Founded in the mid-1960s as an alternative to the New York Film Critics Circle, the National Society Of Film Critics has long been one of this country’s most cosmopolitan, dependable, and unglamorous awards-giving bodies. While other critics’ organizations function as awards season bellweathers, the credibility of the NSFC has always rested on its independence and membership. Pauline Kael was one of the NSFC’s founding members, and the organization’s current roster—chaired by head Variety critic Scott Foundas—includes such elder statesmen and –women of America film criticism as J. Hoberman, Amy Taubin, Molly Haskell, David Denby, Jonathan Rosenbaum, and Dave Kehr. (It also includes frequent A.V. Club contributor Ben Kenigsberg.)
It should come as no surprise, then, that the NSFC didn’t pick odds-on critics’ favorite Boyhood as the best film of 2014, instead giving its Best Picture prize to Jean-Luc Godard’s poetic 3-D freakout Goodbye To Language. (Admittedly, the film beat Boyhood by only one point.) Godard also came in second for Best Director, while director of photography Fabrice Aragno (above, with one of the handmade stereoscopic rigs built for the movie) received third place for Best Cinematography.
The NSFC also picked Citizenfour for Best Non-Fiction Film, The Grand Budapest Hotel for Best Screenplay, and Richard Linklater for Best Director, with Dick Pope’s work on Mr. Turner receiving the Best Cinematography prize; the latter also got Timothy Spall picked for Best Actor. Like a few other critics’ organizations, the NSFC can give awards to actors for multiple roles––something they did twice this year in the Best Actress category, giving Marion Cotillard top honors for both Two Days, One Night and The Immigrant, with Scarlett Johansson getting third place for Under The Skin and Lucy. Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress went––somewhat predictably, but still deservedly–– to J.K. Simmons for Whiplash and Patricia Arquette for Boyhood.
You can check out the complete list at the NSFC website, which demonstrates how little the organization cares about anything other than good movies by looking more or less exactly like a blog from 2009.