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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“There are critics who see their job as to be on the side of the artist, or in a state of imaginative sympathy or alliance with the artist. I think it’s important for a critic to be populist in the sense that we’re on the side of the public. I think one of the reasons is, frankly, capitalism. Whether you’re talking about restaurants or you’re talking about movies, you’re talking about large-scale commercial enterprises that are trying to sell themselves and market themselves and publicize themselves. A critic is, in a way, offering consumer advice. I think it’s very, very important in a time where everything is commercialized, commodified, and branded, where advertising is constantly bleeding into other forms of discourse, for there to be an independent voice kind of speaking to—and to some extent on behalf of—the public.”
~ A. O. Scott On One Role Of The Critic

“Every night, we’d sit and talk for a long, long time and talk about the process and I knew he was very, very intrigued about what could be happening. Then of course, one of the fascinating things he told me about was how he had readers who were reading for him that never knew it was Stanley Kubrick. So if he heard of a novel, he would send it out to people. I think he did it through newspaper ads at the time. And he would send it out to people and ask for a kind of synopsis or a critique of the novel. And he would read those. And it was done anonymously. But he said there were housewives and there were barristers and all sorts of people doing that. And I thought, yeah, that’s a really good way to open up the possibilities. Because otherwise, you’re randomly looking, walking through a bookstore or an airport. I said, “How many people are doing this?” It was about 30 people.”
~ George Miller’s Conversations With Kubrick