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Gotham Awards Open The Hurt Locker for Oscar Business

The Hurt Locker, Guy Pierce Courtesy of Summit Entertainment

Not including the awards shows that take place year-round on a near weekly basis, the real, movie-honoring awards season is upon us.

Perhaps a portent of things to come, Oscar-wise, the widely praised Iraq war film The Hurt Locker was named Best Feature tonight at the 19th annual Gotham Independent Film Awards, a precursor to the oodles of year-end accolades that will be pouring fourth momentarily from critics groups and industry associations.

Case in point: The nominees for Film Independent's Spirit Awards come out tomorrow, and the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures reveals its best-of-'09 list on Thursday.

The cast of The Hurt Locker, which includes Guy Pearce, Ralph Fiennes,  Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie and Evangeline Lilly, shared in the award for Best Ensemble, while Chilean actress Catalina Saavedra scored Breakthrough Actor honors for The Maid.

Food Inc., which made the short list of contenders for the Best Documentary Oscar, started what its makers hope will be a fruitful awards season with a win at the Gothams in that category.

Tonight's ceremony at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City also included career tributes to Natalie Portman, who kicked her career off with a bang in The Professional when she was 13, and veteran character actor Stanley Tucci.

Also in on the celebration were attendees Alec Baldwin, Patricia Clarkson, Rosie Perez, Bill Hader, Kristen Wiig, Chris Rock, Brooke Shields, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Ellen Burstyn, Sam Rockwell and Oliver Platt.

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Pull on your boots—awards season is upon us! As always, everything you'll need to traverse those slippery slopes will be in our Red Carpet section.

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