The Toronto Film Critics Association has picked Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master as the best picture of 2012, while Amour is best foreign film.
The TFCA lavished praise on The Master, the story of a disturbed navy veteran who falls under the spell of a charismatic religious leader, in its yearend list of the best in film, released Monday at midnight.
In addition to naming it best picture, the Toronto critics named Anderson best director and best screenwriter for the screenplay.
Philip Seymour Hoffman, playing a powerful religious leader who was rumoured to be based on Scientology leader L. Ron Hubbard, was named best supporting actor.
In selecting The Master as best film, the Toronto critics are following the lead of critics in Boston, San Francisco and Los Angeles. The film won a Silver Lion in Venice and is nominated for a Golden Globe for best film.
The Weinstein Co. production is widely believed to be a contender for an Oscar nomination for best film.
Amour, Michael Haneke’s love story about a couple in their 80s, was runner-up in the best picture race, as well as winning the best foreign-language film award.
Sarah Polley’s documentary Stories We Tell, about her own out-of-wedlock conception, was named best documentary.
The unusual indie film set in a mystical bayou, Beasts of the Southern Wild, was tied for best first feature with Beyond the Black Rainbow, about a woman trying to escape a futuristic commune.
The TFCA will present a $100,000 prize to the best Canadian film for the first time when it has its award gala on Jan. 8.
It has selected three films as finalists for the award:
Bestiaire, directed by Denis Coté.
Goon, directed by Michael Dowse.
Stories We Tell, directed by Sarah Polley.
The TFCA, established in 1997, is a group of Toronto-based journalists and broadcasters who specialize in film criticism and commentary.