By MCN Editor editor@moviecitynews.com

2012 Chicago Film Critics Association Awards

“Zero Dark Thirty,” the drama chronicling the long ten-year hunt for Osama bin Laden in the wake of 9/11 hit its mark, according to the Chicago Film Critics Association. In voting for their annual awards, the film led with five awards, including Best Picture, Best Director for Kathryn Bigelow, Best Original Screenplay for Mark Boal, Best Actress for Jessica Chastain and Best Editing for William Goldenberg & Dylan Tichenor. Interestingly, both Bigelow and Boal won in the same categories three years earlier with 2009’s “The Hurt Locker,” which the group also named Best Picture. As for Chastain, this marks the second year in a row where she has been cited by the CFCA, having won their Best Supporting Actress prize last year for “The Tree of Life.”

In second place with four awards was “The Master,” Paul Thomas Anderson’s complex drama about an aimless young man in post-war America who falls under the spell of a charismatic leader of a mysterious new movement. For his performance as that leader, Philip Seymour Hoffman was named Best Supporting Actor and as his equally determined wife, Amy Adams 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 were “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 physical and emotional horrors that befall an aging couple when one is beset by a cruel and debilitating illness, 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 delightful 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 CFCA will be presenting their awards at a ceremony to be held on February 9, 2013.

Awards Tally
5–Zero Dark Thirty
4–The Master
2–Beasts of the Southern Wild
Lincoln
1- Amour
The Invisible War
Moonrise Kingdom
Paranorman

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“Let me try and be as direct as I possibly can with you on this. There was no relationship to repair. I didn’t intend for Harvey to buy and release The Immigrant – I thought it was a terrible idea. And I didn’t think he would want the film, and I didn’t think he would like the film. He bought the film without me knowing! He bought it from the equity people who raised the money for me in the States. And I told them it was a terrible idea, but I had no say over the matter. So they sold it to him without my say-so, and with me thinking it was a terrible idea. I was completely correct, but I couldn’t do anything about it. It was not my preference, it was not my choice, I did not want that to happen, I have no relationship with Harvey. So, it’s not like I repaired some relationship, then he screwed me again, and I’m an idiot for trusting him twice! Like I say, you try to distance yourself as much as possible from the immediate response to a movie. With The Immigrant I had final cut. So he knew he couldn’t make me change it. But he applied all the pressure he could, including shelving the film.”
James Gray

“I’m an unusual producer because I control the destiny of a lot of the films I’ve done. Most of them are in perfect states of restoration and preservation and distribution, and I aim to keep them in distribution. HanWay Films, which is my sales company, has a 500-film catalogue, which is looked after and tended like a garden. I’m still looking after my films in the catalogue and trying to get other people to look after their films, which we represent intellectually, to try to keep them alive. A film has to be run through a projector to be alive, unfortunately, and those electric shadows are few and far between now. It’s very hard to go and see films in a movie house. I was always involved with the sales and marketing of my films, right up from The Shout onwards. I’ve had good periods, but I also had a best period because the film business was in its best period then. You couldn’t make The Last Emperor today. You couldn’t make The Sheltering Sky today. You couldn’t make those films anymore as independent films. There are neither the resources nor the vision within the studios to go to them and say, “I want to make a film about China with no stars in it.”Then, twenty years ago, I thought, “OK, I’m going to sell my own films but I don’t want to make it my own sales company.” I wanted it to be for me but I wanted to make it open for every other producer, so they don’t feel that they make a film but I get the focus. So, it’s a company that is my business and I’m involved with running it in a certain way, but I’m not seen as a competitor with other people that use it. It’s used by lots of different producers apart from me. When I want to use it, however, it’s there for me and I suppose I’m planning to continue making all my films to be sold by HanWay. I don’t have to, but I do because it’s in my building and the marketing’s here, and I can do it like that. Often, it sounds like I’m being easy about things, but it’s much more difficult than it sounds. It’s just that I’ve been at it for a long time and there’s lots of fat and security around my business. I know how to make films, but it’s not easy—it’s become a very exacting life.”
~ Producer Jeremy Thomas