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Film buffs vote Saoirse best young actress

Saoirse Ronan is on top of the world after the 15-year-old actress scooped a major award.

She has been named as the Best Young Actress award in America's Critics' Choice Awards.

Saoirse was celebrated at a star-studded ceremony last night for her poignant role as a raped and a murdered schoolgirl in The Lovely Bones.

In Rome co-stars Kristen Bell and Josh Duhamel presented the award to the super-talented Irish starlet.

The award for Saoirse comes as the Oscar buzz surrounding the teenager continues to grow at a fast pace.


Her co-star in the film, Oscar winner Susan Sarandon, has previously spoken of her belief that the Carlow schoolgirl could walk away with a coveted statuette this February.

Meanwhile, James Cameron's Avatar and Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds won the most awards, but the top honour went to Iraq war drama The Hurt Locker and its director-producer Kathryn Bigelow. The Hurt Locker was named best picture and Bigelow best director.

Accepting the best picture prize, screenwriter-producer Mark Boal said the award belonged to Bigelow "for her singular vision, for her endless inspiration and for never taking no as an answer."

Bigelow had thanked Boal when she accepted the director's honour, saying, "I stand here really because of one man, and that's Mark Boal.

"It's wonderful to have this honour, but the recognition should also go to the men and women who are in the field to this day." Avatar was best action movie and it collected a heap of technical awards, including honours for cinematography, editing, art direction, sound and visual effects.

The Basterds cast was the critics' pick for best ensemble. The film's villain, Christoph Waltz, was named best supporting actor and Tarantino won for his original screenplay.

"There's really only one group of people to thank," Tarantino said, "and that's the actors who actually took it from the printed page and put it up on the screen. My material is not easy. It's hard. I cannot have dumb actors do my material."

Crazy Heart was a double winner, with Jeff Bridges claiming the best actor prize for his turn as hard-drinking country singer Bad Blake. The film's theme, The Weary Kind, won for best song. Up won a pair of prizes, too: Best animated feature and best score.


There were actually two winners in the actress category, with Meryl Streep and Sandra Bullock tying for the honour.

Streep said she loved playing Julia Child in Julie & Julia.

"I'm really, really thrilled because I really love what I do," she said. "I love to work, and I love food and I love sex. And so did Julia Child. So it wasn't that much of a stretch."

Bullock, who won for her performance in The Blind Side, said she hadn't prepared a speech, but she used her time at the microphone to honour her fellow actresses and call for compassion for people who are suffering. "We're all so lucky to be here tonight when so many others are in pain," she said.