The NSFC also hailed Michael B. Jordan as the year's best actor for portraying the title role in "Creed," and Charlotte Rampling was tapped as best actress for her performance as a long-married wife in "45 Years."
Mark Rylance was named best supporting actor for "Bridge of Spies," while Kristen Stewart scored the best supporting actress nod for "Clouds of Sils Maria."
Best director honors went to Todd Haynes for his period romance Carol.
Fifty-three active members of the society took part in the organization's 50th annual voting meeting, held at the Film Society of Lincoln Center in New York City.
Best picture: Spotlight
Best actor: Michael B. Jordan, Creed
Best actress: Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years
Best supporting actor: Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
Best supporting actress: Kristen Stewart, Clouds of Sils Maria
Best director: Todd Haynes, Carol
Best screenplay: Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy, Spotlight
Best cinematography: Ed Lachman, Carol
Best foreign-language film: Timbuktu
Best non-fiction film: Amy
Film Heritage: Film Society of Lincoln Center/Jake Perlin, Michelle Materre, Tell It Like It Is: Black Independents in New York, 1968-1986
Film Heritage: Criterion Collection/LiImmagine Ritrovate for the restoration and packaging of The Apu Trilogy by Satyajit Ray
Film Heritage: Association Chaplin for supervising the digital restoration of Charlie Chaplin's Essanay Films
Special Citation for a Film Awaiting American Distribution: Radu Muntean's One Floor Below