LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - It's no Oscar, not even a Golden Globe. But in some circles in Hollywood, it's just as good, and on Friday British boy wizard Harry Potter pulled one out of his sorcerer's hat -- a Golden Tomato.
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2," the top box office draw of 2011, also earned the title best-reviewed, wide-release movie of 2011. Thus, it took the year's Golden Tomato from movie review website Rotten Tomatoes.
While the thought of winning a Golden Tomato might bring a smile to faces, winning one is no joke in Hollywood. It is a point of pride for filmmakers and signals studio bosses and producers as to which directors are hot among critics.
Matt Atchity, editor in chief of Rotten Tomatoes, notes that animated movie kingpin Disney/Pixar keeps its Golden Tomatoes in the same glass case as it does its Oscars.
Indeed, "Potter" producer David Heyman said in a statement that the filmmaking team was "especially appreciative that this award honors the final film in the series."
"Deathly Hallows - Part 2" earned $1.3 billion at worldwide box offices and scored a 96 percent "fresh," or positive, rating from 273 reviews compiled by Rotten Tomatoes.
"It is the best reviewed 'Harry Potter' of all. The other ones have had a Golden Tomato for best sci-fi film, but this is the first to win the wide release award," Atchity said.
Following it among major movies released broadly around the world were Brad Pitt-starring baseball film "Moneyball" at No. 2 with a 95 percent positive rating, and family comedy "The Muppets" at No. 3, which also scored 96 percent fresh but among a far fewer number of reviews, 160.
Among films in limited release, which generally speaking means in art house theaters or other venues that screen independent and lower-budget movies, documentary "Project Nim" earned the Golden Tomato as the No. 1-rated film of the year. It scored a 98 percent fresh rating from 124 reviews surveyed by Rottentomatoes.com.
"Nim" was followed by Iranian family drama "A Separation" with 100 percent positive rating, but again among far fewer critics, 62. At No. 3 was Oscar hopeful, silent-era comedy "The Artist" with a 97 percent fresh rating from 145 reviews.
"A Separation" also earned the distinction of being the best-reviewed foreign language film, and The Artist" also was singled out as the year's best-reviewed comedy.
Other highlights included "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol" with a 94 percent positive rating being named the best action/adventure film, and "Drive" with a score of 93 was the top thriller.
A full list can be found at the website, www.rottentomatoes.com.
Editing by Jill Serjeant