"The Social Network," a tense drama recounting the back-stabbing early days of Facebook, was named best picture on Sunday by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, a group whose edgy picks rarely align with the Academy Awards.
The film won in three other categories including best director, where David Fincher tied with Olivier Assayas for the French terrorism epic "Carlos." It also won for Aaron Sorkin's screenplay and tied with "The Ghost Writer" for music/score.
"The Social Network" stars Jesse Eisenberg as Mark Zuckerberg, the billionaire founder of the popular Web site. The film depicts Zuckerberg harshly, and he has stepped up his charitable efforts in the wake of its release.
Foreigners took all four acting awards. In the lead categories, Oscar favorite Colin Firth won for his portrayal of Britain's stammering King George VI in "The King's Speech." Korean actress Kim Hye-ja was honored for her role as the vengeful title character in the crime drama "Mother"
The supporting acting races went to a pair of veterans who played criminals. French actor Niels Arestrup won for his role as a gangster in the prison drama "A Prophet," while Jacki Weaver was honored for her turn as a crime matriarch in Australia's "Animal Kingdom."
In other categories, "Carlos" also won for foreign-language film, "Toy Story 3" for animation, "Last Train Home" for documentary, "Black Swan" for cinematography, and "Inception" for production design.
In favoring sophisticated movies, the Los Angeles critics rarely foretell the best picture Oscar winner. But both groups were in alignment last year with "The Hurt Locker." They were previously on the same page for 1993's "Schindler's List."
Separately, "The Social Network" and "Toy Story 3" secured spots on the list of the American Film Institute's 10 top movies of 2010.
The film-promotion body's other top picks, in alphabetical order, were "Black Swan," "Inception," "The Fighter," "The Kids Are All Right," "127 Hours," "The Town," "True Grit" and "Winter's Bone." Notably missing was "The King's Speech."
The group, one of many industry bodies expounding on the year's best films as awards season heats up, does not list the films in order of merit.
Its choices followed a predictable path of acclaimed movies divided between mainstream and arthouse fare. "Black Swan" and "The Fighter" have only just come out in limited release, while the Coen brothers' remake of the Western "True Grit" hits the trail later this month. The results were determined by a jury of critics and other industry notables.