- The Washington Times - Monday, December 7, 2009

The Washington Area Film Critics Association announced its winners for the best in film for 2009 on Sunday evening.

Jason Reitman’s “Up in the Air” was the big winner, taking home best film, adapted screenplay and actor for George Clooney’s performance as a layoff artist looking for a little more in life. WAFCA joins the National Board of Review in awarding “Up in the Air” top honors.

Mr. Reitman himself, however, was passed over for the best director nod: That award went to Kathryn Bigelow for her direction of the action-packed thriller “The Hurt Locker.” Miss Bigelow has received more and more Oscar buzz as the season progresses; she would be the first female ever to win the Academy Award for direction if she did take home a trophy at next year’s ceremony.

The acting awards all went to performers picking up serious momentum in the Oscar race: In addition to Mr. Clooney, Baltimore native Mo’Nique won best supporting actress for her portrayal of an abusive mother in “Precious,” and youngster Carey Mulligan picked up an award for her role in “An Education.” Christoph Waltz won for his ice-blooded Nazi in “Inglourious Basterds.”

Mr. Waltz wasn’t the only winner from Quentin Tarantino’s World War II opus. Mr. Tarantino’s script took home best original screenplay.

In another unsurprising move, Pixar’s “Up” — the story of an elderly man who takes his house on a journey to South America — won best animated feature. “Up” is expected to join “Wall*E” as Pixar’s second straight consecutive feature to take home best animated feature.

Other winners included “Sin Nombre,” for best foreign language feature, “The Hurt Locker” for best ensemble cast and “Nine” for best art direction.

WAFCA is made up of Washington-area film critics, including The Washington Times’ Kelly Jane Torrance and Sonny Bunch.

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