“Zero Dark Thirty,” Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal’s film about the hunting down and killing of Osama Bin Laden, was chosen today as Best Film by the New York Film Critics Circle. Bigelow won Best Director as well. The rest of the choices by the NYFF are really all over the place. The biggest surprise is Rachel Weisz for Best Actress in a movie no one has really ever seen, called “The Deep Blue Sea.” The more likely choices were either Jennifer Lawrence in “Silver Linings Playbook” or Jessica Chastain in “Zero Dark Thirty.”
As we’ve proved in the past, these critics prizes in each city are grest but have little to do with the Oscars. They’re voted on in committees. Politics play a big part in what goes on. Also the critics groups try to pick the “intellectual” choice where it’s highbrow (Zero Dark Thirty) or amusingly kitsch (Matthew McConaughey in the ridiculous but fun “Magic Mike”).
And really– Best First Film wasn’t “Beasts of the Southern Wild”? Hmmmm….
Here’s Paula Schwartz’s take on the winners:
The New York Film Critics Circle has named Zero Dark Thirty the best film of the year.
But jeez, waiting for the New York Film Critics Circle to announce their awards is an all-day affair. Film geeks tweeted about their anxiety and frustration at the glacial pace at which the New York Film Critics Circle announced their picks. The pre-eminent critics group announced their choices by Tweets and posted on their website, (http://www.nyfcc.com/awards/) one by one, as they chose. But you have to hand it to this group: they know how to build up suspense!
Best Picture: Zero Dark Thirty.
Best Director: Kathryn Bigelow, Zero Dark Thirty.
Best Screenplay: Tony Kushner for Lincoln.
Best Actress: Rachel Weisz for The Deep Blue Sea. The group is known for following its own beat. Blue Sea, which was released in March of this year, is directed by Terence Davies and is adapted from Terence Rattigan’s 1952 erotic play of adultery and romantic obsession. Weisz won an Oscar-winner in 2006 for The Constant Gardener (2006) but her performance in Blue Sea has received virtually no awards buzz.
Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis for Lincoln. Last week at the Gotham Awards Matt Damon said Day-Lews was one of his favorite actors. The method actor is the Oscar frontrunner this year, and every year, when he’s in a movie (except for 2010 when he starred in Nine.)
Best Supporting Actress: Sally Field for Lincoln.
Best Supporting Actor: Matthew McConaughey. For Bernie and Magic Mike. Last week the actor received two Independent Spirit Award nominations for Killer Joe and Magic Mike. The actor is on a roll. Last week Jack Black on the red carpet singled out his “Bernie” co-star for his ensemble work and said of McConaughey, that he “was on fire as he has been this year in four different films, kind of an incredible born to do it kind of performer. Even in rehearsals I was watching him, ‘You are having so much fun doing this’ and that’s the secret, I think, to his magic. He truly loves it. Some people are out there just punching the clock, but he’s really feeling it.”
Best Animated film: Frankenweenie. Tim Burton’s stop motion-animated black-and-white tale about a boy and his beloved dog Sparky. The dark film comes from Disney. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2cqI6hPra7c&noredirect=1.
Best Foreign Film: Amour. My favorite film of the year, by 70 year-old Austrian director Michael Haneke (The White Ribbon, Funny Games, Cache), stars octogenarian actors Jean-Louis Trintignant (The Conformist, Z, A Man and a Woman) and Emmanuelle Riva (Hiroshima Mon Amour) as a longtime happily-married couple now facing the end of their lives.
It won the Palme d’Or at Cannes and just yesterday at the European Film Festival in Malta won the big prize, for best feature, and awards for Haneke and the film’s stars. Amour is the frontrunner for best foreign film Oscar and Trintignant and Riva both deserve Oscar nominations.
When the film was shown at the New York Film Festival, the director said of his stars, “I wrote the screenplay for Jean-Louis Trintignant. In fact, I wouldn’t have shot the film without him. Not only is he a superb actor but also he exudes the human warmth that was necessary for the role. It was different with Emmanuelle Riva. I’d seen her as a young man in “Hiroshima My Love,” I was immediately smitten by her, but I’d lost her from sight over the years. So when I came to that part I did a normal casting in Paris, I met with all the actresses of the appropriate age. It was clear from the first audition with Emmanuelle that she was ideal for the part. Not only because she’s a wonderful actress but also because she and Jean-Louis Trintignant from a very credible couple.”
Announced at noon:
Best Cinematographer. Greig Fraser. Zero Dark Thirty. The film, shot in documentary style, is the worthy follow up to Kathryn Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker.
Best Non-Fiction Film (Documentary): The Central Park Five, Co-directed by Ken Burns, David McMahon and Sarah Burns. The film follows the events of April 1989, which led to the wrongful imprisonment of five teenagers for the infamous Central Park jogger rape. The film provokes equal parts rage and despair, especially since the exonerated, now in their 30’s, have yet to receive any financial compensation from the State of New York for their wrongful imprisonment. Some of them served jail time for more than a decade.
Best First Film: David France’s How to Survive a Plague. In a upset, the film has bested frontrunner Benh Zeitlin’s Beasts of the Southern Wild. Last week at Fox Searchlight’s holiday party I spoke to a member of the pre-eminent critics group and he told me he liked Zeitlin’s film but it wasn’t his favorite, so this should have been a tip off.
Best Film Zero Dark Thirty
Best Director Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty)
Best Screenplay Tony Kushner (Lincoln)
Best Actor Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln)
Best Actress Rachel Weisz (The Deep Blue Sea)
Best Foreign Language Film Amour
Best Animated Film Frankenweenie
Best Supporting Actor Matthew McConaughey (Bernie, Magic Mike)
Best Supporting Actress Sally Field (Lincoln)
Best Cinematographer Greg Fraser (Zero Dark Thirty)
Best Non-Fiction Film (Documentary) The Central Park Five
Best First Film David France (How To Survive A Plague)