In hopes of gaining some influence, the New York Film Critics Circle became the first major film group to announce their winners for Best Picture and the best performances of the year. Moving their selections up from mid-December to late November, the group has officially kicked off the run to the Oscars.
The black and white silent film The Artist walked away victorious in the Best Picture category. The film has generated some early buzz prior to its nationwide release, and critics alike are raving about the movie. The backbone of The Artist, Michael Hazanavicius, also took home the film group's award for Best Director.
Some other notable winners were Meryl Streep for Best Actress of the year (for her portrayal of Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady) and Brad Pitt for Best Actor. Pitt's recognition came for his pair of roles in Terrence Malick's Tree of Life and Bennett Miller's Moneyball. The Best Supporting Actor winner went to a familiar face. Albert Brooks took home the win for his villainous work in Drive. Also, Jessica Chastain claimed the victory for Best Supporting Actress of the year for a body of work including the blockbuster hit The Help, Tree of Life, and Take Shelter. Despite all of these excellent performances and films, we're still a long ways from the Academy Awards.