LOS ANGELES – The French-language drama Amour was chosen as the year’s best film Sunday by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, whose prizes are among a flurry of year-end honors that help sort out the Academy Awards race.
Among the group’s other honors, the 1950s cult drama The Master earned four awards: best director for Paul Thomas Anderson, best actor for Joaquin Phoenix, supporting actress for Amy Adams and production design for David Crank and Jack Fisk.
The Master also was chosen as best-picture runner-up. The film stars Phoenix as a volatile World War II veteran who comes under the sway of a charismatic cult leader. Adams co-stars as the cult leader’s tough-minded wife.
Amour star Emmanuelle Riva, who plays an elderly, ailing woman being cared for by her husband, shared the best-actress honor in a tie with Jennifer Lawrence of the lost-soul romance Silver Linings Playbook.
Newcomer Dwight Henry was chosen as supporting actor for the low-budget critical darling Beasts of the Southern Wild. The film’s writer-director, Benh Zeitlin, received the group’s New Generation Award and shared the prize for best music score with composing partner Dan Romer.
Directed by Michael Haneke, Amour is Austria’s entry for the foreign-language Oscar and won the top honor at the Cannes Film Festival in May.
The Los Angeles critics’ picks came days after both the New York Film Critics Circle and the National Board of Review chose Kathryn Bigelow’s Osama bin Laden manhunt docudrama Zero Dark Thirty as the best film of the year.
Bigelow, who dominated the 2009 Los Angeles critics awards with best-picture and director wins for The Hurt Locker, was chosen this time as directing runner-up for Zero Dark Thirty.
Shut out at the LA critics honors was Steven Spielberg’s Civil War epic Lincoln.
The Los Angeles group named Tim Burton’s dead-dog tale Frankenweenie best animated film.
Next up on Hollywood’s awards calendar are the Screen Actors Guild nominations Wednesday and Golden Globe nominations Thursday. Oscar nominations follow on Jan. 10.