'I drink your milkshake!'

His fearsome turn as Daniel Plainview in Paul Thomas Anderson's "There Will Be Blood" earned Daniel Day-Lewis the top acting prize from the National Society of Film Critics. (Paramount Vantage)

“There Will be Blood,” Paul Thomas Anderson’s epic tale of oil, power and greed, was named best picture of 2007 Saturday by the National Society of Film Critics.

The complex and ambitious adaptation of Upton Sinclair’s “Oil!” also won best director for Anderson, best actor for Daniel Day-Lewis and best cinematography for Robert Elswit.

Last month, the Los Angeles Film Critics Assn. chose “There Will Be Blood” as the year’s best; Day-Lewis has received numerous critics’ honors including LAFCA, the New York Film Critics Circle and the Chicago Film Critics Assn.

“There Will Be Blood,” though, only managed to earn Golden Globe nominations for best picture (drama) and best actor (drama). By contrast, the Golden Globes’ top nominee, “Atonement,” went away empty-handed Saturday afternoon.

“The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” placed second in the best picture category with Joel and Ethan Coen’s “No Country for Old Men,” coming in third.

Forty-one out of the 61 members of the society, which is comprised of critics from major publications across the country, voted Saturday afternoon at the 42nd annual meeting at Sardi’s restaurant in New York City.

The film critics’ choices over the past four decades have been far more esoteric than the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ selections. In fact, both groups have only agreed four times on best picture in the past 30 years: 1977’s “Annie Hall,” 1992’s “Unforgiven,” 1993’s “Schindler’s List” and 2004’s “Million Dollar Baby.”

The group selected Julie Christie as best actress for her performance as a woman suffering from Alzheimer’s in “Away From Her.” Christie has been a critics’ darling this year, earning many accolades including best actress from the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures and the New York Film Critics Circle. Just as Day-Lewis, she is also nominated for a Golden Globe and a Screen Actors Guild Award.

Casey Affleck took best supporting actor for his role as Jesse James’ killer in “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.” Affleck is also in contention for a Golden Globe and SAG Award.

Cate Blanchett picked up best supporting actress honors for her gender-bending role as a Bob Dylan-esque singer in Todd Haynes’ off-beat “I’m Not There.” She’s also vying for a Golden Globe and SAG award.

Tamara Jenkins received best screenplay honors for “The Savages.” The non-fiction film award went to the Iraq war documentary, “No End in Sight,” and John Gianvito’s “Profit Motive and the Whispering Wind” was named best experimental film.

Two film heritage awards were also announced Saturday for the Ford At Fox DVD set and for UCLA Film and Television Archive’s Ross Lipman for his restoration of Charles Burnett’s “The Killer of Sheep.”