‘Spotlight,’ Kristen Stewart Lead National Society of Film Critics Winners

Stewart sweeps another critics circle for her role in “Clouds of Sils Maria”

“Spotlight” once again finds its place on center stage, after the National Society of Film Critics named it the best movie of 2015.

The drama, written by Josh Singer and director Tom McCarthy, also received the best screenplay honor for the story about reporters who exhaustively worked to uncover pedophile Roman Catholic priests in Boston.

The award came as something of a surprise for a group that normally goes off the beaten path in selecting its film of the year.

“Carol” finished as the best-picture runner up, with “Mad Max: Fury Road” in third place. “Carol” director Todd Haynes beat McCarthy for best-director honors, with “Mad Max” director George Miller finishing third.

Charlotte Rampling took Best Actress for her turbulent marriage drama “45 Years,” with Saoirse Ronan finishing second for “Brooklyn.” Michael B. Jordan earned Best Actor for the boxing drama “Creed” over Geza Rohrig for “Son of Saul.”

Keeping in line with other critic groups in Boston and New York, Kristen Stewart was named Best Supporting Actress for her Cesar-winning performance in “Clouds of Sils Maria.” Mark Rylance took Best Supporting Actor for “Bridge of Spies.”

“Amy” and “Timbuktu” were named the year’s best non-fiction film and foreign-language film, respectively.

The National Society of Film Critics was established in 1966, with its co-founders including Pauline Kael, Joe Morgenstern, Richard Schickel and Hollis Alpert. The group currently has 53 active members, although eight of them disqualified themselves from this year’s voting because they hadn’t seen all the contenders.

Typically, the NSFC’s choices are more idiosyncratic than the Academy’s, and more oriented toward foreign cinema. Last year’s best-film winner was Jean-Luc Godard‘s “Goodbye to Language,” while other recent winners have included “Inside Llewyn Davis,” “Amour,” “Melancholia,” “Waltz With Bashir” and “There Will Be Blood.”

Only five films in 49 years have won the NSFC’s top award and gone on to win the Best Picture Oscar, the most recent of those being “The Hurt Locker” in 2010. The others were “Million Dollar Baby,” “Schindler’s List,” “Unforgiven” and “Annie Hall.”

Read the full list of winners below.

National Society of Film Critics 2015 Winners

Best Picture: “Spotlight”

Best Director: Todd Haynes, “Carol” 

Best Actress: Charlotte Rampling, “45 Years”

Best Actor: Michael B. Jordan, “Creed”

Best Supporting Actress: Kristen Stewart, “Clouds of Sils Maria”

Best Supporting Actor: Mark Rylance, “Bridge of Spies”

Best Screenplay: Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy, “Spotlight”

Best Cinematography: Ed Lachman, “Carol”

Best Foreign Language Film: “Timbuktu”

Best Non-Fiction Film: “Amy”