An awards season dispatch hit from the London Critics’ Circle Film Awards, who’ve hoisted plaudits upon Amour, Michael Haneke, and Emmanuelle Riva, with respective awards for Film of the Year, Screenwriter of the Year, and Actress of the Year. The man’s own tight-as-a-drum direction, though good enough to earn that film top honors, couldn’t snag its own statue; Director of the Year landed in the lap of Ang Lee for Life of Pi, a work that, funny enough, is about as far as one could get from Amour. Depending on how you read either film, I suppose. [Variety]

On a (slightly) similar note, Jacques Audiard‘s Rust and Bone was crowned with Foreign Language Film of the Year — a bit of a pattern in how they name their own categories, right? — while, in more general categories, things shook out as such: Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman were honored with Actor of the Year and Actor of the Year in a Supporting Role, respectively, for The Master; Anne Hathaway‘s turn in Les Misérables was good enough for Actress of the Year in a Supporting Role. Best British Film / Actor of the Year went to Peter Strickland‘s Berberian Sound Studio and its star, Toby Jones; Andrea Riseborough, of Shadow Dancer, was awarded with British Actress of the Year.

Now, in spite of some shared wins and nominations between the London Critics’ Circle Film Awards and next month’s Oscars, I wouldn’t be too confident in calling this a sign of things to come. We’ve got different groups with different sensibilities and, further to the point, some altogether different choices lying in front of them. (Not as much campaigning on this one, either.) That being said, it’s not such a bad day to be any of these victors who, too, are going into the biggest awards show of all with some hopes — which, given some recent comments, will actually leave Joaquin Phoenix totally immune.

Is there anything strange or unexpected about these picks by the London group?

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