Critics' choose The Hurt Locker' as best picture

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Iraq war drama The Hurt Locker and its director took top honors at the Critics Choice Awards, while Quentin Tarantino s Inglourious Basterds and James Cameron s Avatar won the most awards.

Director-producer Kathryn Bigelow was named best director at Friday s ceremony for Locker, winner of the best picture prize.

Accepting the best picture award, screenwriter-producer Mark Boal said the award belongs to Bigelow for her singular vision, for her endless inspiration and for never taking no as an answer.

Bigelow had thanked Boal when she accepted the director s honor, saying, I stand here really because of one man, and that s Mark Boal.

It s wonderful to have this honor, she continued, but the recognition should also go to the men and women who are in the field to this day.

Crazy Heart was a double winner, with Jeff Bridges claiming the best actor prize for his turn as hard-drinking country singer Bad Blake. The film s theme, The Weary Kind, won for best song.

Up won a pair of prizes, too: Best animated feature and best score.

Nine, which came into the contest tied with Basterds with a leading 10 nominations, ended up winless.

The Basterds cast was the critics pick for best ensemble. The film s villain, Christoph Waltz, was named best supporting actor and Tarantino won for his original screenplay.

There s really only one group of people to thank, Tarantino said, and that s the actors who actually took it from the printed page and put it up on the screen. My material is not easy. It s hard. I cannot have dumb actors do my material.

Avatar was named best action movie and it collected a heap of technical awards, including honors for cinematography, editing, art direction, sound and visual effects.

There were actually two winners in the actress category, with Meryl Streep and Sandra Bullock tying for the honor.

Streep said she loved playing Julia Child in Julie & Julia.

I m really, really thrilled because I really love what I do, she said. I love to work, and I love food and I love sex. And so did Julia Child. So it wasn t that much of a stretch.

Bullock, who won for her performance in The Blind Side, said she hadn t prepared a speech, but she used her time at the microphone to honor her fellow actresses and call for compassion for people who are suffering.

We re all so lucky to be here tonight when so many others are in pain, she said. I hope we can all send good love and thoughts and whatever we can.

Jason Reitman, who won best adapted screenplay for Up in the Air with co-writer Sheldon Turner, thanked his father, filmmaker Ivan Reitman, calling him one of the best storytellers I know and … the person who taught me everything.

I m so proud I made this film with you, Dad, he said.

Other honors went to Mo Nique, who was named best supporting actress for her visceral portrayal of an abusive mother in Precious ; Saoirse Ronan, who won best young actress for her work in The Lovely Bones ; and The Hangover, which was voted best comedy.

District 9 won for best makeup, Grey Gardens was best TV movie and The Cove was named best documentary.

Winners are chosen by members of the Broadcast Film Critics Association, the largest such group in North America comprising 200 TV, radio and online film critics. -AP

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