'The Artist,' Brooks, and McCarthy Win Big Among Critics Group Awards

[caption id="attachment_80658" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="The Weinstein Company"]The Artist[/caption]

Yesterday, four of the biggest film critics groups in the country went to the top of Mount Olympus to proclaim this year's greatest triumphs of cinematic storytelling. Thing is, they didn't exactly see eye-to-eye.

After the initial shock of "The Smurfs" tragically locked out of contention for Best Picture, we got the rundown from Hollywood Wiretap of the outcome from The San Francisco Film Critics Circle, The Boston Society of Film Critics, The Los Angeles Film Critics Association and The New York Film Critics Online.

Move over, Rice-A-Roni, because it turns out "The Tree of Life" is the San Francisco treat. The Circle named this year's cinematic tone poem to-beat Best Picture while also honoring its reclusive director Terrence Malick as Best Director. Their neighbors at LAFCA also gave Malick their trophy but the film itself got runner-up to Alexander Payne's "The Descendants."

Must be something to do with the weather, but those on the East Coast seemed to favor silent masterpiece "The Artist," with both the Big Apple and Beantown granting it Best Picture. Its Frenchie creator Michel Hazanavicius took home Best Director from New York, but lost out to "Hugo" helmer Martin Scorsese in Boston. Love that dirty water.

As for the Actor race, Michael Fassbender, Michael Shannon, Brad Pitt, and Gary Oldman evened the spread by all winning under different groups, with a similar phenomenon happening for Best Actress winners Tilda Swinton, Michelle Williams, Yun Jung-Hee, and Meryl Streep.

There was much more consensus among the Supporting Actor competition, with "Drive" co-star Albert Brooks scoring a big 3-out-of-4 wins outside of the L.A. folk giving it to Christopher Plummer for "Beginners." "Bridesmaids" breakout funny lady Melissa McCarthy also got a huge shot in the arm winning Supporting Actress with both East Coast groups, while San Fran handed it to Vanessa Redgrave for "Coriolanus" and LA awarded prolific beauty Jessica Chastain in "Coriolanus," "The Debt," "The Help," "Take Shelter," "Texas Killing Fields," "Tree of Life," and a partridge in a pear tree.

The awards season continues to heat up this week, with nominations for the Critics Choice Movie Awards being announced on Tuesday, SAG noms on Wednesday and the Golden Globes on Thursday. Stay tuned.