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Benedict Cumberbatch and Lady Gaga win acting awards from New York Film Critics Circle

Benedict Cumberbatch and Lady Gaga won top acting honors from the New York Film Critics Circle, which announced this year's awards on Friday. The awards are considered a major precursor to the Oscar race.

Cumberbatch won best actor for his performance as a sadistic rancher in the period western "The Power of the Dog," while Gaga was named best actress for her role as a scheming member of the Gucci family in "House of Gucci."

"Drive My Car," Ryusuke Hamaguchi's thrilling adaptation of a Haruki Murakami short story, was named the year's best film. The three-hour tale of grief and forgiveness tells the moving story of a theater director whose life has been upended by tragedy and an unfaithful partner, only to find a path to acceptance via the young woman tasked with chauffeuring him in his car. "Drive My Car" is Japan's submission for this year's Academy Awards. 

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Benedict Cumberbatch in "The Power of the Dog"; Lady Gaga in "House of Gucci"; and Hidetoshi Nishijima and Toko Miura in "Drive My Car." Netflix; MGM; Sideshow/Janus Films

"The Power of the Dog" also earned awards for Jane Campion as Best Director and Kodi Smit-McPhee for Best Supporting Actor.  Smit-McPhee plays a sensitive young man taunted by Cumberbatch's cruel uncle.

Kathryn Hunter won best supporting actress for her chilling performance as the witches in Joel Coen's stunning Shakespearean dramatization "The Tragedy of Macbeth."

Other categories:

Best Screenplay: Paul Thomas Anderson for his coming-of-age drama "Licorice Pizza," set in the San Fernando Valley in the 1970s.

Best Non-Fiction Film: "Flee," a documentary told through animation, about an Afghan refugee in Denmark.

Best Foreign-Language Film: "The Worst Person in the World," from Norway, starring Renate Reinsve as a young millennial who is unsure of her path, wary of relationships, and not averse to cheating on those she professes to love.

Best Cinematography: "West Side Story," whose photography director, Janusz Kaminski, has previously won Academy Awards for "Schindler's List' and "Saving Private Ryan."

Best First Film: "The Lost Daughter," a psychological drama that is Maggie Gyllenhaal's directorial debut.

Best Animated Film: "The Mitchells vs. the Machines."

Special Award: Maya Cade for the creation of the Black Film Archive, an online showcase of Black cinema dating from 1915 to 1979. 

Special Award: Diane Weyermann, presented posthumously, for her support of daring and impactful filmmaking at the Sundance Institute and Participant.

Special Award: Film critic Marshall Fine for his years of service as general manager of the New York Film Critics Circle.

The New York Film Critics Circle is comprised of 50 print and online movie reviewers based in the city, and is the oldest critics group in the country. It's also the first critics' group to announce its best-of choices for the year. 

Their awards will be handed out in early January.

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