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Ben Affleck ARGO Top Nevada Critics Awards

Ben Affleck Argo movie awardsBen Affleck, Argo, Kathryn Bigelow top Nevada Film Critics Awards

Ben Affleck's political thriller Argo, about the rescue of six American hostages in Iran in 1980, was chosen as the Best Film of 2012 by the Nevada Film Critics Society. Affleck, who also stars in the film, had to share Best Director honors with the director of another political thriller pitting U.S. agents against Islamic radicals: Kathryn Bigelow, for the controversial get-Osama thriller Zero Dark Thirty. (Image: Ben Affleck Argo.)

SAG Award and Golden Globe nominee John Hawkes was voted Best Actor for playing a disabled man (and virgin) who hires a sex surrogate in The Sessions. Hawkes' co-star, Helen Hunt, shared Best Actress honors with Jennifer Lawrence for her performance in David O. Russell's Silver Linings Playbook. Note: Elsewhere, Helen Hunt has been shortlisted in the Best Supporting Actress category.

In the supporting categories the winners were Tommy Lee Jones as Thaddeus Stevens and Sally Field as Mary Todd Lincoln for Steven Spielberg's Lincoln, which also won for Best Ensemble Cast. Curiously, Lincoln's Daniel-Day Lewis, the North American critics' overwhelming top Best Actor choice to date, was not singled out – at least among the Nevada Critics winners. Other Lincoln cast members include Joseph Gordon-Levitt, James Spader, and Hal Holbrook.

The Impossible's Tom Holland was cited for the year's Best Youth Performance. Juan Antonio Bayona directed the tsunami / family drama starring Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts, which happens to be Spain's biggest box office hit of 2012 – by a wide margin: $52.99 million vs. runner-up The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2, with $27.95m.

The other winners were Tim Burton's generally well-received but financially disappointing Frankenweenie as Best Animated Movie; Tom Hooper's musical Les Misérables for Best Production Design; and Ang Lee's 3D fantasy Life of Pi for Best Cinematography (Claudio Miranda) and Best Visual Effects.

Curiously, the Nevada Film Critics Society – which began handing out citations last year – don't have awards categories for Best Screenplay and Best Foreign Language Film.

Ben Affleck Argo photo: Warner Bros.

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