'Amour' Named Best Picture of 2012 by National Society of Film Critics

Emmanuelle Riva

The Oscar-tipped, Palme D'Or-winning drama also helps Michael Haneke win best director and Emmanuelle Riva claim best actress.
"Amour" wins the top prize from the National Society of Film Critics. The movie was picked at the 47th annual awards meeting by prominent movie critics in New York City on Saturday, January 5, just a few weeks after it was honored the same award by the Los Angeles Film Critics Assn.

Austrian director Michael Haneke is declared the best director for his work in the heartbreaking drama. Meanwhile, Emmanuelle Riva who plays the elderly woman suffering stroke in the film about an aging couple battling with declining health is named the best actress.

"The Master" becomes the second-best picture of 2012, and "Zero Dark Thirty" comes in third. Furthermore, directors for both movies, Paul Thomas Anderson and Kathryn Bigelow respectively, are tied for the runner-up in the director category.

The second-best actress goes to Jennifer Lawrence ("Silver Linings Playbook") and the third best goes to Jessica Chastain ("Zero Dark Thirty"). In respective order, best actor is awarded to Daniel Day-Lewis ("Lincoln"), Denis Levant ("Holy Motors"), and Joaquin Phoenix ("The Master").

Matthew McConaughey ("Magic Mike" and "Bernie") wins first place in supporting actor category, Tommy Lee Jones ("Lincoln") comes in second, and Philip Seymour Hoffman ("The Master") is in the third place.

Amy Adams, meanwhile, is declared the best supporting actress for "The Master". Sally Field trails behind as the runner-up, thanks to her role in "Lincoln", and Anne Hathaway was the third best for her portrayal as prostitute Fantine in "Les Miserables".

The best non-fiction picture is "The Gatekeepers" with "This is Not a Film" in the second place and "Searching for Sugar Man" in the third. In respective orders, winners of cinematography honor are Mihai Malaimare Jr. ("The Master"), Roger Deakins ("Skyfall"), and Greig Fraser ("Zero Dark Thirty").

Screenplay honors are awarded to Tony Kushner ("Lincoln"), and "The Master" director Anderson collects his second gong for placing second in the category. The third position goes to David O. Russell ("Silver Linings Playbook").

Film Heritage awards are handed to Laurence Kardish, senior film curator at the Museum of Modern Art, and to Milestone Film and Video for its ongoing Shirley Clarke project. The Experimental Award goes to Jafar Panahi's "This Is Not a Film".

This year's awards are dedicated to late influential movie critic Andrew Sarris, who was one of the founding members of the National Society.

In related news, Haneke chose to withdraw "Amour" from Austrian Film Awards after being declared ineligible for several top categories. The movie would only be considered for directing, screenplay and editing prizes because it's filmed in France and is said lacking of "significant Austrian cultural influence."

The movie has won prestigious Palme D'Or at Cannes Film Festival and becomes Austrian's official entry for best foreign-language film at the Academy Awards. The Oscar nominations will be announced on January 10 and the winners will be revealed on February 24.

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