Last month the Toronto Film Critics Association named “The Social Network” as the best film of 2010 and an American counterpart has also chosen the picture, based on Ben Mezrich’s book “The Accidental Billionaires”, as its pick as the top movie last year.

Jesse Eisenberg, who portrayed Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in the film, also impressed the National Society of Film Critics — an association comprised of 61 American movie writers, including Roger Ebert and David Denby of The New Yorker. The group named Eisenberg best actor at its annual awards in Manhattan.

David Fincher was named best director and the American critics said Aaron Sorkin penned the best screenplay.

Giovanna Mezzogiorno received the best actress honour for her role in “Vincere”, a film that outlines Benito Mussolini’s rise to power.

Olivia Williams from “Ghost Writer” was named best supporting actress and Geoffrey Rush best supporting actor for his work in “The King’s Speech”.

While the critics’ picks in the past haven’t had a significant influence on the outcome of the Academy Awards, they do help to highlight new movies.

Along with its best of 2010 picks, the group also used its annual awards ceremony Saturday to denounce the current film ratings system as set by the Motion Picture Association of America.

The critics were pleased about a decision by the Classification & Ratings Administration (CARA) of the MPAA to repeal the NC-17 rating originally slapped on the Ryan Gosling-Michelle Williams movie “Blue Valentine”. The film was given a lesser “R” rating.

“But several other recent decisions by CARA have been allowed to stand, and these call into question the integrity and legitimacy of that office as it is presently constituted,” the group said in a statement.

The National Society highlighted the “R” rating given to “The King’s Speech” for language. In the movie about King George VI’s speech impediment, the monarch is told to swear to help ease his stammer.

The group also criticized the “R” ratings given to two documentaries: “The Tillman Story”, about the military cover-up of a soldier’s death in Afghanistan, which got the “R” for language, and “A Film Unfinished” about a Nazi-produced film on the Warsaw Ghetto, which got the rating for “disturbing images of Holocaust atrocities, including graphic nudity.”

The film critics described CARA’s practices as “inconsistent and censorious”.

“It’s clear that the board has become an agency of de facto censorship,” the group said. “There is a difference between giving parents the information they need to make a decision as to which films they want their children to see, and a system whose decisions make it harder for adults — and their children — to see films clearly meant for them.”