coverage beginning at 8 AM ET/ 5 PM PT Tuesday on HitFix. 

The 67th Annual Golden Globe Awards themselves will be hosted by Ricky Gervais and broadcast live coast to coast Sunday, January 17 on NBC (5 to 8 pm PT, 8 to 11 pm ET) from - wait for it -- The Beverly Hilton.

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<p>&nbsp;Michael C. Hall of 'Dexter'</p>

 Michael C. Hall of 'Dexter'

Credit: Showtime

'Dexter' finale delivers a shocker

The Showtime drama's fourth season ender is, as promised, a game-changer
Various people associated with "Dexter" have been promising for weeks that this season's finale would be a "game-changer." 
 
Having just finished Sunday's (Dec. 13) episode, I guess I can't help but agree, not in the sense that it was necessarily a spectacular episode before the final few minutes, but in the sense that a lot of consideration will have to be given to where "Dexter" goes in its fifth season. Some finales give you a mighty clear impression of the challenges that are going to central to the next run of episodes, but I don't instantly know what the next move will be for "Dexter."
 
I hope the writers know, because it's either going to be very interesting or very confusingly finessed. 
 
[I want to get into spoilers here, so I'm gonna toss the break in early. Don't click through or read through if you don't want to have the Shocking Game-Changer spoiled...]
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<p>The human side of the &quot;Avatar&quot;&nbsp;equation with Sam Worthington and Sigourney Weaver.</p>

The human side of the "Avatar" equation with Sam Worthington and Sigourney Weaver.

Credit: 20th Century Fox

'Avatar' wins Best Picture from New York Film Critics...Online

Is anyone really surprised?

No one is more of a surprise fan of James Cameron's "Avatar" than this prognosticator, but the New York Film Critics Online organization did themselves no favors by voting the film Best Picture today for their year end awards.  On the other hand, their choices for some of the other major categories and honoring "In the Loop" for Best Ensemble show increasingly good taste.

A complete list of winners below.

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<p>&quot;The Hangover&quot;&nbsp;was recognized as one of the top ten films of the year by the American Film Institute. Who knew? Certainly not the cast when they were shooting it.</p>

"The Hangover" was recognized as one of the top ten films of the year by the American Film Institute. Who knew? Certainly not the cast when they were shooting it.

Credit: Warner Bros.

'The Hangover,' 'Up in the Air,' 'Precious' make AFI Top Ten of 2009

'Hurt Locker,' 'Coraline' also in the mix

 

The American Film Institute announced it's top ten films for 2009 today.  The surprises included the inclusion of one of the year's biggest comedies, two animated features and a few indies that may or may not receive awards recognition elsewhere.

The full list of winners:

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<p>&nbsp;Sarah Michelle Gellar of 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer'</p>

 Sarah Michelle Gellar of 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer'

TV's Best of the Decade: No. 19 -- 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer'

Good episodes abound, but 'The Body' and 'Once More, With Feeling' put 'Buffy' over the top
Between The WB and UPN, "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" aired 77 episodes in the Aughts, compared to 67 episodes in the '90s and yet I'm sitting here at my computer lamenting over one episode.
 
On December 15, 1999, "Buffy" aired its final episode of that year and its final episode of that decade. That episode just happened to have been "Hush," the experimental hour that earned Joss Whedon his only Emmy nomination for the series and which most fans would probably place among the show's five or 10 best episodes.
 
So, with that, "Hush" can't be factored into my ranking of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" for the decade. And with "Hush" taken out of the equation, "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" went from a position just on the outskirts of the Top 10 to, at one point, in danger of missing out entirely. 
 
After going through episodes individually (not rewatching, but refreshing my own memories of which episodes fell into the second half of the show's run), I had no trouble justifying placing "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" at No. 19 on my list of TV's Best of the Decade.
 
Acknowledging that there will be some disagreements here, let's talk more after the break...
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<p>Jeremey Renner in &quot;The Hurt Locker.&quot;</p>

Jeremey Renner in "The Hurt Locker."

Credit: Summit Entertainment

'Hurt Locker' wins Best Picture from Los Angeles Film Critics

Jeff Bridges wins Best Actor and 'Fantastic Mr. Fox' beats 'Up' for Best Animated Film

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.

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<p>Christoph Waltz in Quentin Tarantino's &quot;Inglourious Basterds.&quot;</p>

Christoph Waltz in Quentin Tarantino's "Inglourious Basterds."

Credit: Weinstein Company

'Inglourious Basterds' takes first honors from LA Film Critics

Complete list of LAFCA 2009 winners as it happens

 

Arguably the second most prestigious critics group in the country, the Los Angeles Film Critics announced the first half of their 2009 award recipients this afternoon.  Commentary and the complete list of winners by 2:30 PM PST.

