Yesterday afternoon NY Post film critic/blogger Lou Lumenick explained how the New York Film Critics Circle balloting (and its “arcane weighted system”) actually went down. And guess what? Melancholia was dead even with The Artist, the Best Picture winner, in the first round, and its director, Lars Von Trier, was just a notch behind Artist helmer Michel Haznavicius in the initial Best Director balloting,

The Artist was tied with Melancholia (27 points each) for Best Picture,” Lumenick reports, “followed by Hugo with 16 points. The Artist finally won on the third ballot with 44 points.

Lumenick’s favorite film of the year, The Descendants, “never managed to amass more than 17 points in any round.” And what about Moneyball?

I would have agreed with the NYFCC if Melancholia had won — it’s a moody in-and-outer with a highly charged opening and finale — but I would have at least respected it. I was speaking last night with a few L.A. columnists/bloggers at an after-event for Valerie Donzelli‘s War Is Declared, and I didn’t hear anyone say that giving the Best Picture prize to The Artist was absolutely justified and right-on. Most seemed surprised and dismayed. I was appalled.

The Best Director balloting also required three rounds to determine a winner. The Artist‘s Haznavicius “finally won with 47 points to 39 for Hugo‘s Martin Scorsese and 35 for Von Trier. “In the first round, it was Haznavicius, 24; Von Trier, 22 and The Tree of Life‘s Terrence Malick 21,” Lumenick writes. “And in the second ballot, a single point separated Haznavicius (33), Scorsese (32) and Von Trier (31).

Meryl Streep wired the field on the first and only Best Actress ballot with 38 points to 24 for Michelle Williams (My Week With Marilyn) and 23 for Kirsten Dunst (Melancholia).

On the initial Best Actor ballot Moneyball‘s Brad Pitt had 24 points, The Artist‘s Jean Dujardin 23 and Shame/Dangerous Method‘s Michael Fassbender 18. But

Pitt surged in the second ballot (42 points), handily dispatching Fassbender (27) and Dujardin (26).

Drive‘s Albert Brooks “won on the second ballot with 43 points to 36 for BeginnersChristopher Plummer and 18 for A Dangerous Method‘s Viggo Mortensen….what? Mortensen was fine as Sigmund Freud but he mainly just sat there with a lit cigar and a stern expression and went “hmmm…I see.”

Take Shelter/Tree of Life/The Help‘s Jessica Chastain “had to go three rounds before her 33 points topped the 27 for Shame‘s Carey Mulligan and 26 for Coriolanus‘s Vanessa Redgrave.”