The New York Film Critics Circle have named Kathryn Bigelow's Zero Dark Thirty the Best Film of 2012, voicing their strong support for the speculative journalistic Osama bin Laden docudrama. Bigelow, whose Hurt Locker won the Best Picture Oscar in 2010, also won Best Director in the awards announced Monday. Greg Fraser won for the film's cinematography.
"Zero Dark Thirty confirms the massive talent of Kathryn Bigelow," said NYFCC chairman Joshua Rothkopf, a critic for Time Out New York. "Zero Dark Thirty is a very important movie, not triumphal but significant in its dramatization of a signal event. And we were knocked out by the film."
According to former Village Voice lead film critic J. Hoberman, who currently writes the Movie Journal column for Blouin ArtInfo and who participated in the balloting for the New York Film Critics Circle awards ...
"An early favourite for Best Director, The Master's Paul Thomas Anderson was overwhelmed by Zero Dark Thirty's Kathryn Bigelow on the second ballot, with Argo's Ben Affleck finishing a distant third. (Strikingly, Steven Spielberg, who failed to get a single first ballot vote, was never in contention.) By this time, it was evident that Zero Dark Thirty would run the table and, indeed, The Master finished third for Best Picture behind Argo, although it took three ballots for the obviously exhausted voters to decide the winner."
The critics group also cast a significant vote for Steven Spielberg's Lincoln, bestowing it with three awards: Daniel Day-Lewis for Best Actor, Sally Field for Best Supporting Actress, and Tony Kushner for Best Screenplay. Lewis' award for his performance as the 16th U.S. president is his fifth from the NYFCC. The Supporting Actor award went to Matthew McConaughey for his performances as both a Texas district attorney in Richard Linklater's Bernie and as a male stripper in Steven Soderberg's Magic Mike.
Hoberman offers the following on the Best Supporting Actress and Actor awards ...
"In the acting awards, Sally Field (Lincoln) finally defeated initial front-runner Anne Hathaway (The Dark Knight Rises, Les Miserables) for Best Supporting Actress on a fourth ballot while, in a rare second ballot win, Matthew McConaughey (Magic Mike, Bernie) beat out Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained) and Tommy Lee Jones (Lincoln)."
Rachel Weisz earned Best Actress from the critics for her performance in the little-seen but wonderful The Deep Blue Sea, a period drama by the British director Terence Davies.
More inside the beltway NYFCC voting background from Hoberman ...
"The closest and most surprising race saw Rachel Weisz (The Deep Blue Sea) edge Jennifer Lawrence (The Hunger Games, Silver Lining Playbook) and Emmanuelle Riva (Amour). Last year's winner Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty) was a factor throughout, tying for the lead on several ballots. (This race was by far the most polarized; only three of the 16 ballots cast for Lawrence or Chastain cited both actresses.) By contrast Daniel Day Lewis (Lincoln), possibly the most feted actor in NYFCC history, led on every ballot but still required three rounds of voting to best the closely bunched trio of Jack Black (Bernie), Joaquin Phoenix (The Master) and Denis Lavant (Holy Motors)." Greig Fraser was named Best Cinematographer for Zero Dark Thirty, beating the initial favourite, The Master, on the third ballot. Although heavily favoured, Tony Kushner's Lincoln screenplay needed four ballots to win over those for Zero Dark Thirty and Moonrise Kingdom.")Shut out entirely were awards hopefuls Les Miserables, Argo, Silver Linings Playbook and The Master.
This year's Oscar hunt is generally seen as fairly open, with a number of strong contenders. The NYFCC voting could help coalesce support behind Zero Dark Thirty and Lincoln. Rothkopf, though, said that there was strong passion in voting for several films that didn't yield an award.
Michael Haneke's Palme d'Or-winning Amour, a depiction of an aging married couple, took Best Foreign Language film, while Best Documentary went to The Central Park Five, covering the infamous 1989 New York rape case, co-directed by Ken Burns, his daughter Sarah Burns and David McMahon.
Best Animated Film went to Tim Burton's Frankenweenie. The AIDS activism documentary How to Survive a Plague was chosen as Best First Feature.
The New York Film Critics Circle, a body of 35 New York-based critics founded in 1935, announced their annual vote on Twitter over a period of hours. Awards will be handed out at a ceremony January 7th, 2013.
Next to come in the quickening awards season are the National Board of Review Awards on Wednesday, and the Los Angeles Film Critics on Sunday. Golden Globe nominations will be announced Dec. 13th.
Posted by Raymond Tomlin at December 4, 2012 12:45 AM in Cinema