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'Avatar' sweeps Saturn Awards with 10 wins

June 25, 2010 |  9:32 am

Avatar Poster "Avatar" trounced the competition at Thursday's Saturn Awards, winning all 10 of its bids, including best sci-fi film, the four acting prizes for leads Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana and supporting players Stephen Lang and Sigourney Weaver, and two trophies for writer-director James Cameron. Cameron, who already held the record with six previous wins, also was feted with the Visionary Award.

This 36th annual edition of the awards honored films across four genres, with the other top films being "Watchmen" (fantasy), "Drag Me to Hell" (horror) and "Inglourious Basterds" (action/adventure/thriller). Though there are four best film awards, the other categories cull nominees from all the genres.

"Sherlock Holmes" was blanked despite eight nominations. One seven-time nominee, "Watchmen," also won costumes and DVD while another, "Inglourious Basterds," had to settle for just that top film award. Both "District 9" and "Star Trek" were kept to just one win in six races: best international film and makeup, respectively.

This was the fifth victory for Cameron in the best director race. Among those he edged out were Kathryn Bigelow ("The Hurt Locker"), who beat him at the Academy Awards, and fellow Oscar nominee Quentin Tarantino ("Inglourious Basterds").

Worthington won best actor with his first bid, besting "Sherlock Holmes" star Robert Downey Jr., who took this prize last year for "Iron Man" and in 1993 for "Heart and Souls"; "Brothers" leading man Tobey Maguire, who won in 2004 for "Spider-Man 2"; previous four-time runner-up Viggo Mortensen ("The Road"); and another rookie nominee, Denzel Washington ("The Book of Eli").

Saldana edged out two other first-time nominees — Melanie Laurent ("Inglourious Basterds") and Alison Lohman ("Drag Me to Hell") — as well as "Brothers" star Natalie Portman, who won this race in 2007 for "V Is for Vendetta"; two-time past nominee Charlize Theron ("The Burning Plain"); and one-time past nominee Catherine Keener ("Where the Wild Things Are").

Members of the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror decided both nominees and the winners. Begun in 1972 to honor often overlooked films, the organization has extended its reach in recent years, adding TV awards in 1989 as well as that expanded category of action/adventure/thriller films in 1994 and DVD releases in 2003.

For the full list of winners, visit the academy's website.

Photo: "Avatar" poster. Credit: Fox

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