Meryl Streep has won a best actress gong for her performance as Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady.
The actress was honoured with the award by The New York Film Critics Circle.
Brad Pitt won best actor for his performances in the baseball film Moneyball and Terrence Malick's cosmic drama Tree Of Life.
"It's a celebration of cinema," said John Anderson, chairman of the group and critic, of the Terrence Malick film.
"It's clever and it's upbeat and all that, but it's really about the movies. Of course, that's going to strike a chord among critics."
Albert Brooks earned best supporting actor for his against-type performance as a violent villain in the drama Drive.
The New York Film Critics Circle, a body of 33 Big Apple-based critics founded in 1935, describes its awards as "a principled alternative to the Oscars, honouring aesthetic merit in a forum that is immune to commercial and political pressures".
The gongs will be handed out during a ceremony on January 9.