Awards Round-Up: The San Diego Critics Have Spoken

In our ongoing effort to bring you the best of year end movie lists and awards—no critics' circle too far or too small!—another round-up:
· Chargers fans also love Clint Eastwood, as Letters From Iwo Jima is awarded best picture and Eastwood best director from the San Diego Film Critics Society. And while Helen Mirren once again gets top actress honors (her certificate, suitable for framing, is in the mail), they then proceed to throw several curveballs in the other acting categories, including Lili Taylor as best supporting actress for Factotum, Ray Winstone as best supporting actor for The Proposition, and Ken Takakura as best actor for his work in Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles. From the title alone, that sounds to have been a lot more demanding a role than Mirren's, which mainly required her to sit around in a palace, sip tea, and act bitchy. [Variety]
· The Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards gave United 93 best picture, Mirren best actress, Forest Whitaker best actor, and Little Miss Sunshine best screenplay, proving stretching out Blind Melon's "No Rain" video into 100 minutes of indie movie quirk clichés was an idea whose time had come. [OscarWatch]
· indieWIRE's first annual Critics Poll—a descendant of the Village Voice poll— asked 107 North American film critics to assess the year's best, with a special eye to movies that may have been overlooked. Number One, and far ahead of the pack, is Cristi Puiu's The Death of Mr. Lazarescu. []
· The Onion A.V. Club gives their top honor to Alfonso Cuaron's Children of Men, with special mentions to the underrated Brick (#4), and Half Nelson (#6), which succeeds in its inner-city high school inspirational teacher story despite a lack of a Coolio song on the soundtrack. [AV Club]