“Rango” wins award from San Francisco film critics

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Picking up steam with movie reviewers, the loopy and textured Western adventure Rango was named Best Animated Film on Sunday by the San Francisco Film Critics Circle.

The Paramount-distributed feature has won awards from critics’ groups in Washington and Los Angeles, as well as the National Board of Review.

The SFFCC named The Tree of Life the Best Picture of 2011, while naming its prime mover, Terrence Malick, as Best Director and its lenser, Emmanuel Lubezki, as Best Cinematographer.

Gary Oldman spirited away with Best Actor honors for playing retiring — if not retired — spy George Smiley in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, and the Circle bestowed its Best Actress award on Tilda Swinton, the beleaguered mother of a bad seed in We Need to Talk About Kevin. Best Supporting Actress went to Vanessa Redgrave as Shakespeare’s fiercely protective Volumnia in Coriolanus, and Best Supporting Actor to Albert Brooks for his change-of-pace work as a volatile gangster in Drive.

The San Francisco Film Critics Circle, which includes 31 Bay Area film critics, met at the Variety Club Screening Room to discuss the merits of nominees and determine a slate of the year’s best achievements in film.

Among these were Best Foreign Language Film Certified Copy, Abbas Kiarostami’s thought-provoking, emotionally wrenching examination of relationships, art, and existence; and Best Documentary Tabloid, Errol Morris’ unique take on a stranger-than-fiction tale that must be seen to be disbelieved.

The group honored J.C. Chandor for his original screenplay Margin Call, and Bridget O’Connor and Peter Straughan for adapting John le Carré’s novel Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. A Special Citation singled out The Mill and the Cross — Lech Majewski’s distinctly original exploration of the inspiration for and creation of a Breugel painting — as an under-the-radar title deserving of attention.

The annual Marlon Riggs Award, honoring courage and innovation in the world of cinema, goes to the San Francisco-based National Film Preservation Foundation for its work in the preservation and dissemination of endangered, culturally significant films.

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