The Israeli film 'The Gatekeepers'
The Israeli film 'The Gatekeepers.' Photo by Toldot Yisrael
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Israeli documentary "The Gatekeepers" was awarded the nonfiction, or documentary prize by the National Society of Film Critics in the U.S. on Saturday.

The film by director Dror Moreh features interviews with six former Shin Bet directors, who speak about their service and the leaders they served. Each one returns again and again to a central question: Can basic values of universal justice and democracy be upheld in the face of frequent threats against the State of Israel?

Moreh's film, which has been screened at several major festivals and was acquired by Sony Pictures Classics for distribution, has also been selected for the Academy Awards' short list for best documentary nominees along with another Israeli entry, "5 Broken Cameras," directed by Emad Burnat and Guy Davidi.

The National Society of Film Critics, which is made up of 60 prominent movie critics from newspapers, magazines and other media outlets across the U.S., named "Amour," European director Michael Haneke's sensitive depiction of an aging couple's battle with declining health, as the year's best film. Emmanuelle Riva won best actress for her role in the production, and Haneke took the prize for best director. "Amour" is Austria's official submission for the best foreign language film category.

Tony Kushner took the best screenplay award for "Lincoln," and best cinematography went to "The Master." The critics chose Daniel Day-Lewis as best actor for his acclaimed performance in the title role in "Lincoln." Best supporting actor went to Matthew McConaughey for the male stripper film "Magic Mike," while Amy Adams won best supporting actress for "The Master."

The critics' awards are among the last handed out in the run-up to the Oscar nominations, which will be announced on Thursday in Los Angeles, with the Academy Awards gala slated for February 24.