S.F. Film Critics Circle votes “Milk” best picture of 2008

“Milk” wins four awards from SF Film Critics Circle

“Milk,” the story of gay rights activist Harvey Milk, won four awards including Best Picture of 2008 in Monday’s balloting by the San Francisco Film Critics Circle.

The biopic about the first openly gay man voted into a major U.S. public office also earned Best Director for Gus Van Sant, Best Original Screenplay for Dustin Lance Black and Best Actor for Sean Penn – who tied for that honor with Mickey Rourke, the lead in “The Wrestler.”

The San Francisco Film Critics Circle (SFFCC), which includes 23 Bay Area film critics, voted Sally Hawkins, the perpetually cheery lead in “Happy-Go-Lucky,” as Best Actress.

Supporting honors when to the late Heath Ledger for his role as the Joker in “The Dark Knight” and to Marisa Tomei, an Oscar winner for “My Cousin Vinny,” for playing an exotic dancer involved with the title character in “The Wrestler.”

Peter Morgan won Best Adapted Screenplay for adapting his his hit play “Frost/Nixon.” The Best Cinematography award went to Wally Pfister for his groundbreaking work on “The Dark Knight.”

The San Francisco critics picked “My Winnipeg,” Guy Maddin’s “docu-fantasia” about his hometown and the nature of memory, as the year’s Best Documentary.

The award for Best Foreign Language Picture went to Tomas Alfredson’s “Let the Right One In” (“Låt den rätte komma in”), a combination Swedish vampire film and coming-of-age story.

The group gave its Marlon Riggs Award, honoring a Bay Area filmmaker or individual who represents courage and innovation in the world of cinema, to filmmaker Rob Nilsson. The award recognizes Nilsson’s distinctive series 9@NIGHT, nine thematically connected films produced independently in San Francisco Bay Area communities.

The San Francisco Film Critics Circle (SFFCC), founded in 2002, is comprised of film critics from Bay Area publications. Its members include Jeffrey Anderson (CombustibleCelluloid.com), Jeanne Aufmuth (Palo Alto Weekly), Barry Caine (Oakland Tribune/Contra Costa Times), Peter Canavese (GrouchoReviews.com), Andrea Chase (Killer Movie Reviews.com), Cheryl Eddy (SF Bay Guardian), Michael Fox (J-The Jewish News Weekly of Northern California), Susan Gerhard (SF360), Pam Grady (FilmStew.com), Peter Hartlaub (San Francisco Chronicle), Dennis Harvey (Variety), Johnny Ray Huston (SF Bay Guardian), Jonathan Kiefer (Sacramento News and Review), Mick LaSalle (San Francisco Chronicle), Carla Meyer (Sacramento Bee), Mary Pols (Alliance of Women Film Journalists), Tim Sika (CelluloidDreams.net), Michael Snyder (Sirius Satellite Radio), Ruthe Stein (San Francisco
Chronicle), Jan Wahl (KCBS AM & FM), Jason Walsh (Pacific Sun), Kelly Vance (East Bay Express)
and Richard Von Busack (Metro Newspapers).

The full list of winners for the 2008 San Francisco Film Critics Circle Awards:

Best Picture

“Milk”

Best Director

Gus Van Sant, “Milk”

Best Original Screenplay

Dustin Lance Black, “Milk”

Best Adapted Screenplay

Peter Morgan, “Frost/Nixon”

Best Actor

TIE: Sean Penn, “Milk”/Mickey Rourke, “The Wrestler”

Best Actress

Sally Hawkins, “Happy-Go-Lucky”

Best Supporting Actor

Heath Ledger, “The Dark Knight”

Best Supporting Actress

Marisa Tomei, “The Wrestler”

Best Foreign Language Film

“Let the Right One In”

Best Documentary

“My Winnipeg”

Best Cinematography

Wally Pfister, “The Dark Knight”

Marlon Riggs Award for courage & vision in the Bay Area film community

Rob Nilsson, filmmaker, in recognition of his “9@NIGHT” series of films.

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