"The Artist" led all winners with four honors in all, earning trophies for best picture, director, score and costumes.
The Critics' Choice Awards are given out by the Broadcast Film Critics Association.
The drama "The Help," based on a novel about black maids speaking out about their white employers during the civil-rights movement, also came out a big winner, taking home honors for best acting ensemble, plus awarding a best actress nod to Viola Davis.
"I hope this kind of encourages Hollywood to keep making films with a cast that looks like this - a racially-diverse cast, a female cast. I think that would be the biggest statement of progress in and of itself," said Davis.
George Clooney was named best actor for his role in "The Descendants."
Other winners included "Bridesmaids" as best comedy movie, "Drive" as best action movie, "Rango" as best animated feature, "Midnight in Paris" as best original screenplay, "Moneyball" as best adapted screenplay, "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" for best editing and "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2" for best makeup and best sound.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.