- Associated Press - Monday, December 13, 2010

NEW YORK (AP) - “The Social Network” continued its virtual sweep of the early awards season, earning best film from the New York Film Critics Circle.

David Fincher, director of the Facebook drama, won best director in the awards, announced Monday. The New York critics followed the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, the National Board of Review and the New York Film Critics Online in choosing “The Social Network” as the year’s best film.

The NYFCC awarded best actor to Colin Firth for the British monarchy tale “The King’s Speech” and best actress to Annette Bening for the lesbian family drama “The Kids Are All Right.”

The New York critics were particularly high on “The Kids Are All Right,” honoring Mark Ruffalo for best supporting actor and Lisa Cholodenko and Stuart Blumberg for best screenplay.

Melissa Leo won best supporting actress for her performance in the boxing drama “The Fighter.”

“Black Swan,” which on Sunday picked up a record 12 nominations from the Critics’ Choice Movie Awards, was awarded best cinematography for the work by Matthew Libatique.

The New York reviewers are among the influential critics groups that suggest potential favorites ahead of the Feb. 27 Academy Awards. The Oscar race will get a strong injection of drama Tuesday morning when the Golden Globes nominations are announced.

The NYFCC, which was founded in 1935, will present its awards at a Jan. 10 event in New York. A collection of newspaper, magazine and online critics, it describes its annual awards as “a principled alternative to the Oscars, honoring esthetic merit in a forum that is immune to commercial and political pressures.”

The critics awarded “The Illusionist,” Sylvain Chomet’s adaptation of Jacques Tati’s screenplay, best animated film. Best nonfiction film went to the financial system documentary “Inside Job.” “Carlos,” Olivier Assayas’ lengthy biopic of Venezuelan revolutionary Ilich Ramirez Sanchez (aka “Carlos the Jackal”), won best foreign language film.

Chosen for best first feature was David Michod’s Australian crime film “Animal Kingdom,” which some critics groups have cited for the supporting performance by Jacki Weaver.

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Online:

http://www.nyfcc.com/