Mike D'Angelo is my favorite film critic. It's entirely possible you haven't heard of him, though it's certainly possible that you have. Back in the days before there was a poker blogosphere, there was already a thriving movie nerd site-osphere*, and D'Angelo was one of the early adopters; a Blogfather of film criticism, if you like. He's done some writing-for-hire for Entertainment Weekly, and for Esquire, and for Time Out, and he currently pens an invaluable series called Scenic Routes for the AV Club. He manages to find his way to the major film festivals. There's a bunch of people like him; they're out there on Twitter and on blogs, and they're putting out high-quality film criticism.
The reason I'm telling you this is that this group's annual awards, called "The Skandies", are going on right now on D'Angelo's blog; a Top 20 of the year for Best Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, Supp. Actor, Supp. Actress, Screenplay, and Scene, presented in reverse order along with some brief notes on the history of a winner/nominee over the Skandies' now 15-year run. For my money, these are THE film awards of the year, and influence my decision in terms of what I do and do not see far more than your more prominent critic's prizes. These people have exacting taste and quick wits, and the debates that rage (usually friendly) in the comments are worth a look, too.
The Best Scene category is a true gem, by the way. Every year I look forward to seeing what might pop up.
Check Out The Skandies
*I was a tertiary member of that group with the original FilmChaw site - tertiary enough that it is likely that almost none of the people reviewing back in 2001 and 2002 would be aware that I was in existence. These were the days before blogs, which means the days before comments, which means that the only feedback I personally ever received was a very long and angry email from somebody who had taken great offense to my pan of the crappy sequel Matrix: Ridiculous. Nor was I alone; the great majority of (generally) ugly self-created sites were linked to one another, but actual interaction was limited to message boards and other antediluvian methods of communication. Truly, it was a dark age.