First Announcement:

MUSIC/SCORE:

T-Bone Burnett and Stephen Bruton, "Crazy Heart"

Runner-up: Alexandre Desplat, "Fantastic Mr. Fox"

Reaction: Two great winners.  Here's hoping this begins a strong campaign for Desplat to win 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 body of work for "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"


 As the season heats up, look for breaking awards season news and commentary daily on Awards Campaign.  For the latest, follow @HitFixGregory on Twitter.

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<p>Guy Pearce in Kathryn Bigelow's acclaimed drama &quot;The Hurt Locker.&quot;</p>

Guy Pearce in Kathryn Bigelow's acclaimed drama "The Hurt Locker."

Credit: Summit Entertainment

'Hurt Locker' dominates Boston Film Critics Awards

But, 'Star Trek' and 'District 9' gets some love too

Oscar underdog "The Hurt Locker" dominated this year's Boston Society of Film Critic's year ends awards winning Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Editing and Best Cinematography. 

Not as surprising, Mo'Nique and Christoph Waltz pulled out wins in the Best Supporting categories for "Precious" and "Inglourious Basterds" respectively.  Some pleasant surprises included "Star Trek" tying "Precious" for Best Ensemble and "District 9's" Neill Blomkamp winning for Best New Filmmaker.  Strangely, critic's favorites "An Education" and "Up in the Air" were shut out for the honors.

A full list of the winners are below.

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<p>Taylor Lautner as Marianne in a soon to be infamous &quot;Team Edward/Team Jacob&quot; skit.</p>

Taylor Lautner as Marianne in a soon to be infamous "Team Edward/Team Jacob" skit.

Credit: NBC

Recap: 'Saturday Night Live' - Taylor Lautner goes Team Edward and Tiger Woods dominates

Plus: Lautner shows off some mad sword and karate skills (really)

Taylor Lautner's hosting of "Saturday Night Live" has all the "Twilight" fans in a flutter and may foster one of the highest rated shows of the year.  Who knew Lorne Michaels could be so timely?  Will Lautner be able to show some acting and comedy skills that have been missing from his big screen work so far?  Does it really matter for his legion of fans out there? Let's find out...

Intro

A trio of scandal plagued politicians; South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford (Sudeikis) Nevada Senator John Ensign (Bill Hader), former Presidential candidate John Edwards (Will Forte ) hold a press conference to criticize the "orgy of media attention" to the Tiger Woods mess. Here are some choice bits:

Sanford: "This is excessive and lurid and it has completely overshadowed of our own extramarital affairs."
Edwards: "I had a love child!"
Sanford: "When I went to visit my mistress I had a really preposterous story about the Appalachian trail."
Ensign: "My girlfriend was married."
Edwards: "Again, I had a love child!"
Sanford: "My wife just filed for divorce, but you'd never know it by the media's coverage."
Ensign: "I played hush money."
Edwards: "Maybe I wasn't clear, I had a love child. An illegitimate bastard love child. Don't you people care?"
Sanford: "But Tiger had a huge number of girlfriends."
"Why this clear double standard. Perhaps racial?"

(After Ensign lists Tiger's ethnic heritage Sanford Edwards corrects him.)
Edwards: "No, he's not Puerto Rican, you're thinking about A-Rod." (Huge laugh from the mostly New York crowd.)

The skit basically ends with the trio saying their own scandals would have had to been astronomically worse to hit the Tiger level.

Grade: B-.  Good idea, but where was the punch line?  Was missing something to knock it out of the park.

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<p>&nbsp;The stars of '30 Rock'</p>

 The stars of '30 Rock'

Credit: NBC`

TV's Best of the Decade: No. 20 -- '30 Rock'

How nice of NBC to give Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin so much fodder for mockery
In the lead-up to the fall of 2006, many articles were written about the strangeness of NBC's fall lineup including both Tina Fey's "30 Rock" and Aaron Sorkin's "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip."
 
Yes, that was a simpler time when NBC's *oddest* programming decision was dedicating 90 minutes of programming to a pair of shows about the behind-the-scenes struggles at a "Saturday Night Live"-style sketch comedy show. 
 
Now, in retrospect, critics were right to wonder if an audience existed for two such shows. It turns out that, all things considered, there wasn't actually an audience for *one* such show to survive on a stronger network. "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" lasted one truncated season, while "30 Rock" is in its fourth season, occupying valuable post-"Office" real estate because NBC execs are terrified to see how small its audience might be solo. 
 
What we didn't properly anticipate was that Sorkin's drama would become an awkwardly confessional (sometimes fulfilling) piece of fast-talking therapy, alienating many viewers almost instantly, squandering the good will for an excellent cast. Or that Fey's comedy would find its footing after initial recasting and tone problems to become one of TV's funniest shows and the winner of the decade's last three Emmys for Outstanding Comedy Series.
 
Victim of wild quality swings -- this current fourth season launched with a trio of soft, only-slightly-funny episodes -- "30 Rock" none-the-less has delivered enough episodes of the highest quality to justify placement at No. 20 on my list of TV's Best of the Decade.
 
[More on "30 Rock" after the break...]
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