Saturn AwardsSome critics' groups rush to hand out awards weeks before the year of eligility is over. Other groups, like the Academy of Science Fiction Fantasy & Horror Films, prefer to take their time. The 35th annual Saturn Awards were presented last night in beautiful downtown Burbank, California, honoring the best in genre films for the 2008 calendar year. The top awards, as listed by FearNet, went to Iron Man (Science Fiction), The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Fantasy), Hellboy II: The Golden Army (Horror), and The Dark Knight (Action / Adventure / Thriller).

The Academy also found room to honor Angelina Jolie as Best Actress for Changeling, which makes me wonder how that film could possibly qualify as a genre flick. Horror, perhaps? More major awards went to Robert Downey, Jr. as Best Actor and Jon Favreau as Best Director for Iron Man, Heath Ledger as Best Supporting Actor, and Tilda Swinton as Best Supporting Actress. Wall-E took home Best Animated Film and Let the Right One In was presented with the Best International Film award. And here are the awards that make the Saturns stand out for genre fans: Lance Henriksen received the Life Career Award, and Leonard Nimoy nabbed the Lifetime Achievement Award.

I was following the awards show via Twitter, and the most entertaining account was the one by loquaciousmuse; she made it sound like a blast. If you're out of state, $40 buys an Academy membership with award voting privileges. The least expensive in-state membership is $150, which also grants access to more than 100 special screenings.