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Gold Derby nuggets: 'Up in the Air' wins with D.C. critics | Kennedy Center kudos | 'Race' results poor, say critics

December 8, 2009 | 10:17 am

Up in the Air poster • "Up in the Air" won best picture from the D.C. area film critics, and George Clooney was named best actor on Sunday. Best actress went to Carey Mulligan ("An Education"), while Christoph Waltz ("Inglourious Basterds") and Mo'nigue ("Precious") took the supporting awards. "The Hurt Locker" won for both director Kathryn Bigelow and ensemble performance, and "Precious" leading lady Gabby Sidibe won for her "breakthrough performance." WAFCA

• Carey Mulligan also won the best actress gong at the 12th annual British Independent Film Awards in London on Sunday. "Moon" took the top award, and helmer Duncan Jones picked up the debut director prize. Tom Hardy ("Bronson") won best actor, while Andrea Arnold was named best director for "Fish Tank." BIFA

Jeff Bridges will be honored by the 21st edition of the Palm Springs film fest on Jan. 5. Says fest chair Harold Matzner, "Jeff Bridges' career is the very embodiment of the Desert Palm Achievement Award, which was created to acknowledge acting excellence, and years of consistent and memorable work. This year, in his remarkable performance in 'Crazy Heart,' he once again shows us why he is considered one of America’s greatest actors." Previous recipients include Daniel Day-Lewis, Sean Penn, Jake Gyllenhaal, Liam Neeson, Nicolas Cage, John Travolta and James Stewart. PSIFF

DeNiro Springsteen Kennedy Center • This weekend, the Kennedy Center feted five performers at the 32st edition of its honors: nineteen-time Grammy winner Bruce Springsteen, two-time Oscar acting champ Robert De Niro, grand slam awards winner Mel Brooks, jazz musician Dave Brubeck and opera diva Grace Bumbry. The five were toasted at the White House on Sunday before a salute to their achievements in the performing arts at the Kennedy Center. The kudo-cast will air on CBS on Dec. 29. Last year's edition won the long-running TV staple a fifth Emmy for outstanding variety special. KENNEDY CENTER

Janice Kaplan chats with "Invictus" director Clint Eastwood and stars Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon. Among the tasty tidbits is this exchange: "It’s fun working with young Matt," says Eastwood, 79, clearly the revered elder in the group. “He’s great and does a terrific job. I’d look at him often and think, 'I wonder if I was that good when I was his age.’" He pauses for a moment, reflective. “Chances are I wasn’t. But it was fun to be vicarious and think, 'Yes, that’s a role I might have done.’ "  PARADE

Pete Hammond argues that the academy should create a fifth acting award to recognize the achievements of those appearing in motion-capture pictures, like Jim Carrey in "A Christmas Carol," as well as doing traditional voice-overs. As Pete writes, "Consider the work of Edward Asner in 'Up' or of the ensemble cast in 'Fantastic Mr. Fox' that includes Meryl Streep, Bill Murray, Willem Dafoe and particularly George Clooney delivering one of the best performances of his career. SAG has qualified 'Fox' for its outstanding cast award." NOTES ON A SEASON

Race Playbill CoverDavid Ng recaps the rialto reviews for the just-opened David Mamet play "Race" -- starring James Spader, David Alan Grier and Kerry Washington as lawyers hired to represent a white client (Richard Thomas) accused of raping a black woman -- and says that "there was more than a whiff of disappointment in the air." As David notes, "Not many living playwrights have the clout to launch a new play directly on Broadway. The laws of theater economics are too unforgiving for producers to risk millions on an untested product. Most playwrights don't have the brand-name recognition that would draw large audiences. But then, David Mamet isn't most playwrights." CULTURE MONSTER

Dame Helen Mirren dishes to Tim Walker that she has banished her growing collection of awards from the main part of her house. As she explains, "I used to have them out but now I have put them away. Those awards are quite serious but I have had so many funny ones over the years. I won Best Actress at the Rio Film Festival which doesn’t exist any more so it’s probably a collector’s item. But now I have put them in the attic to be discovered after I’m gone." DAILY TELEGRAPH

Photos: "Up in the Air" poster (Paramount); Kennedy Center honorees (CBS); "Race" playbill (Ethel Barrymore Theater)

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