National Society of Film Critics names ‘Amour’ best of 2012

The National Society of Film Critics named “Amour,” Michael Haneke’s heartbreaking drama about an elderly couple, the best film of 2012 on Saturday. Haneke was named best director and Emmanuelle Riva was named best actress.

“The Master” came in second place for best picture with “Zero Dark Thirty” third. Kathryn Bigelow (“Zero Dark Thirty) tied with Paul Thomas Anderson (“The Master”) for runner-up in the director category.

“Amour” was named best picture of 2012 by the Los Angeles Film Critics Assn. in December. The film also won the Palm d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival last May.


Jennifer Lawrence placed second in the best actress category for “Silver Linings Playbook,” with Jessica Chastain placing third for “Zero Dark Thirty.”

Best actor honors went to Daniel Day-Lewis for his performance as Abraham Lincoln in “Lincoln,” with Denis Levant of “Holy Motors” placing second. Joaquin Phoenix was third for “The Master.”

Day-Lewis previously won best actor from the critics’ group for 1989’s “My Left Foot” and 2007’s “There Will Be Blood.”

The National Society of Film Critics is made up of 60 of the country’s major critics. Forty-three of the members gathered Saturday in New York for the 47th annual awards meeting, using a weighted ballot system, at the Elinor Bunin Munroe Center as guests of the Film Society of Lincoln Center.

The society and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences often disagree over their top choices. Last year, the critics chose Lars Von Trier’s end-of-the-world drama “Melancholia” as the best film, while the best picture Oscar went to “The Artist.”

In other awards:

Matthew McConaughey received supporting actor honors for “Magic Mike” and “Bernie.” Tommy Lee Jones came in second place for “Lincoln” and Philip Seymour Hoffman was third for “The Master.”

Amy Adams was named best supporting actress for “The Master.” Sally Field placed second for “Lincoln” and Anne Hathaway was third for “Les Miserables.”

Tony Kushner won screenplay honors for “Lincoln,” while Anderson placed second for “The Master” and David O. Russell was third for “Silver Linings Playbook”

“The Gatekeepers” won the best nonfiction award. “This is Not a Film” came in second, while “Searching for Sugar Man” placed third.

The cinematography award went to Mihai Malaimare Jr. for “The Master,” with Roger Deakins placing second for “Skyfall.” Greig Fraser was third for “Zero Dark Thirty.”

The Experimental Award went to Jafar Panahi’s “This Is Not a Film.”

Film Heritage honors went to Laurence Kardish, senior film curator at the Museum of Modern Art, for his extraordinary 44 years of service, including this year’s Weimar Cinema retrospective, and Milestone Film and Video for its ongoing Shirley Clarke project.

The society dedicated this year’s awards to the late influential critic Andrew Sarris, who was one of the founding members of the group.

For the record: An earlier version of this post misspelled the Elinor Bunin Munroe Center.


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