The New York Film Critics Circle (NYFCC) has named United 93 the best film of 2006, while Martin Scorsese’s best director award for The Departed kept his long-running Oscar quest on track.

Forest Whitaker and Helen Mirren won respective acting honours for The Last King of Scotland and The Queen, the latest evidence of a growing consensus in these two top categories.

Within the last week Whitaker and Mirren have been honoured by the National Board of Review and critics groups from Boston and Los Angeles, where Whitaker tied for the award with Sacha Baron-Cohen for Borat.

Jennifer Hudson won best supporting actress for Dreamgirls and Jackie Earle Haley took the corresponding male actor award for Little Children.

Peter Morgan won best screenplay for The Queen,and Jean-Pierre Melville’s 1969 film Army Of Shadows, which premiered in the US this year, was named best foreign language film. Amy Berg’s Deliver Us From Evil won the non-fiction award.

United93 narrowly beat The Queen in a close best film contest that group chair Marshall Fine of Star Magazine TV & Film said typified this morning’s vote. “It was hard-fought all day,” Fine said. “There were passionate feelings on all sides for a diverse group of films.”

The annual awards presentation will take place on Jan 7 at the Supper Club, a new venue for the organisation this year.

Full list of New York Film Critics Circle winners:

  • Best Film: United 93
  • Best Director: Martin Scorsese The Departed
  • Best Screenplay: Peter Morgan The Queen
  • Best Actress: Helen Mirren The Queen
  • Best Actor: Forest Whitaker The Last King Of Scotland
  • Best Supporting Actress: Jennifer Hudson Dreamgirls
  • Best Supporting Actor: Jackie Earle Haley Little Children
  • Best Cinematography: Guillermo Navarro Pan’s Labyrinth
  • Best Animated Film: Happy Feet
  • Best Non-fiction Film: Deliver Us From Evil
  • Best Foreign Language Film: Army Of Shadows
  • Best First Feature: Half Nelson