"Inside Llewyn Davis," Joel and Ethan Coen's study of a struggling New York folk singer in 1961, was the big winner Saturday at the National Society of Film Critics. The film received four awards, including best film, actor for Oscar Isaac, director for the siblings and cinematography for Bruno Delbonnel.
"American Hustle" placed second and "12 Years a Slave" tied with "Her" for third in the voting for best film, while Chiwetel Ejiofor for "Slave" and Robert Redford for "All Is Lost" were runners-up in the acting category. Alfonso Cuaron came in second in the directing category for "Gravity" and Steven McQueen placed third for "12 Years a Slave."
The National Society of Film Critics win is redemption for "Llewyn Davis," which was snubbed this past week for a Producers Guild of America Award nomination, one of the leading indicators for a best film Oscar nod, and was denied a Writers Guild of America Award nomination for the Coens' original screenplay.
"12 Years a Slave," which is also one of the leading contenders for the Academy Awards, failed to receive any awards. The film also had disappointing showings last month with the Los Angeles Film Critics Assn. and the New York Film Critics Circle.
Cate Blanchett won the lead actress award for her role as a troubled widow in Woody Allen's "Blue Jasmine." Adele Exarchopoulous for "Blue Is the Warmest Color" placed second in the category and Julie Delpy third for "Before Midnight."
James Franco earned a supporting actor win for his role in "Spring Breakers." Jared Leto from "Dallas Buyers Club" and Barkhad Abdi from "Captain Phillips" placed second and third, respectively, in the category.
Jennifer Lawrence won in the supporting actress category for "American Hustle." Placing second was Lupita Nyong'o for "12 Years a Slave" with Sally Hawkins from "Blue Jasmine" third and Lea Seydoux from "Blue Is the Warmest Color" fourth.
Screenplay honors went to Richard Linklater, Delpy and Ethan Hawke for "Before Midnight," followed by the Coen brothers for "Llewyn Davis." Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell placed third for "American Hustle."
"Blue Is the Warmest Color" was named best foreign-language film, with "A Touch of Sin" second and "The Great Beauty" third.
The best nonfiction award was given to Joshua Oppenheimer's "Act of Killing," with Frederick Wiseman's "At Berkeley" second and Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Verena Paravel's "Leviathan" third.
There was a tie in the best film still awaiting American distribution category, with Tsai Ming-liang's "Stray Dogs" and Daniel Patrick Carbone's "Hide Your Smiling Faces" sharing the honor. The experimental film award went to "Leviathan."
The 56 members of the National Society of Film Critics were eligible to vote Saturday with 42 voting at the 48th awards meeting, using a weighted ballot system. In New York, 18 critics voted in person at at the Film Society of Lincoln Center. There is no awards ceremony; scrolls are sent to all the winners.
The society, which was founded in 1966 and includes principal critics from major papers and outlets, often disagrees with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences over their top choices.
Last year, the society chose "Amour" as best film of the year (which later won the Academy Award for best foreign language film), but the Oscar went to "Argo." Two years ago, "Melancholia" took the top prize from the critics, while the academy selected "The Artist." The last time they both agreed was four years ago with "The Hurt Locker."
The meeting was dedicated to the memory of two distinguished members of the NSFC who died in 2013: Roger Ebert and Stanley Kauffmann.
UPDATED, Jan. 5: Spike Jones' "Her" garnered 16 votes to tie for third place with "12 Years a Slave" in voting for best picture.