The French movie about an aged couple, Amour, was the surprise choice for best film of 2012 by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, while Joaquin Phoenix was named best actor for his role as a troubled outsider in the drama The Master.
In a list that broke ranks with early movie award picks in New York, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association named Paul Thomas Anderson best director for The Master and the film's Amy Adams best supporting actress.
Zero Dark Thirty, the thriller about the killing of Osama bin Laden, took just one award, for best editing.
Nominations are to be announced later this week for the Screen Actors Guild and Golden Globe awards, in what are likely to be leading indicators for the Oscars in February.
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