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'Wall-E,' Sean Penn and Sally Hawkins win Los Angeles Film Critics Assn. Awards

December 9, 2008 |  2:52 pm

Instead of following its recent art-house tilt, the Los Angeles Film Critics Assn. resorted to its old preference for big popcorn pix when naming the best film of 2008: "Wall-E."

In recent years the Los Angeles Film Critics Assn. favored more esoteric fare ("There Will Be Blood," "Letters From Iwo Jima," "Brokeback Mountain," "Sideways"). In its early days, however, the Hollywood-based critics weren't so snooty, often opting for "E.T." and "Star Wars." Now the question: Will the lift "Wall-E" gets from the L.A. critics help it to become the second animated feature nominated for best pic at the Oscars? The constant snubs caused the academy to create a special category just for animated features in 1991.

Most of LAFCA best-picture choices get nominated for the equivalent top prize at the Academy Awards — with some notable exceptions ("About Schmidt," "American Splendor" over the last decade). Only one animated film has ever been nominated for the top Oscar: "Beauty and the Beast" (1991).

To underscore LAFCA's hunger for popcorn this year, the runner-up to "Wall-E" for best picture was "The Dark Knight." Read more at LAFCA website. Other top prizes:


Best director: Danny Boyle, "Slumdog Millionaire"
Runner-up: Christopher Nolan, "The Dark Knight"

Best actress: Sally Hawkins, "Happy-Go-Lucky"
Runner-up: Melissa Leo, "Frozen River"

Best actor: Sean Penn, "Milk"
Runner-up: Mickey Rourke, "The Wrestler"

Best screenplay: Mike Leigh, "Happy-Go-Lucky"
Runner-up: Charlie Kaufman, "Synecdoche, New York"

Best supporting actress: Penelope Cruz, "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" and "Elegy"
Runner-up: Viola Davis, "Doubt"

Best supporting actor: Heath Ledger, "The Dark Knight"
Runner-up: Eddie Marsan, "Happy-Go-Lucky"

Best foreign-language film: "Still Life"
Runner-up: "The Class"

Best documentary: "Man on Wire"
Runner-up: "Waltz With Bashir"

Best animation: "Waltz With Bashir"

Production design: Mark Friedberg, "Synecdoche, New York"
Runner-up: Nathan Crowley, "The Dark Knight"

Music score: A.R. Rahman, "Slumdog Millionaire"
Runner-up: Alexandre Desplat, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"

Cinematography: Yu Lik Wai, "Still Life"
Runner-up: Anthony Dod Mantle, "Slumdog Millionaire"

New generation: Steve McQueen, "Hunger

Career Achievement: John Calley