Yahoo reports that the National Society of Film Critics (made up of 61 film critics across the country) has chosen Paul Thomas Anderson's There Will Be Blood as the Best Picture of the Year, beating The Diving Bell and the Butterfly and No Country for Old Men. Anderson also won Best Director, over Julian Schnabel and the Coen Brothers. Daniel Day-Lewis was named Best Actor for Blood, and Robert Elswit received an award for its cinematography. The critics are clearly crazy for Blood, but I don't think it'll take the Best Picture Oscar. It's too cold a film for Oscar voters to fully embrace, and though I know I'm practically alone in this assessment, it's too flawed.

Julie Christie was named Best Actress for her understated performance in Away from Her.Casey Affleck was named Best Supporting Actor for his excellent work in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. And Cate Blanchett was selected as Best Supporting Actress for a performance that, for me, didn't amount to much more than a pretty good Bob Dylan impression. No End in Sight, a straightforward account of the bad decisions made by the Bush administration after the invasion of Iraq, won Best Documentary. Tamara Jenkins' script for The Savages was named Best Screenplay. I really loved the first half of The Savages but felt the second got distracted with side stories that thinned out the story's impact. Only 41 of the Society's 61 members cast ballots this year (?), and their choices frequently differ from Oscar voters. We'll find out just how much they differ when the Academy Award nominations are announced on January 22nd.