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The Lens: Let the awards begin

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 14, 2008 - The award and list-making season is officially underway and the consensus among those groups who may influence next year's Academy Awards is … it's anybody's guess. The National Board of Review started things off last week by naming "Slumdog Millionaire" best film of the year. David Fincher was named best director for "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button." You can find the complete list of winners and runners-up here.

The Los Angeles Film Critics Association gave Danny Boyle the nod as best director for "Slumdog" but chose "Wall-E" as best film. Here 's the complete list .

The New York Film Critics Circle  chose "Milk" as best film, but "Happy Go Lucky" earned Mike Leigh best director. (Doesn't anybody give awards to the directors of the "best film" winners anymore?)

All three groups agree on "Man on Wire" as best documentary and Penelope Cruz as best supporting actress (for "Vicki Christina Barcelona," though the LA critics also cited "Elegy"), but differed on almost everything else.

The two critics groups gave acting awards to Sean Penn ("Milk") and Sally Hawkins ("Happy Go Lucky"), while the NBR favored Clint Eastwood ("Gran Torino") and Anne Hathaway ("Rachel Getting Married"). New York and the NBR favored Josh Brolin in "Milk" as best supporting actor, but the L.A. critics gave a posthumous honor to Heath Ledger for "The Dark Knight."

More to come, inevitably.