NEW YORK (AP) — Todd Haynes' 1950s lesbian romance "Carol" dominated the New York Film Critics Circle Awards, taking best film and a leading four awards overall.
Announcing their picks Wednesday on Twitter, the New York critics voted overwhelmingly in favor of the Patricia Highsmith adaption starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara. They also awarded best director for Haynes, best screenplay for Phyllis Nagy and best cinematography for Edward Lachman.
Haynes' previous '50s-set film, 2002's "Far From Heaven," was also enthusiastically supported by the New York film critics, winning five awards including best film.
Best actor went to Michael Keaton, who plays one of the journalists that make up the ensemble cast of the Boston Globe drama "Spotlight." Saoirse Ronan earned best actress for her performance as an Irish immigrant in "Brooklyn."
Kristen Stewart landed best supporting actress for her performance as an actor's assistant in Olivier Assayas' "Clouds of Sils Maria." (Stewart won a Cesar Award for the role earlier this year, the first American actress to win at the French awards.) Best supporting actor went to Mark Rylance, who plays Soviet spy Rudolf Abel in Steven Spielberg's Cold War drama "Bridge of Spies."
This year's Oscar race is seen by many as wide open, and the early results from various groups have done nothing to dispel that. On Monday, "Spotlight" topped the Gotham Independent Awards. On Tuesday, the National Board of Review elected "Mad Max: Fury Road" its best film of the year.
Things continue to heat up over the next week with the Los Angeles Critics Association announcing its awards on Sunday. Screen Actors Guild and Golden Globe nominations are also coming next week.
The NYFCC, one of the country's most influential critics groups, will surely add momentum to the Academy Awards fortunes of "Carol," which has thus far only played in extremely limited release.
"Timbuktu," a Mali drama about a village under jihadist control nominated earlier this year for the Oscars, won best foreign language film. Frederick Wiseman's Queens documentary, "In Jackson Heights," took best documentary. And Pixar's "Inside Out" earned best animated film.
The group also announced several special awards, including one for composer Ennio Morricone, who scored Quentin Tarantino's upcoming "The Hateful Eight," and another honoring the legacy of William Becker and Janus Films. Becker, who made Janus one of the premiere art-house distributors, died in September.
The awards will be handed out in a ceremony on Jan. 4.
Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jakecoyleAP