By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

ALLIANCE OF WOMENS FILM JOURNALISTS ANNOUNCES 7TH ANNUAL EDA AWARD WINNERS

January 7, 2013 – The Alliance of Women Film Journalists (AWFJ), a membership organization of leading women film journalists and critics from across the U.S., Canada and the U.K., has announced the winners of its 7th Annual EDA Awards. Starting with Best Film, “Zero Dark Thirty” swept the AWFJ EDA “Best of” categories with five awards, took another two in the female-centric EDA Focus Awards, and earned its eighth win in the EDA Special Mention section.

In the EDA ‘Best of’ categories—which parallel those used by other voting organizations–Jessica Chastain and Daniel Day Lewis were honored for their leading roles, with supporting role awards going to Anne Hathaway and  Philip Seymour Hoffman.  Malik Benjelloul’s “Searching for Sugar Man” received the EDA for Best Documentary, and Michael Haneke’s “Amour” was embraced for “Best Non-English-Language Film.”

The AWFJ also presents two award categories that reflect the organization’s mission to celebrate women in filmmaking, as well as the perspective of women in film journalism.

The EDA Focus Award pay tribute to achievements in filmmaking by women.  Among the 2012 winners are Lucy Alibar, who received the Best Woman Screenwriter Award for “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” which she co-wrote with and Benh Zeitlin; Jennifer Lawrence who grabbed the Kick Ass Award For Best Female Action Star for her role in “The Hunger Game”; and the “Brave” heroine Merida, voiced by Kelly Macdonald, which drew Best Animated Female.  Best Breakthrough Performance went Quvenzhané Wallis for “Beasts of the Southern Wild.” This Year’s Outstanding Achievement By A Woman In The Film Industry, celebrates the overall achievements this year by “Women Documentary Filmmakers,” with five named for special mention.

ABOUT AWFJ and THE EDA AWARDS
The Alliance of Women Film Journalists, Inc. (AWFJ), a not-for-profit corporation, is an association of professional female movie critics, reporters, and feature writers working in print, broadcast, and online media. AWFJ is dedicated to raising awareness about women’s perspectives on film and to supporting work by and about women — both in front of and behind the cameras — through intra-group promotional activities, outreach programs, and by presenting the annual EDA Awards in recognition of outstanding accomplishments (the best and worst) by and about women in the movies. In 2012, AWFJ launched a new program to present EDA Awards to women filmmakers in partnership with select film festivals, in addition to the annual year end awards.  The 2012 EDA Awards is the seventh annual presentation. awfj.org

ALLIANCE OF WOMEN FILM JOURNALISTS
2012 EDA Awards Winners

AWFJ EDA ‘BEST OF’ AWARDS:

Best Film:  “Zero Dark Thirty”

Best Director:  Kathryn Bigelow – “Zero Dark Thirty”

Best Screenplay, Original:  Mark Boal – “Zero Dark Thirty”

Best Screenplay, Adapted:  Chris Terrio – “Argo”

Best Documentary:  “Searching For Sugar Man”

Best Animated Film:  “ParaNorman”

Best Actress:  Jessica Chastain – “Zero Dark Thirty”

Best Actress in a Supporting Role:  Anne Hathaway – “Les Miserables”

Best Actor:  Daniel Day Lewis – “Lincoln”

Best Actor in a Supporting Role:  Phillip Seymour Hoffman – “The Master”

Best Ensemble Cast:  “Silver Linings Playbook”

Best Editing:  William Goldenberg, Dylan Tichenor – “Zero Dark Thirty”

Best Cinematography:  Claudio Miranda – “Life of Pi”

Best Film Music or Score:  Dan Romer, Benh Zeitlin – “Beasts of the Southern Wild”

Best Non-English-Language Film:  “Amour”

EDA FEMALE FOCUS AWARDS:
These awards honor WOMEN only.

Best Woman Director:  Kathryn Bigelow – “Zero Dark Thirty”

Best Woman Screenwriter:  Lucy Alibar (and Benh Zeitlin) – “Beasts of the Southern Wild”
Kick Ass Award For Best Female Action Star:  Jennifer Lawrence – “The Hunger Games”

Best Animated Female:  Merida (Kelly Macdonald) – “Brave”

Best Breakthrough Performance:  Quvenzhané Wallis – “Beasts of the Southern Wild”

Actress Defying Age and Ageism:  Judi Dench – “Skyfall”

AWFJ Award for Humanitarian Activism – Female Icon Award, presented to an actress for the portrayal of the most positive female role model, or for a role in which she takes personal and/or career risks to plumb the female psyche and therefore gives us courage to plumb our own, and/or for putting forth the image of a woman who is heroic, accomplished, persistent, demands her rights and/or the rights of others:
Jessica Chastain – “Zero Dark Thirty”

This Year’s Outstanding Achievement By A Woman In The Film Industry, presented only when warranted to a female who has had a banner–making, record–breaking, industry–changing achievement during any given year:
Women Documentary Filmmakers – including Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady (“Detropia”), Lauren Greenfield (“Queen of Versailles”), Alison Klayman (“Ai Weiwei Never Sorry”) and Sarah Burns (“The Central Park Five”).

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“The worst thing that we have in today’s movie culture is Rotten Tomatoes. It’s the destruction of our business. I have such respect and admiration for film criticism. When I was growing up film criticism was a real art. And there was intellect that went into that. And you would read Pauline’s Kael’s reviews, or some others, and that doesn’t exist anymore. Now it’s about a number. A compounded number of how many positives vs. negatives. Now it’s about, ‘What’s your Rotten Tomatoes score?’ And that’s sad, because the Rotten Tomatoes score was so low on Batman v Superman I think it put a cloud over a movie that was incredibly successful. People don’t realize what goes into making a movie like that. It’s mind-blowing. It’s just insane, it’s hurting the business, it’s getting people to not see a movie. In Middle America it’s, ‘Oh, it’s a low Rotten Tomatoes score so I’m not going to go see it because it must suck.’ But that number is an aggregate and one that nobody can figure out exactly what it means, and it’s not always correct. I’ve seen some great movies with really abysmal Rotten Tomatoes scores. What’s sad is film criticism has disappeared. It’s really sad.”
~ Brett Ratner Has A Sad

“The loss of a local newspaper critic is a real loss. People who know the local audience and know the local cultural scene are very important resources. You can’t just substitute the stuff that comes in from nowhere through syndication or the wire. I think at the same time, some of the newer outlets have really beefed up and improved their coverage and made room for criticism. The real problem is in the more specialized art forms — fine arts, classical music, dance and jazz, say. There is a real slowing of critical voices, partly because those art forms have smaller audiences. Newspapers and magazines can say that doesn’t get enough traffic, so we don’t have room for that. To me, that’s especially worrisome. This is the opposite of what newspapers are supposed to do, which is not to try to figure out what people are already interested in and recite that back to them, but to hopefully guide them to something that they should be interested in, connecting potential audiences with more interesting work.

“Then again, not everyone needs a critic. People have been going to movies for more than 100 years now, and probably the vast majority of those people have not read movie reviews or cared what critics thought. But there has always been an important subset that wants to know more, that wants to think about what they’ve seen and what they’re going to see, and wants someone to think along with. I think critics are important, not just as dispensers of consumer advice — though that’s certainly part of it, too — but as trusted voices and companions for people to argue with in your head when you’re going to movies or afterwards.”
~ A. O. Scott