Happy-Go-Lucky lights up 2009 Awards Season

Mike Leigh's superb Happy-Go-Lucky has cleaned up at the National Society Of Film Critics Awards in the US.

The film, starring newcomer Sally Hawkins as a sunny, uncynical primary-school teacher, nabbed four prizes - Best Director and Screenwriter for Leigh, Best Actress for Hawkins and Best Supporting Actor for Eddie Marsan (ace as a sociopathic driving instructor).

The event is seen as the kick-off for awards season and Hawkins' nod should see her blip brightly on the Oscar radar.

We praised her performance in the Total Film mag review back in April 2008 and she'd be an excellent choice for a Best Actress nom.

The other likely Brit nominee Kate Winslet could help her choose a nice frock.

Other winners at the NSFC Awards include Sean Penn (Best Actor for Milk ) and harrowing Israeli animation Waltz With Bashir (Best Film).

Man On Wire got Best Doc, too - which also makes us happy.