The National Society of Film Critics (NSFC) is an American film critic organization. The organization is known for its highbrow tastes, and its annual awards are one of the most prestigious film critics awards in the United States. As of January 2014 the NSFC have approximately 60 members who write for a variety of weekly and daily newspapers along with major publications and media outlets.
National Society of Film Critics was founded in 1966 in the New York City apartment of Saturday Review critic Hollis Alpert, one of several co-founding film critics who was refused membership to the New York Film Critics Circle, as it preferred critics who worked for mainstream newspapers. His co-founders included Pauline Kael, a writer for The New Yorker; Joe Morgenstern, then a movie reviewer for Newsweek; and Richard Schickel, a film critic for Life Magazine. The Society was also founded in order to counteract the influence of New York Times critic Bosley Crowther, who dominated the New York City film critic scene for many years. The original founding film critics, who were overwhelmingly based in New York, called their new group a "national" organization because they wrote for a number of magazines and newspapers with a national circulation. Past distinguished members include Dave Kehr, Jonathan Rosenbaum, the late Roger Ebert, Richard Corliss, and Stanley Kauffmann; current prominent members include Peter Travers, Stephanie Zacharek, Kenneth Turan, Lisa Schwarzbaum, Gerald Peary, David Sterritt, and David Edelstein.
The organization is known for its highbrow tastes, and its annual awards are one of the most prestigious film critics awards in the United States. In past years, many of its Best Picture winners have been foreign films and the choices rarely parallel the Academy Awards. It has agreed with the Oscar in seven instances over the past forty years: 1977's Annie Hall, 1992's Unforgiven, 1993's Schindler's List, 2004's Million Dollar Baby, 2009's The Hurt Locker, 2015's Spotlight and 2016's Moonlight. Five other winners did receive the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film: Z, Le charme discret de la bourgeoisie (The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie), La nuit américaine (Day for Night), Préparez vos mouchoirs (Get Out Your Handkerchiefs), and Amour.
The NSFC is also the American representative of the International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI), which comprises the national organizations of professional film critics and film journalists from around the world.
The society has published an ongoing series of anthologies of articles including:
The society, which was founded in 1966 and includes principal critics from major papers and outlets, often disagrees with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences over their top choices.