Godard movie 'Goodbye to Language' is critics group's top film

The film was narrowly choosen over Richard Linklater’s acclaimed ‘Boyhood’.

Swiss French New Wave director Jean-Luc Godard Godard. Picture: AFP.

NEW YORK - The National Society of Film Critics on Saturday named Jean-Luc Godard's 3-D film Goodbye to Language the best picture of the year, narrowly choosing it over Richard Linklater's acclaimed Boyhood, for which Linklater won best director.

The group, made up of 59 prominent movie critics from newspapers, magazines and other media outlets, chose Timothy Spall as best actor for Mr. Turner, about 19th-century British artist JMW Turner.

Marion Cotillard won best actress for Two Days, One Night, a Belgian drama about a factory worker who must lobby co-workers in order to keep her job, as well as for her work in The Immigrant, in which she plays a Polish woman who faces hardships upon arriving in New York in 1921.

Best supporting actress went to Patricia Arquette for Boyhood, which chronicles 12 years in the life of a boy and which was filmed with the same actor over 12 years. JK Simmons won best supporting actor for Whiplash, playing a hard-driving music teacher.

In choosing Goodbye to Language for their top honour, the critics departed from other groups such as the National Board of Review, the New York Film Critics Circle and even the Golden Globes, all of which ignored the film in their annual honours.

The inscrutable film, which even admirers called baffling, involves a married woman and a single man, and a stray dog. Shot in 3-D, a second film paralleling the first unfolds during the course of its 70-minute running time.

The critics awards are among the last in the run-up to the Oscar nominations, to be announced on 15 January in Los Angeles. The Academy Awards ceremony is slated for 22 February.

Godard, 84, is among the world's most acclaimed directors, known for such classics as Breathless, Contempt and Weekend.

In other awards, the critics chose Citizenfour, about Edward Snowden and the National Security Agency spying scandal, as best nonfiction, or documentary film, while _The Grand Budapest Hotel _by Wes Anderson won for best screenplay. Best cinematography went to Mr. Turner.

Film heritage honours went to a curator and film conservation manager at New York's Museum of Modern Art, and to Ron Hutchinson of The Vitaphone Project, which restores original soundtracks for early sound films.