If there is one pre-Oscar awards that you can pretty much deal out of poker party to determine which movies, actors and directors will be heading home with an Academy Award, it is the National Society of Film Critics. Their choice of "Amour" as the Best Picture of 2012 is highly unlikely to be replicated by the time Oscar host Seth MacFarlane has made his 525th joke ripped off from minds far superior to his own.
The National Society of Film Critics is a society (obviously) made up of very loosely connected movie critics and journalists specializing in film who write for papers, magazines, web sites and TV networks around the country.
Newspapers as diverse as the Wall Street Journal and Village Voice are represented as well as critics working from Turner Classic Movies and NPR. The most famous member of this society is probably Roger Ebert for most, though Richard Corliss, Richard Schickel and Molly Haskell may well be more respected among cinephiles. Those who are familiar with that term may find the annual choices of awards given out by the National Society of Film Critics to be of much greater interest than the Oscars due to input from writers working for respected magazines like Film Comment, Rolling Stone and the New Yorker.
Despite the fact that the actual critics working for those entities have changed over the years, the choices for the ultimate honor from this particular society have remained consistently idiosyncratic. It is not going too far to suggest that most of those who tune in for the Academy Awards in 2013 will not only not have seen "Amour" but will likely never have even heard of it. While I will forever love the National Society of Film Critics for having the conviction to stick with great filmmaking over slick marketing by choosing "All the President's Men" over "Rocky" there can be little doubt that what truly made me love the National Society of Film Critics was the way they saw through the phoniness of "Braveheart" to reward the deceptively profound "Babe."