Natalie Portman, Colin Firth, Social Network Top Critics Choice Awards 1Colin Firth and Natalie Portman got a leg up in the race for Oscars, winning best actor and actress awards at the Critics’ Choice Awards, while “The Social Network” won for best picture, best director, best screenplay and best score. Hard to argue with those choices.

Firth was unforgettable in “The King’s Speech,” about King George VI’s struggle to overcome a stutter and shy reticence to lead his nation on the eve of World War II. Portman was haunting in her psycho-thriller.

Christian Bale and Melissa Leo also gave outstanding performances to win best supporting actor and actress for “The Fighter.”

Critics Choice Award Winners, 2011

Best Picture: The Social Network
Best Actor: Colin Firth (The King’s Speech)
Best Actress: Natalie Portman (Black Swan)
Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale (The Fighter)
Best Supporting Actress: Melissa Leo (The Fighter)
Best Young Actor/Actress: Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit)
Best Acting Ensemble: The Fighter
Best Director: David Fincher (The Social Network)
Best Original Screenplay: David Seidler (The King’s Speech)
Best Adapted Screenplay: Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network)
Best Cinematography: Wally Pfister (Inception)

Best Art Direction: Guy Hendrix Dyas (Inception)
Best Visual Effects: Inception
Best Sound: Inception
Best Animated Feature: Toy Story 3
Best Action Movie: Inception
Best Comedy: Easy A
Best Picture Made For Television: The Pacific
Best Foreign Language Film: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
Best Documentary Feature: Waiting For Superman
Best Song: If I Rise (127 Hours)
Best Score: Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross (The Social Network)
The Joel Siegel Award: Matt Damon
The Music&Film Award: Quentin Tarantino

Bale seemed to be the natural choice, given his performance and the competition.

He was up against Jeff Bridges in “True Grit,” Robert Duvall in Get Low, Jesse Eisenberg, in The Social Network, James Franco, 127 Hours and Ryan Gosling in “Blue Valentine.”

Franco and Gosling were both strong contenders. Unfortunately, Gosling may not have gotten enough credit for his performance given the limited release of the movie.

Leo was a surprise winner given her competitors, Helena Bonham Carter, in “The King’s Speech,” Mila Kunis in “Black Swan” and Hailee Steinfeld in “True Grit.”

Any one of those actresses easily deserved the award. For Leo, however, it was a long time coming. She is one of the great under-recognized actresses of our time.
[ad#Google Adsense]

Facebook film “The Social Network” faced formidable competition from such nominees as “Black Swan,” “The King’s Speech” and “The Fighter” arguably the three best films of the year, but none matched the unique story telling of “The Social Network.”

It was a well crafted film, ably directed by David Fincher from a screenplay by writer Aaron Sorkin, among others.

The movie traces the history of the popular Web site from its founding in a college dormitory to its first million users, and the story telling is taut. The film captures the intrigue and betrayal behind the rise of the social networking site.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg refused to cooperate with the film.

The Broadcast Film Critics Association, made up of about 250 TV, radio and online critics, hands out the awards. It is the largest group of film and TV reviewers in the United States and Canada.

Director Quentin Tarantino won an honorary award for his work in mixing music and movies, and Matt Damon was honored for his humanitarian work.

Next up, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association bestows Golden Globe awards. Then, Oscar nominations follow on Jan. 25.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will hand out the Oscars on Feb. 27.