Irish star Michael Fassbender could be on course for Oscar recognition after he won prize from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association.
Fassbender was named best actor for a successful year that included leading roles as a sex addict in Shame, as a genetic mutant X-Men: First Class, as psychiatrist Carl Jung in A Dangerous Method and as the brooding Rochester in Jane Eyre.
Veteran actor Christopher Plummer took best supporting actor for Beginners, in which he plays an elderly father who tells his son he is gay.
Along with the New York Film Critics Circle, the LA reviewers' awards are among the key critical picks that help single out potential favourites in the run-up to the Academy Awards in February.
Electronic duo the Chemical Brothers, who won the best music score accolade for action thriller Hanna.
Janet McTeer was named runner-up in the best supporting actress category for her role as a woman who disguises herself as a male labourer in Albert Nobbs.
She was pipped to the prize by Jessica Chastain, who won for a clutch of films including Tree Of Life.
Other wins included family drama The Descendants, starring George Clooney, which was named best film, and Terrence Malick, who was named best director for Tree of Life.
The best actress prize went to Yun Jung-Hee for the South Korean drama Poetry, while Kirsten Dunst was runner-up for her role in Melancholia.
Best actor runner-up was Michael Shannon for Take Shelter, and Patton Oswalt was the runner-up in the best supporting actor category for Young Adult.
Tree Of Life, starring Brad Pitt, was also runner-up in the best film category, while Martin Scorsese claimed the directing runner-up for 3-D film Hugo.