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by Peter Knegt
November 29, 2011 1:17 PM
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'The Artist' Leads New York Film Critics' Circle Awards

Terrence Malick's "The Tree of Life." Fox Searchlight
The New York Film Critics' Circle, widely considered one of the leading organizations of film critics in the country, have announced the winners of their 2011 awards.

Voting took place at the Film Society of Lincoln Center earlier today it was said to be a heated and divisive process.  In the end, Michel Hazanavicius's "The Artist" took prizes for both best picture and best director, signifcantly boosting its reputation as the film to beat come Oscar night.

Films starring Brad Pitt (as well as Brad Pitt himself) also fared well: Pitt won best actor for "Moneyball" and "The Tree of Life," while "Moneyball" took best screenplay and "Life" best cinematography.

Pitt's "Tree of Life" onscreen wife Jessica Chastain took best supporting actress honors for a trio of performances including "Life," "Take Shelter" and "The Help." That rightfully honors one of the most impressive debut years for an actress well, ever.

Chastain will be honored alongside veterans Meryl Streep and Albert Brooks, who took actress and supporting actor nods for "The Iron Lady" and "Drive," respectively. Their Oscar chances - along with everyone else who won - have been significantly boosted.

Full list of winners below. The group opted out of having an animated feature category this year, and also added a special award honoring recently departed director Raul Ruiz.

The 2011 New York Film Critics’ Circle Award Winners:

Best Film:
The Artist

Best Director:
Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist

Best Screenplay:
Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin for "Moneyball"

Best Actress:
Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady

Best Actor:
Brad Pitt, Moneyball and The Tree of Life

Best Supporting Actress:
Jessica Chastain, The Tree of Life, Take Shelter and The Help

Best Supporting Actor:
Albert Brooks, Drive

Best Cinematography:
The Tree of Life

Best Non-fiction Film:
Cave of Forgotten Dreams, directed by Werner Herzog

Best Foreign Language Film:
A Separation

Best First Feature:
Margin Call, directed by J.C. Chandor

Special Award:
Raul Ruiz

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4 Comments

  • Marty | November 29, 2011 7:20 PMReply

    Though I have not seen THE ARTIST yet, I was disappointed that THE TREE OF LIFE and Terrence Malick did not fare better, however I am glad for both Brad Pitt, and especially Jessica Chastain, who was most deserving for everything she did this year in film. She is destined for thespian greatness. Also, I was extremely happy to see THE TREE OF LIFE get the recognition from the NYFCC for its cinematography

  • zeph | November 29, 2011 5:31 PMReply

    yes, why no animation award this year? it's the first in a decade.

  • Ben Brahem Ziryab | November 29, 2011 5:01 PMReply

    I'm applauding in my small hands; the astonishing and innovative cinematography in "The Tree of Life" is finally rewarded.

  • sijmen | November 29, 2011 2:15 PMReply

    No Best Animated Film Award?