"This has been one of the greatest unforeseen privileges of my life," Day-Lewis said about his role in the film.
The first award of the night -- best acting ensemble -- went to "Silver Linings Playbook," starring Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence and Robert De Niro. It was the start of many honors for the film, which also went on to win best comedy movie. Lawrence scored the best comedy actress trophy for the film, and Bradley Cooper took home the best comedy actor award.
"You're looking at a very lucky man," Cooper said. "I got to work with such great comedians since I started...and then I got to work in this movie...In my life dramatic situations have had a lot of comedy in them," he said referring to "Silver Linings Playbook." "And Jennifer Lawrence, she is something else."
"Skyfall" dominated the action category, nabbing best action film and best actor for Daniel Craig. The best actress in an action movie trophy went to Lawrence for "The Hunger Games."
"This means so much," she said onstage, adding, "That movie -- it was such a powerful character."
The best supporting actress honor went to Anne Hathaway for her portrayal of Fantine in "Les Miserables."
"This is a bittersweet moment for me because I have this award but they spelled my name wrong...It is with an E," she said, smiling, at the start of her acceptance speech.
Quvenzhane Wallis, star of "Beasts of the Southern Wild" won the best young actor/actress honor. The 9-year-old actress, who scored a best actress Oscar nod earlier on Thursday, read her acceptance speech from her mobile phone.
When writer/director Judd Apatow walked on stage to accept the inaugural Critics' Choice Louis XIII Genius Award, he demanded everyone give him a standing ovation before saying he was touched by the honor.
Going into the night, "Lincoln" led the pack with a record-breaking 13 nods, followed by "Les Miserables" with 11 nominations, "Silver Linings Playbook" with 10 nominations and "Life of Pi" with nine. "Argo," ''Skyfall" and "The Master" each received seven.
Presenters included Nina Dobrev, Ray Liotta, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Melissa Leo, Eva Longoria, Jaine King, Cory Monteith, Rob Riggle, Emmy Rossum, Ian Somerhalder, Octavia Spencer and Paul Wesley.
The Broadcast Film Critics Association's ceremony comes the same day as the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences announces its Oscar nominees -- and is sometimes a predictor of Oscar nominees and winners. Critics' Choice acting awards often mirror winners at the Academy Awards.
Hosted by KTLA Los Angeles entertainment reporter Sam Rubin, the ceremony honors the finest in film achievement. The BFCA is the largest film critics organization in the United States and Canada, representing more than 270 television, radio and online critics. The awards ceremony was held at Barker Hangar, in Santa Monica, Calif. and aired live on The CW.