National Society of Film Critics Lost in Splendor

The critics continue to chime in with their pics as the awards season ramps up. The National Society of Film Critics hung the Best Picture medal on HBO Films/Fine Line Features’ American Splendor, which chronicles the life and career of famed underground cartoonist Harvey Pekar.

The biopic, which features short pieces of animation, edged out runner-up Mystic River from Warner Bros. and director Clint Eastwood, and also snagged Best Screenplay for writers/directors Robert Pulcini and Shari Springer.

Eastwood picked up a Best Director win for Mystic River, lording over The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King helmer Peter Jackson. Return of the King, which the New York Film Critics Circle named Best Picture, also lost Best Cinematography to Twentieth Century Fox’s period epic Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (Russell Boyd).

Other Winners:

Best Actor

Bill Murray, Lost in Translation

(RU: Sean Penn, Mystic River)

Best Actress

Charlize Theron, Monster

(RU: Hope Davis, American Splendor & The Secret Lives of Dentists)

Best Supporting Actor

Peter Sarsgaard, Shattered Glass

(RU: Tim Robbins, Mystic River)

Best Supporting Actress

Patricia Clarkson, The Station Agent & Pieces of April

Best Foreign-language Film

The Man Without a Past, directed by Aki Kaurismaki

Best Documentary

To Be and To Have, directed by Nicolas Philibert

Film Heritage Award

Kino International for DVD collections on F.W. Murnau, Erich von Stroheim and the American Film Theater Series.

Milestone Film & Video for theatrical & DVD presentations of Michael Powell’s The Edge of the World, E.A. Dupont’s Picadilly, Andre Antoine’s La Terre and Evgenei Bauer’s Mad Love series.