Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Milk, Happy-Go-Lucky top NYC critics awards

On the heels of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, which on Monday selected WALL-E as the best film of 2008, the New York Film Critics Circle met this morning and came up with their set of winners, achieving consensus in some areas (mostly performances) and going in another direction on others. Both camps agreed that Sally Hawkins' spirited work in Happy-Go-Lucky merited the Best Actress prize—perhaps boosting the actress' chances in an Oscar category that will no doubt be dominated by bigger names—and both tapped Penelope Cruz for her supporting role as a passionate, liberated, yet deeply unstable artist in Woody Allen's Vicky Cristina Barcelona and Sean Penn's galvanizing title performance in Milk. They also agreed that Man On Wire, James Marsh's riveting portrait of Philippe Petit, the man who tightroped across the Twin Towers in 1974, was the year's best documentary.

The NYFCC gave Best Picture to Gus Van Sant's Milk and a supporting actor award to Josh Brolin's tortured portrait of Milk's colleague (and eventual assassin) Dan White. In light of Prop 8, it's a little ironic that East Coast critics would choose to honor the biopic while their California counterparts went in a different direction; then again, it's always possible that a plurality of L.A. critics simply liked WALL-E more. In perhaps the biggest surprise, the New Yorkers gave Best Director to Mike Leigh for Happy-Go-Lucky, which until now had been acknowledged mostly for Hawkins' tour de force. The complete list of winners:

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Best Picture: Milk
Best Director: Mike Leigh, Happy-Go-Lucky
Best Actress: Sally Hawkins, Happy-Go-Lucky
Best Actor: Sean Penn, Milk
Best Supporting Actor: Josh Brolin, Milk
Best Supporting Actress: Penelope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Best First Film: Courtney Hunt's Frozen River (ed. note: Ballast wuz robbed!)
Best Foreign Film: 4 Months, 3 Weeks And 2 Days
Best Documentary: Man On Wire
Best Cinematographer: Anthony Dod Mantle, Slumdog Millionaire
Best Animated Film: WALL-E