Chicago critics name “Rango” Best Animated Feature

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The Chicago Film Critics Association declared the trippy comedy Rango on Monday to be the best animated feature of 2011.

Rango won out over challengers The Adventures of Tintin, Arthur Christmas, Puss In Boots and Winnie the Pooh.

After years of speculation and delays, The Tree of Life, Terrence Malick’s long-awaited film that took viewers from the beginning of time to 1950s Texas, proved to be worth the wait, according to the association. The CFCA gave Tree of Life four awards, including Best Picture, Director, Supporting Actress for newcomer Jessica Chastain and Cinematography for Emmanuel Lubezki.

The violent neo-noir Drive won Supporting Actor for comedian Albert Brooks for his change-of-pace turn as a ruthless crime boss, and Original Score for composer Cliff Martinez. With two wins, Drive tied with Martha Marcy May Marlene, the moody indie drama about a young woman haunted by her experiences with a cult. Star Elizabeth Olsen won Most Promising Performer. Director Sean Durkin received the Most Promising Filmmaker award.

Michael Shannon was named Best Actor for his performance as a man tormented by visions of the possible apocalypse in the drama Take Shelter. Michelle Williams won the Best Actress award for her stunning turn as Marilyn Monroe in My Week with Marilyn.

The Artist, the black and white silent comedy from France about an actor unwilling to make the transition to talkies, won Original Screenplay for Michel Hazanavicius. Screenwriters Steve Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin won the Adapted Screenplay prize for Moneyball. (This marks Sorkin’s second consecutive victory in his category. He won last year for The Social Network.)

The Iranian drama A Separation won Foreign-Language Film. The Interrupters, the powerful film following a group of people trying to stamp out violence in Chicago’s most violent neighborhoods, won Best Documentary.

The CFCA will hand out honorary awards to some well-known recipients to celebrate their contributions to cinema.

Legendary actress Shirley MacLaine will receive the Commitment to the Craft Award. James Earl Jones will be presented with the Oscar Michaeux Award. The Commitment to Chicago goes to beloved character actor Dennis Farina. The Big Shoulders Award will be given to Chicago’s comedy institution Second City. Finally, the newly created Commedia Extraordinaire Award, to acknowledge work in the often overlooked field of screen comedy, will be given to Jason Segel for his past achievements and for his efforts to bring the Muppets back to the big screen.

The awards ceremony is scheduled for 6 p.m. Saturday, January 7 at Chicago’s Broadway Playhouse, 175 East Chestnut St. Tickets are now on sale and can be purchased through Ticketmaster at

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