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'Carol' is selected best film of 2015 by the New York Film Critics Circle

'Carol' is selected best film of 2015 by the New York Film Critics Circle
Cate Blanchett stars in the movie "Carol." (Wilson Webb / The Weinstein Company)

"Carol" won top picture honors for 2015 Wednesday from the New York Film Critics Circle. The romantic drama about the love affair between two women in the 1950s won a total of four awards, including director for Todd Haynes, screenplay for Phyllis Nagy and cinematography for Edward Lachman.

Saoirse Ronan took honors in the lead actress category as an Irish immigrant in "Brooklyn" and Michael Keaton in lead actor as investigative reporter Walter V. Robinson in "Spotlight."

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Kristen Stewart won in the supporting actress category for her role as an assistant to an international movie star in "Clouds of Sils Maria." Stewart was the first American actress to receive France's Cesar award for her performance.

Mark Rylance earned supporting actor honors as a Soviet intelligence officer in "Bridge of Spies."

"Inside Out" was named top animated film and Laszlo Nemes' Hungarian drama "Son of Saul," which won the Grand Prix at Cannes, earned first film honors. The Mauritanian drama "Timbuktu" won the foreign film honors; the film was nominated earlier this year for an Oscar. Nonfiction film honors went to Frederick Wiseman's 40th film, "In Jackson Heights."

The critics group approved a special posthumous award to honor the legacy of William Becker and Janus Films. And five-time Oscar-nominated composer Ennio Morricone ("Days of Heaven," "The Mission"), who has penned the score to Quentin Tarantino's "The Hateful Eight," was also given a special award by the group.

Celebrating its 80th anniversary this year, the NYFCC is comprised of critics from daily and weekly newspapers, as well as magazines and online sites.

NYFCC chose Richard Linklater's unique coming-of-age drama "Boyhood" as the best of 2014 while the Oscar went to "Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)." The last time the New York critics and the Academy Awards agreed on the best film choice was four years ago with "The Artist."

The awards will be handed out Jan. 4 in New York.

The Los Angeles Film Critics Assn. will vote on its awards Sunday.

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