Awards Round-Up: Apparently Some Movie About The Queen Is Worth Checking Out

Because it's never too late to start your Oscar pool prognosticating—especially with the all-important Canadian take to factor in—we offer another year-end awards season round-up:
· The Toronto Film Critics Association chooses to give its big prize to the woman who still appears on much of their local, bird-covered currency, The Queen, with Helen Mirren, Michael Sheen (who plays Tony Blair) and screenwriter Peter Morgan also getting nods. Just to show they aren't entirely Commonwealth monarchist snobs, Sacha Baron Cohen wins best actor for his teabagging-related work in Borat. [Variety]
· The Chicago Film Critics Association Awards announced their nominees, with Babel leading the pack at nine (including one for Brad Pitt, bringing us one step closer to those magic words, "Oscar Winner Mr. Angelina Jolie"), with The Departed and The Queen pulling in six apiece. Little Miss Sunshine and United 93 round out the best picture category. [Chicago Tribune]
· What would happen if Oscar campaigning took a cue from politics and went negative? Probably full-page Variety ads reading, "It's simple: You're either a racist who approves of gay cowboy marriage, or you think Crash was this year's Best Picture. The choice is yours." [The Envelope]

· The Las Vegas Film Society gives The Departed top honors, with Helen Mirren and Forest Whitaker once again grabbing the acting categories. The only real surprise is that Jason Reitman's Thank You For Smoking script won best screenplay—the white twentysomething dude's award of choice. [ContactMusic]
· The Southeastern Film Critics Association names The Departed the best film of the year. It remains to be seen if this regional critics' association's track record is as impressive as the Dallas Fort-Worth critics, however, who are batting 4 out of 5 in predicting the Best Picture Oscar. [TimesDispatch.com, The Envelope]