Best Actress winner Kirsten Dunst in Melancholia, with Alexander Skarsgard

Best Actress winner Kirsten Dunst in Melancholia, with Alexander Skarsgard

The National Society of Film Critics, among the last of the critics groups to chime in with annual awards, voted Saturday, Jan. 7, to determine honors for film year 2011. The winner for Best Picture here, as in many other year-end accountings, was Lars von Trier's haunting, maddening, transcendent Melancholia. The film just barely edged out its closest competition, Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life, and did so after at least one previous ballot had been taken. (Straight Shooting will publish more information on that when it becomes available. It's available: Malick and fans of his film can console themselves in his selection as Best Director, Brad Pitt's as Best Actor in a Leading Role (for Moneyball as well as The Tree of Life), and Emmanuel Luzbeki for Best Cinematography.

Here are the results of this 46th awards voting. Runners-up are unofficial, but it's nice to know them.

BEST PICTURE – Melancholia, with 29 points
runners-up: The Tree of Life, 28 points;  A Separation, 20

BEST DIRECTOR – Terrence Malick, The Tree of Life, 31
runners-up: Martin Scorsese, Hugo, 29;  Lars von Trier, Melancholia, 23

BEST ACTOR – Brad Pitt, Moneyball and The Tree of Life, 35
runners-up: Gary Oldman, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, 22;  Jean Dujardin, The Artist, 19

BEST ACTRESS – Kirsten Dunst, Melancholia, 39
runners-up: Yun Jung-hee, Poetry, 23;  Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady, 20

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR – Albert Brooks, Drive, 38
runners-up: Christopher Plummer, Beginners, 24;  Patton Oswalt, Young Adult, 19

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS – Jessica Chastain*, The Tree of Life, Take Shelter, and The Help, 30
runners-up: Jeannie Berlin, Margaret, 19;  Shailene Woodley, The Descendants, 17

BEST SCREENPLAY – A Separation by Asghar Farhadi, 39
runners-up: Moneyball (Steven Zaillian, Aaron Sorkin), 22;  Midnight in Paris (Woody Allen), 16

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY – The Tree of Life, Emmanuel Lubezki, 76**
runners-up: Melancholia (Manuel Alberto Claro), 41;  Hugo (Robert Richardson), 33

BEST NONFICTION – Cave of Forgotten Dreams by Werner Herzog, 35
runners-up: The Interrupters (Steve James), 26;  Into the Abyss (Werner Herzog), 18

BEST FOREIGN-LANGUAGE FILM – A Separation by Asghar Farhadi, 67**
runners-up: Mysteries of Lisbon (Raúl Ruiz), 28;  Le Havre (Aki Kaurismäki), 22

EXPERIMENTAL – Ken Jacobs, for Seeking the Monkey King

FILM HERITAGE awards and citations were also approved for:
• BAMcinématek for its complete Vincente Minnelli retrospective, with all titles shown on 16 mm. or 35 mm. film;
• Lobster Films, Groupama Gan Foundation for Cinema and the Technicolor Foundation for Cinema for the restoration of the color version of George Méliès’s A Trip to the Moon (1902)
• New York’s Museum of Modern Art for its extensive retrospective of Weimar Cinema
• Flicker Alley for its box set "Landmarks of Early Soviet Film"
• Criterion Collection for its Blu-ray and DVD package “The Complete Jean Vigo”

* Chastain also appeared in at least two other 2011 releases, Coriolanus and The Debt. It is at the discretion of those voting whether to include only one, or some but not all, of the person's credits during the year.
** The large point number indicates that this was a first-ballot victory. If subsequent ballots are needed to determine the outcome, absentee ballots drop out and results are determined by those voting onsite.