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'Hurt Locker' named film critics' best picture of 2009

By Jo Piazza, Special to CNN
"The Hurt Locker" is about an elite army bomb squad disarming explosive devices iin Iraq.
"The Hurt Locker" is about an elite army bomb squad disarming explosive devices iin Iraq.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • "The Hurt Locker" won best picture from National Society of Film Critics
  • Iraqi war drama also won for best director and best actor
  • Mo'Nique selected as best supporting actress for "Precious"

(CNN) -- Iraqi war drama "The Hurt Locker" won big with the National Society of Film Critics on Sunday. It was selected by the group of film reviewers from some of the country's top publications as the best picture of 2009.

The film also took the best director award for Kathryn Bigelow and best actor for Jeremy Renner.

"The Hurt Locker" is about an elite Army bomb squad disarming explosive devices in the heat of urban combat in the months after the invasion of Iraq.

Though it has pulled in only $16 million at the box office worldwide, according to the Web site Box Office Mojo, "The Hurt Locker" has been a favorite among critics this year. The film has won top honors from the New York Film Critics Circle, the Chicago Film Critics Awards and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association.

Video: 'The Hurt Locker' wins big
Video: 'The Hurt Locker'
Video: Going inside'The Hurt Locker'
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The society selected Yolande Moreau as best actress for her performance in "Seraphine," a French film about painter Seraphine de Senlis, on Sunday night. Joel and Ethan Coen won best screenplay for "A Serious Man," a dark comedy about a Midwestern professor who watches his life unravel.

Mo'Nique was selected as best supporting actress for her portrayal of an abusive mother in "Precious."

Austrian actor Christoph Waltz won best supporting actor for his work in "Inglourious Basterds," the Quentin Tarantino-directed World War II film starring Brad Pitt as the leader of a renegade group of soldiers trying to kill Adolf Hitler.

The National Society of Film Critics, though influential, often strays from the more traditional films that end up as big winners at the Academy Awards and the Golden Globes. They have a reputation for choosing art house and foreign films over big box office hits. The group doesn't hold an awards ceremony; instead, members vote at Sardi's restaurant in New York and send scrolls to winners instead of statuettes.