Heath Ledger's Dark Knight Oscar chances just brightened considerably.
The late actor scored his first major posthumous win of the awards season, as he was named Best Supporting Actor today for his demented Joker job by the Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association. (For those keeping score at home, we're not counting his hometown win over the weekend, when he was bestowed the International Award for Best Actor by the Australian Film Institute.)
Aside from Ledger's big score, the D.C. faction gave big props to Slumdog Millionaire. The feel-good story of a Mumbai boy who hits it big on the Indian version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire won a leading four awards, including Best Director for Danny Boyle, Best Breakthrough Performance by newcomer Dev Patel and Best Adapted Screenplay by Simon Beaufoy.
The Fox Searchlight flick keeps padding its award résumé, having been named Best Picture by the National Board of Review last week.
Mickey Rourke continued his surprising march toward an Oscar nod, winning Best Actor for The Wrestler, while Meryl Streep received Best Actress honors for her nun turn in Doubt. She stole some of the awards-season thunder from her Devil Wears Prada lackey Anne Hathaway, who was NBR's Best Actress pick for Rachel Getting Married.
But Rachel didn't go unrecognized, as Rosemarie DeWitt was named Best Supporting Actress for being mean to Hathaway in the Jonathan Demme family drama. Rachel Getting Married writer Jenny Lumet won for Best Original Screenplay.
The Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association is comprised of 46 TV, radio, print and online critics from the D.C.-Virginia-Maryland region.
Complete list of winners:
• Film: Slumdog Millionaire
• Director: Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire
• Actor: Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler
• Actress: Meryl Streep, Doubt
• Ensemble: Doubt
• Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight
• Supporting Actress: Rosemarie DeWitt, Rachel Getting Married
• Breakthrough Performance: Dev Patel, Slumdog Millionaire
• Adapted Screenplay: Simon Beaufoy, Slumdog Millionaire
• Original Screenplay: Jenny Lumet, Rachel Getting Married
• Animated Feature: WALL-E
• Foreign Language Film: Let the Right One In
• Documentary: Man on Wire
• Art Direction: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button