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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