In a surprise move, the National Society of Film Critics chose "Waltz With Bashir" as the year's best film on Saturday. Other film associations had picked "Slumdog Millionaire," "Milk" or "Wall-E" for the category.
Israeli director Ari Folman's memoir of his years as a soldier during the 1982 war with Lebanon, "Waltz With Bashir" has been described as an animated documentary. The New York Times calls it "an altogether amazing film."
Last year, Folman's film about the Lebanon war captured the Ophir Awards, Israel's version of the Oscars.
The movie, which was an official committee selection at this year's Cannes Film Festival, walked away with awards in six categories in Tel Aviv, including best film - which means it will represent Israel at the Academy Awards in the best foreign film category. It also won best direction, best script, best soundtrack, best artistic design and best editing.
"Waltz with Bashir" follows the director's real-life attempts to reconstruct his missing memory from the time he served as a soldier in the Israel Defense Forces during the first Lebanon war, which began in 1982.
The International Documentary Association named "Waltz with Bashir" best feature-length documentary of the year.
Sean Penn, who stars in "Milk," and "Happy-Go-Lucky"'s Sally Hawkins were named best actor and actress on Saturday by the National Society of Film Critics, positioning them as front-runners for next month's Academy Awards.