'Melancholia' picked best film by nat'l film group

January 7, 2012 - 9:51 PM

NEW YORK (AP) — Lars von Trier's drama "Melancholia" has been selected by the National Society of Film Critics as the best picture of 2011.

Star Kirsten Dunst was picked by the society's 58 members as best actress for her portrayal of the main character in the film that ponders the end of the world.

The society is comprised of prominent movie critics from around the country. It announced its picks Saturday in New York City.

Society members also chose Brad Pitt as best actor for his performances in "Moneyball" and "The Tree of Life"; Terrance Malick as best director, also for "The Tree of Life"; and Werner Herzog's "Cave of Forgotten Dreams" as best nonfiction film.

The group's picks can help galvanize interest in films ahead of February's Academy Awards.