Despite receiving a leading eight nominations from the Online Film Critics Society, Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds ended up losing their top prize to Kathryn Bigelow and The Hurt Locker. The acclaimed Iraq war thriller took top honors for Picture, Bigelow for Director and, again, Jeremy Renner for Actor, matching the recently announced choices from the National Society of Film Critics. Basterds hardly walked away empty-handed, tying Hurt Locker's four victories from the 143-member group with awards for Supporting Actor (Christoph Waltz), Original Screenplay for Tarantino, Cinematography for Robert Richardson and Mélanie Laurent for Best Lead Actress. Laurent also won the award from the Austin Film Critics but was relegated into the Supporting category by Detroit and St. Louis where she was only nominated.
The statistics for the OFCS are not going to figure as much in the long run as some other groups might. The numbers that do stand out though are the ones that the OFCS helped put over the top. Throughout this awards season over 20 groups have announced their winners of the season. As of this writing, the OFCS has put The Hurt Locker into the lead with the most victories to date for Best Film of 2009. Their award makes number 10 for Bigelow & Co., just ahead of Jason Reitman's Up In The Air which has won 9. Well-trailing the pack in third place is Inglourious Basterds with 3. Rounding out the Top Five are Pixar's Up with 2 victories and a sole victory for Avatarcoming from the other online group, the New York Film Critics Online.
Last year, eventual Oscar winner Slumdog Millionaire led the season with 14 Best Picture victories compared to WALL-E's 6 and Milk's 4. In 2007 it was No Country for Old Men winning 22 followed by There Will Be Blood's 5.
Does this put The Hurt Locker back in front for the gold while others are trying to sell Basterds as a serious threat? The numbers look solid, although in 2006, The Departed trailed United 93 by a tally of 10-8. And the latter was eventually snubbed. With a PGA nomination already in hand and likely Directors' Guild and Writers' Guild nominations pending, no one is thinking The Hurt Locker is going to go the way of The Dark Knight (which only won two Best Film awards last year.)
Even more impressive is this marking Bigelow's 16th victory as Best Director this season (including L.A., N.Y. & Chicago), well ahead of Jason Reitman who has 3 and Tarantino with 2. No other director has won multiple awards and we still don't have the final announcements by the DGA, the Globes or the BFCA. While Bigelow's leading man still trails George Clooney who leads the season with 11 awards for Best Actor, Jeremy Renner's 5th victory puts him alone in second ahead of Colin Firth's 4 and the two by Jeff Bridges, whom many consider to be this year's sentimental career award favorite. Renner's status as the eventual victor may still have underdog labeling, let it be said that his chances for a nomination should no longer be in question.
Rounding out the OFCS acting categories is Mo'Nique Dearest for Precious. Fantastic Mr. Fox took home the prize for Best Adapted Screenplay. Documentary went to Anvil!: The Story of Anvil and Foreign Film to The White Ribbon. The Hurt Locker's fourth award came for Best Editing while Pixar's Up took home wins for Animated Feature and Michael Giacchino's Score.
You can see the full updated awards tally HERE.