‘Hugo’ and George Clooney selected as winners by critics of National Borad of Review

In the latest round of awards season jockeying, the National Board of Review announced its picks this afternoon for the best efforts of the movie year, choosing “Hugo” as the best film of 2011.

Martin Scorsese’s simultaneous celebration of cinematic tradition and 3-D magic also earned the veteran filmmaker the best director title from the board, a nonprofit group of film scholars and enthusiasts whose choices typically kick off the annual round of movie prize-giving. The New York Critics Circle beat them to the punch this year by announcing its selections on Tuesday; that group went in a slightly different direction, naming “The Artist” as best picture. Apparently at this stage in Awards Season 2011-12, the battle for supremacy is between two films that both wear their reverence for movie history on their motion-picture sleeves.

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