The National Society of Film Critics announced its annual cinema superlatives this weekend, and while its selections indicate a strong frontrunner for the Best Picture Oscar, its other honorees once again signify the ever-widening pool of potential nominees that could be called when Academy Award nominations are announced on January 14.

"Spotlight" took the NSFC's top prize of 2015, winning Best Picture as well as Best Screenplay honors. The drama that tells the story of the Boston Globe's unveiling of the Catholic Church abuse scandal has been raking in accolades and nominations since awards season began, and is currently positioned as the favorite to nab the Best Picture trophy at the Oscars -- but based on how this season has unfolded so far, nothing is a sure thing just yet.

In fact, the conflict over the NSFC's Best Director prize makes that point quite clear: "Spotlight" director Tom McCarthy earned the same number of points from voters as "Carol"'s Todd Haynes, but McCarthy's name did not appear on the majority of ballots, as Haynes's did, handing Haynes the honor instead. And "Creed" star Michael B. Jordan was named the organization's Best Actor of the year, despite not getting much love from other critics groups. The microcosm of the NSFC could indicate just how conflicted Academy voters will be this year, with such a wide swath of films and performances jockeying for honors on cinema's biggest stage.

The complete list of National Society of Film Critics 2015 winners is below, along with each honoree's voting tally and the two first runners-up.

Picture: "Spotlight" (23)
Runners-up: "Carol" (17), "Mad Max: Fury Road" (13)

Director: Todd Haynes, "Carol" (21)
Runners-up: Tom McCarthy, "Spotlight" (21); George Miller, "Mad Max: Fury Road" (20)
(McCarthy received as many points as Haynes, but did not appear on a majority of ballots.)

Actor: Michael B. Jordan, "Creed" (29)
Runners-up: Geza Rohrig, "Son of Saul" (18); Tom Courtenay, "45 Years" (15)

Actress: Charlotte Rampling, "45 Years" (57)
Runners-up: Saoirse Ronan, "Brooklyn" (30); Nina Hoss, "Phoenix" (22)

Supporting actor: Mark Rylance, "Bridge of Spies" (56)
Runners-up: Michael Shannon, "99 Homes" (16); Sylvester Stallone, "Creed" (14)

Supporting actress: Kristen Stewart, "Clouds of Sils Maria" (53)
Runners-up: Alicia Vikander, "Ex Machina" (23); Kate Winslet, "Steve Jobs" (17)

Screenplay: Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy, "Spotlight" (21)
Runners-up: Charlie Kaufman, "Anomalisa" (15); Charles Randolph and Adam McKay, "The Big Short" (15)

Cinematography: Ed Lachman, "Carol" (25)
Runners-up: Mark Lee Ping-bin, "The Assassin" (22); "Mad Max: Fury Road" (12)

Foreign-language film: "Timbuktu" (22)
Runners-up: "Phoenix" (20); "The Assassin" (16)

Non-fiction film: "Amy" (23)
Runners-up: "In Jackson Heights" (18); "Seymour: An Introduction" (15)

Film Heritage awards:
Film Society of Lincoln Center and the programmers Jake Perlin and Michelle Materre for the series "Tell It Like It Is: Black Independents in New York, 1968-1986"
The Criterion Collection and L'Immagine Ritrovata for the restoration and packaging of the reconstructed version of "The Apu Trilogy" by Satyajit Ray
Association Chaplin for supervising the digital restoration of Charlie Chaplin's Essanay Films

Special citation for a film awaiting American distribution: Radu Muntean's "One Floor Below"

[via: Variety]

categories Movies, Awards