'Amour' wins top honors from National Society of Film Critics

Posted by · 12:17 pm · January 5th, 2013

The last of the major US critics’ awards landed today, and the National Society of Film Critics sided with the Los Angeles crowd, handing their Best Picture award to Michael Haneke’s “Amour.” The French-Austrian production narrowly saw off “The Master” to the top prize, also nabbing Best Director and Best Actress for Emmanuelle Riva. Paul Thomas Anderson’s film had to settle for Best Supporting Actress for Amy Adams (again echoing the LA Critics’ choice), as well as the Best Cinematography prize.

Another double winner was “Lincoln,” which took Best Screenplay by a comfortable margin, while Daniel Day-Lewis extended his run of Best Actor victories. Critics’ award heavyweight “Zero Dark Thirty,” meanwhile, could only manage runner-up citations for Best Picture, Director, Actress and Cinematography.

In Best Supporting Actor, it’s nice to see another big win for Matthew McConaughey, whose awards momentum has unfortunately stalled since taking the New York critics’ award; of course, this boost arrives too late to aid his chances of an Oscar nomination. The Society sided with another foreign-language effort, “The Gatekeepers,” in the Best Documentary category — and logically scrapped the Best Foreign Language Film award in light of “Amour”‘s bigger win.

The choice of “Amour” isn’t a surprising one for this traditionally highbrow group, who also handed last year’s Best Picture award to a European auteur piece, Lars von Trier’s “Melancholia.” The last time, incidentally, that a foreign-language film won this prize in addition to either of the other so-called Big Three critics’ groups’ top honors was in 1969, when Costa-Gavras’s “Z” triumphed with the NSFC and NYFCC. “Z” founds its way to an Oscar nomination for Best Picture; is this a similarly good omen for Haneke’s film, even if it falls after the Academy voting deadline? The last film that failed to secure a Best Picture nod after landing two of the Big Three was “American Splendor” in 2003.   

Full list of winners below; catch up with the season thus far at The Circuit

Best Picture: “Amour” (28)
Runners-up: “The Master” (25); “Zero Dark Thirty” (18)

Best Director: Michael Haneke, “Amour” (27)
Runners-up: Paul Thomas Anderson, “The Master” (24); Kathryn Bigelow, “Zero Dark Thirty” (24)

Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis, “Lincoln” (59)
Runners-up: Denis Lavant, “Holy Motors” (49); Joaquin Phoenix, “The Master” (49)

Best Actress: Emmanuelle Riva, “Amour” (50)
Runners-up: Jennifer Lawrence, “Silver Linings Playbook” (42); Jessica Chastain, “Zero Dark Thirty” (32)

Best Supporting Actor: Matthew McConaughey, “Magic Mike” (27)
Runners-up: Tommy Lee Jones, “Lincoln” (22); Philip Seymour Hoffman, “The Master” (19)

Best Supporting Actress: Amy Adams, “The Master” (34)
Runners-up: Sally Field, “Lincoln” (23); Anne Hathaway, “Les Miserables” (13)

Best Screenplay: Tony Kushner, “Lincoln” (59)
Runners-up: Paul Thomas Anderson, “The Master” (27); David O. Russell, “Silver Linings Playbook” (19)

Best Documentary: “The Gatekeepers” (53)
Runners-up: “This Is Not A Film” (45); “Searching for Sugar Man” (23)

Best Cinematography: Mihai Milaimare Jr., “The Master” (60)
Runners-up: Roger Deakins, “Skyfall” (30); Greig Fraser, “Zero Dark Thirty” (21) 

Best Experimental Film: Jafar Panahi, “This Is Not A Film”

Film Heritage Award: Laurence Kardish; Milestone Film & Video

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