Amour has beaten The Master to be named the Best Picture of 2012 by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association.

Michael Haneke's French drama, about an ageing married couple, pipped The Master to the top prize when the winners were announced on Sunday (09Dec12), but it wasn't all bad for filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson - he was crowned Best Director ahead of early Oscars favorite Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty) as his cast picked up two more main honors.

Joaquin Phoenix landed the Best Actor title for his portrayal of Freddie Quell, a troubled, alcoholic World War II veteran recovering from post-traumatic stress disorder, while his co-star Amy Adams earned the Best Supporting Actress accolade, beating Anne Hathaway's double effort in The Dark Knight Rises and Les Miserables.

Best Actress was a tie between Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook) and Emmanuelle Riva (Amour), and Best Supporting Actor went to Dwight Henry for Beasts of the Southern Wild.

The fantasy-drama also scored director Benh Zeitlin the New Generation award.

Ben Affleck's Argo claimed Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography went to Roger Deakins for Skyfall, and Dylan Tichenor and William Goldenberg won Best Editing for their work on Zero Dark Thirty, which chronicles the real-life search for, and killing of, terrorist Osama Bin Laden.

Frankenweenie was voted Best Animation, and The Gatekeepers was rated Best Documentary by L.A. pundits.

The Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards' recognition will be warmly welcomed by Anderson in the run-up to the Academy Award nominations after The Master was snubbed by both the New York Film Critics Circle and the National Board of Review last week (begs03Dec12).

Bigelow's Zero Dark Thirty claimed the big honors for best picture and director from both organisations.

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