About Schmidt, a dark comedy starring Jack Nicholson as a retired widower searching for meaning in life, was named the year's best picture by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association.

Nicholson cinched best actor honors -- in a tie with Daniel Day-Lewis, who plays a murderous gang leader in the epic Gangs of New York, opening Friday.

The best actress award went to Julianne Moore, who was cited for performances as troubled '50s housewives in two movies: the weepie Far From Heaven, which was named runner-up as best picture, and The Hours, a Virginia Woolf homage opening on Dec. 27.

Moore edged out runner-up Isabelle Huppert for The Piano Teacher.

Voting Saturday, the L.A. critics named Edie Falco best supporting actress for playing the owner of a rundown motel in Sunshine State, while Chris Cooper was cited as best supporting actor for the black comedy Adaptation, in which he portrays a Florida orchid thief.

Spain's Pedro Almodovar was named best director for the comic tragedy Talk to Her -- but his film ended up as runner-up as best foreign picture to winner Y Tu Mama Tambien, a Mexican coming-of-age story directed by Alfonso Cuaron. (Neither film is eligible for the foreign-language Oscar because they weren't submitted by their respective countries).

The animated-film award went to the Japanese Spirited Away, while About Schmidt picked up a third award for screenplay.

The New York Film Critics Circle will make its picks today.

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