'The Tree of Life' Wins Three San Francisco Critics Awards, Including Best Picture

"The Tree of Life" Surges to Life
Courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures

With a $32 million budget, Terrence Malick's poetic, polarizing drama stretches the definition of an "indie." But it scored a win for best feature at the Gothams (tying with "Beginners"), and the New York Film Critics named Brad Pitt best actor and Jessica Chastain best supporting actress.

The San Francisco Critics Circle rallied around The Tree of Life on Sunday, naming it the best picture of the year and giving its best director award to the film's Terrence Malick. It also singled out the movie's Emmanuel Lubezki for best cinematography.

The group, comprised of 31 Bay Area film critics, met at the Variety Club Screening Room, where it voted Gary Oldman best actor for his portrayal of a British intelligence officer in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy while hailing Tilda Swinton as best actress for portraying the mother of a severely troubled boy in We Need to Talk About Kevin.

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Supporting actor and actress awards went to Albert Brooks for Drive and Vanessa Redgrave for Coriolanus.

The Tinker writing team of Bridget O'Connor and Peter Straughan took the best adapted screenplay prize, and J.C. Chandor received the best original screenplay prize for Margin Call.

Rango was named best animated feature; Certified Copy, best foreign language film; and Tabloid, best documentary.

STORY: Gotham Awards 2011: 'Tree of Life,' 'Beginners' Tie for Best Feature

A special citation for an underappreciated independent film was given to The Mill and the Cross.

The National Film Preservation Foundation received the Marlon Riggs Award for courage and vision in the Bay Area film community.