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'The Social Network' dominates the National Society of Film Critics awards [Updated]

January 8, 2011 |  2:02 pm

"The Social Network" express continues to pick up steam this movie-awards season, winning best picture Saturday from the National Society of Film Critics. The fast-paced drama about the creation of Facebook won a total of four awards. In addition to best picture, it also won best actor for Jesse Eisenberg, best director for David Fincher and screenplay for Aaron Sorkin.

The 45th annual National Society awards, which is known for its more esoteric choices, selected Giovanni Mezzogiorno as best actress for her role as Mussolini's mistress in the Italian film  "Vincere." Best supporting actress went to Olivia Williams in "The Ghost Writer," and Geoffrey Rush was named best supporting actor for "The King's Speech."

"The Social  Network" has won the lion's share of critics group honors this year, including from the Los Angeles Film Critics Assn. and the New York Film Critics Circle. It also is nominated for several Golden Globe awards.

Best nonfiction-film honors went to "Inside Job," while "Carlos" earned the best foreign language honor.  Best cinematography went to Roger Deakins for "True Grit." A special category was added to the awards Saturday at Sardi's Restaurant in New York: the best film still awaiting American distribution. The winner was "Film Socialisme."

Notably missing from the list of winners were such awards contenders as "Black Swan," "Inception," "The Kids Are All Right" and "Winter's Bone."

The National Society of Film Critics rarely agree in their selections with the  Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, although last year both organizations awarded  "The Hurt Locker" the  best picture prize.

Forty-six out of the 61 members of the society voted Saturday using a weighted ballot system.

Six Film Heritage Awards were selected: The Film Foundation for its 20th anniversary; Flicker Alley's DVD set "Chaplin at Keystone"; Fox's "The Elia Kazan Collection" DVD set; the National Film Preservation Foundation for the discovery of the long-lost 1927 John Ford film "Upstream"; Milestone Films for the release of the 1956 documentary "On the Bowery"; and UCLA Film and TV Archive for the restoration, and Milestone for the distribution, of 1978's "Word Is Out," the first documentary on gay and lesbian identity.

The group also issued two statements, the first condemning an Iranian court that last month  sentenced directors Jafar Panahi and Mohammad Rasoulof to six years in prison and banned both from filmmaking for 20 years, and another that called into question the "integrity and legitimacy" of the Classification & Ratings Administration of the Motion Picture Association due to the R rating it bestowed on "The King's Speech," among others.

There is no awards ceremony connected with the honors; scrolls will be sent to the winners.

-- Susan King

Photo: Rooney Mara and Jesse Eisenberg in "The Social Network." Credit: Merrick Morton/Columbia TriStar

[For the record, 2:22 p.m.: An earlier version of this post incorrectly said Milestone had restored, rather than released, "On the Bowery."]