LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Silent film "The Artist" won the top prize at the Critics' Choice Awards on Thursday, taking home the trophy for best picture.
George Clooney ("The Descendants") and Viola Davis ("The Help") won the best actor and actress awards, and the cast of "The Help" - a story of African-American maids and their white employers in the 1960s U.S. South - was voted best acting ensemble.
The Critics' Choice Awards were given by the 250-member Broadcast Film Critics Association, the largest film critics organization in the United States and Canada.
The awards were handed out in Los Angeles before the Golden Globes ceremony on Sunday as the Hollywood season heats up ahead of the Oscars -- the movie industry's top honors -- on February 26.
(Reporting By Jill Serjeant; Editing by Peter Cooney)