"Waltz with Bashir" The animated documentary was named best picture, with 'Happy-Go-Lucky' and 'Wall-E' tying for runner-up.
"Waltz with Bashir," Ari Folman's animated documentary chronicling his coming to terms with repressed memories of his experiences with the Israeli army in the 1982 Lebanon War, was named best picture of 2008 by the National Society of Film Critics. The film was released in the U.S. only weeks before Israel's military offensive against Hamas in Gaza.
The daring film, which is nominated for a Golden Globe for best foreign-language film and uses multiple animation techniques, has earned numerous accolades, including six awards from the Israeli Film Academy and best animated film from the Los Angeles Film Critics Assn.
Golden Globe top nominees, including "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," "Doubt," "Frost/Nixon" and "Revolutionary Road," failed to cause a ripple with the National Society of Film Critics, which comprises critics from major publications across the country.
This year's Cinderella story, "Slumdog Millionaire," won best cinematography for Anthony Dod Mantle.
As with the L.A. and New York film critics groups, the society is known for its rather esoteric selections. In the last 31 years, the group has agreed with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences only four times in the best picture category -- the last being 2004's "Million Dollar Baby."
Sean Penn is shaping up to be the leading contender for the best actor Oscar after receiving the top honor from the Film Critics society for his touching portrait of slain gay activist Harvey Milk in "Milk." He's already earned best actor from numerous groups, including the L.A. Film Critics Assn. and the New York Film Critics Circle, as well as nominations for the Critics' Choice Award, the Golden Globe and the Screen Actors Guild Award.
The org named Sally Hawkins best actress for "Happy-Go-Lucky." Mike Leigh, as both director and writer, and supporting actor Eddie Marsan also won for "Happy-Go-Lucky." Hanna Schygulla took best supporting actress honors for "The Edge of Heaven."
The group's 49 voting members met Saturday evening at Gotham's Sardi's Restaurant to make their picks.
There is no formal awards banquet or presentation. Scrolls are sent to winners.
The NSFC was formed in 1966 to promote the "mutual interests of film criticism and filmmaking." The NSFC is also the American representative of the International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI), which comprises the national organizations of professional film critics and film journalists from around the world. The FIPRESCI has members in more than 50 countries worldwide.source: Variety, LA Times