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Toronto Film Critics Name 'The Tree of Life' Best Movie of the Year

Sean Penn in Tree of Life
Fox Searchlight

Terrence Malick receives the best director trophy, while "My Week With Marilyn's" Michelle Williams and "Take Shelter's" Michael Shannon are chosen as best actress and actor, respectively.

TORONTO – The Tree of Life has been tapped as the best film of 2011 by the Toronto Film Critics Association, which also gave Terrence Malick the best director trophy for his epic about boyhood and the end of innocence in 1950s Texas.

The closest competition in voting by the Toronto critics group came from Michel Hazanavicius' The Artist and Alexander Payne's The Descendants, both major award season contenders on the road to the Oscars.

PHOTOS: 'The Tree of Life' Premiere

The Tree of Life, which stars Brad Pitt and Sean Penn, in the last week received best film honors from the San Fransisco and African-American film critics associations.

The TFCA also gave Michael Shannon the best actor award for his star turn in Jeff Nichols' Take Shelter, a film that also earned Jessica Chastain the best supporting actress crown.

The 15th annual TFCA awards also honored Michelle Williams with the best actress prize for her role as Marilyn Monroe in Simon Curtis' My Week With Marilyn.

PHOTOS: The Making of 'My Week With Marilyn'

And Christopher Plummer won for best supporting actor for his role in Mike Mills' Beginners as an elderly gay man who comes out of the closet after learning he has terminal cancer.

Best screenplay went to Moneyball, written by Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin, while the best foreign-language film honor was given to the late Chilean director Raul Ruiz for Mysteries of Lisbon, while Patricio Guzman’s Nostalgia for the Light won for best documentary feature.

Rounding out the Toronto prize-giving was British writer-director Joe Cornish’s Attack the Block winning for best first feature, while the best animated feature prize went to The Adventures of Tintin, directed by Steven Spielberg.

The Toronto film critics will reveal the best Canadian feature prize at a Jan. 10 kudofest in Toronto.