Michael Haneke's Amour and Katheryn Bigelow's Zero Dark Thirty earned plenty of praise from US movie critics this weekend.
With a Palme d'Or under its belt (awarded at this year's Cannes film fest) Haneke's Amour was deemed Best Film of the year by LA's movie critics. Its female lead,
French actress Emmanuelle Riva, shared the best acting prize with Silver Linings Playbook's Jennifer Lawrence.
Boston's and New York's critic circles both praised the performance of Emmanuelle Riva, although they selected Katheryn Bigelow's Zero Dark Thirty as the Best Film of 2012. Their Los Angeles counterparts singled out Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master.
The critics' awards can provide an idea of the hottest films aiming for Oscar recognition.
The Academy Awards' final list of nominees will be made public on January 10, ahead of the ceremony, scheduled for February 24. Last year, critics from New York and Boston helped put French film The Artist on the map. It went on to snag five Oscars, including the Best Film award.