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Chicago Film Critics Choose Zero Dark Thirty as Best Film of 2012

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zero dark thirty posterThe Windy City critics chose Zero Dark Thirty as best film of the year. The procedural thriller about the decades-long hunt for Osama bin Laden directed by Kathryn Bigelow has also picked up kudos for director, best actress for star Jessica Chastain, screenplay honors for Mark Boal, and best editing for William Goldenberg and Dylan Tichenor.

Three years earlier Boal and Bigelow won in the same categories for The Hurt Locker, which also was named best movie of 2009 by the Chicago Film Critics Association.

Chastain also has a history with the Chicago critics; last year she won their prize for best supporting actress for The Tree of Life.

In second place with four awards is The Master, Paul Thomas Anderson’s drama about an alcoholic post-war American veteran who falls under the spell of the charismatic leader of a mysterious cult.

Philip Seymour Hoffman, who plays the cult leader, was named best supporting actor. and Amy Adams, who plays his Macbeth-like wife, was named best supporting actress. In addition, Mihai Milaimare Jr. won the award for Best Cinematography, while Jonny Greenwood took the prize for Best Original Score.

Tying for third with two awards each are Lincoln, Steven Spielberg’s drama following the efforts of the 16th president to pass an amendment abolishing slavery in the face of enormous odds, and Beast of the Southern Wild, the visionary low-budget drama about a resourceful six-year-old girl living in a remote Louisiana floodplain who sets off on a journey to find her long-lost mother when her father becomes seriously ill.

The former won awards for Daniel Day-Lewis  for Best Actor and Tony Kushner for Adapted Screenplay, while the latter took home the Most Promising Filmmaker prize for Benh Zeitlin, who received four individual nominations for his work on the film, and Most Promising Performer for young Quvenzhane Wallis for her extraordinary work in the central role.

Among the other films cited by the group, Amour, the heart-wrenching drama by Michael Haneke chronicling the final days of a long-married octogenarian couple, received the prize for Best Foreign-Language Film. Gerald Sullivan and Adam Stockhausen won the newly established Art Direction/Production Design award for their contributions to the whimsical pre-teen romantic comedy Moonrise Kingdom.

The Invisible War, the eye-opening film focusing on rape in the military, was named Best Documentary, and ParaNorman, the  stop-motion fantasy about an odd young boy with the ability to see and communicate with the dead, won for Best Animated Film.

Now in its 23rd year, the Chicago Film Critics Association will present their awards at a ceremony to be held on Feb. 9, 2013.

Although there are only about 100 other award presentations to go, it looks like Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty has picked up some real momentum and is now the frontrunner.

Paula Schwartz

Paula Schwartz is a veteran journalist based in New York who is passionate about the movies. Her idea of heaven is watching three movies in a row. She’s written for various outlets, including the New York Times, Showbiz411.com, More.com and MovieMaker Magazine. For five seasons, she contributed to the New York Times seasonal movie blog, Carpetbaggers, where she covered major awards events and interviewed stars like Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Gary Oldman and Helen Mirren.

Paula Schwartz has written posts on Reel Life With Jane.


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