The San Francisco Film Critics Circle awards, which are like our local Academy Awards but with much less Billy Crystal, were announced today. And the winners are... P.T. Anderson and Joaquin Phoenix for The Master, local filmmaker Peter Nicks for his behind-the-scenes documentary The Waiting Room about the Oakland Highland Hospital's emergency room, and Kathryn Bigelow for her work killing Osama Bin Laden a second time in Zero Dark Thirty.
For his booze-soaked return to beardlessness in "The Master" Phoenix took home the local critics association's Best Actor honor. Likewise, Director P.T. Anderson took home the Best Picture prize for the film which many thought would be a more scathing takedown of religion and Scientology in particular.
On the local front: Peter Nicks' widely acclaimed portrait of a 24-hour period in Oakland's overworked Highlands Hospital emergency room was the critics' choice for Best Documentary. Nicks himself was also honored for "courage and innovation in the world of cinema" with the Marlon Riggs award.
For her "grueling" work directing Zero Dark Thirty, Kathryn Bigelow — the first lady to ever bring home the Oscar for Best Director, took home another Best Director prize.
In the acting prizes Tommy Lee Jones' turn as Thaddeus Stevens in the lengthy, talkative "Lincoln" netted him a supporting actor award. That film's playwright-turned-screenwriter Tony Kushner won for best adapted screenplay. Helen Hunt was named best supporting actress for her role as a sex surrogate in The Sessions. French film Amour, which we confess we did not get around to seeing yet, won the award for best foreign language film as well as a Best Actress award for leading lady Emmanuelle Riva.
Retro-hip crush of the year: Moonrise Kingdom took home the award for best production design and feelgood Street Ballet-Mashup-Jam Session Girl Walk // All Day won a special citation for just generally being awesome.