LOS ANGELES – The French-language drama “Amour” was chosen as the year’s best film Sunday by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, whose prizes are among a flurry of year-end honors that help sort out the Academy Awards race.

Among the group’s other honors, the 1950s cult drama “The Master” earned four awards: best director for Paul Thomas Anderson, best actor for Joaquin Phoenix, supporting actress for Amy Adams and production design for David Crank and Jack Fisk.

“The Master” also was chosen as best-picture runner-up. The film stars Phoenix as a volatile World War II veteran who comes under the sway of a charismatic cult leader. Adams co-stars as the cult leader’s tough-minded wife.

“Amour” star Emmanuelle Riva, who plays an elderly, ailing woman being cared for by her husband, shared the best-actress honor in a tie with Jennifer Lawrence of the lost-soul romance “Silver Linings Playbook.”

Newcomer Dwight Henry was chosen as supporting actor for the low-budget critical darling “Beasts of the Southern Wild.”

The film’s writer-director, Benh Zeitlin, received the group’s New Generation Award and shared the prize for best music score with composing partner Dan Romer.

Directed by Michael Haneke, “Amour” is Austria’s entry for the foreign-language Oscar and won the top honor at the Cannes Film Festival in May.

The choice by the Los Angeles critics marked a move away from bigger Hollywood productions that the group favored the last two years when it named George Clooney’s “The Descendants” as best film of 2011 and David Fincher’s “The Social Network” as tops for 2010.

The Los Angeles critics’ picks came days after both the New York Film Critics Circle and the National Board of Review chose Kathryn Bigelow’s Osama bin Laden manhunt docudrama “Zero Dark Thirty” as the best film of the year.Photos by The Associated Press

Jean-Louis Trintignant, left, is one of the stars in the Austrian film, ‘Amour,’ named Sunday as the best film of 2012 by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association in a prelude to the Academy Awards.

Bond moves back into top spot over ‘Rise of the Guardians’

LOS ANGELES – James Bond is in a box-office photo finish with Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny over what looks to be the last slow weekend of the holidays.

According to studio estimates Sunday, Sony’s Bond tale “Skyfall” took in $11 million to move back to No. 1 in its fifth weekend.

That put it narrowly ahead of Paramount’s “Rise of the Guardians,” the animated adventure of Santa, the Easter Bunny and other mythological heroes that pulled in $10.5 million.

The two movies inched ahead of Summit Entertainment’s “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2,” which had been tops for three-straight weekends. The “Twilight” finale earned $9.2 million, slipping into a tight race for No. 3 with Disney’s “Lincoln,” which was close behind with $9.1 million.

The top movies were bunched up so closely that rankings could change once final weekend revenues are released Monday.

The weekend’s only new wide release, Gerard Butler’s romantic comedy “Playing for Keeps,” flopped with just $6 million, coming in at No. 6.

“Skyfall” raised its domestic total to $261.6 million and added $20.3 million overseas to bring its international income to $656.6 million. At $918 million worldwide, “Skyfall” has the best cash haul ever for the Bond franchise and surpassed “Spider-Man 3″ at $890 million to become Sony’s top-grossing hit.

The “Twilight” finale also is a franchise record-breaker, surpassing the $710 million worldwide haul of last year’s “Breaking Dawn – Part 1.” The finale’s domestic total now stands at $268.7 million.

“Rise of the Guardians” led the international box office with $26 million, followed by 20th Century Fox’s “Life of Pi” at $23.8 million.

It was another traditionally quiet post-Thanksgiving weekend, with big November releases continuing to dominate in the lull before a pre-Christmas onslaught of movies.

The box office is expected to soar next weekend with the arrival of part one of “The Hobbit,” Peter Jackson’s “The Lord of the Rings” prelude. After that comes a steady rush of action, comedy and drama through year’s end, including Tom Cruise’s “Jack Reacher,” Quentin Tarantino and Jamie Foxx’s “Django Unchained,” Seth Rogen’s “The Guilt Trip” and Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe’s “Les Miserables.”

Comedian gets arrested after chase by police

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Comedian Katt Williams has been arrested in northern California on a felony warrant related to a police chase.

The Sacramento Bee reports that Williams was arrested Friday night in Dunnigan, about 25 miles north of Sacramento, by Yolo County deputies.

The paper says he was released from the county jail Saturday after posting bail.

The sheriff’s department confirmed Williams’ arrest late Saturday, but staffers on duty didn’t have details. A spokesman for the comedian didn’t immediately return a call and email.

The California Highway Patrol says Williams fled officers on a three-wheeled motorcycle on Nov. 25 after being spotted driving on a downtown Sacramento sidewalk.

The CHP said Williams was asked to stop and refused, leading to the pursuit.

The CHP says Williams nearly hit five people during the chase, which police ended for safety reasons.

– From news service reports