The New York Film Critics Circle has officially kicked off the awards’ season by being the first major guild to bequeath honours to the films of 2011.
Silent black-and-white flick – and Cannes favourite – The Artist was named Best Picture, with helmer Michel Hazanavicuius picking up Best Director. The Weinstein Company’s crowd-pleaser is now positioned as one of the films to beat at next year’s Academy Awards.
Brad Pitt took home Best Actor for Moneyball (for which Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin also won Best Screenplay), while Meryl Streep was predictably bestowed the Best Actress award for The Iron Lady.
Drive‘s surprise villain Albert Brooks won the first of what we assume to be many Best Supporting Actor prizes, while the prolific Jessica Chastain was recognised as Best Supporting Actress in three separate films (The Tree of Life, The Help and Take Shelter).
In other ‘awards’ season’ news, The Tree of Life and Beginners were jointly named Best Feature at the Gotham Independent Film Awards. Sight and Sound‘s annual poll of critics revealed their best films of the year, with The Tree of Life and A Separation topping the list respectively.