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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“To be a critic is to be a workaholic. Workaholism is socially conditioned: viewed favourably by exploiters, it’s generally ruinous to a worker’s mental health. When T.S. Eliot said criticism was as inevitable as breathing, he failed to mention that, respiratory problems notwithstanding, breathing is easy. Criticism is reflexive before reflective: to formalise/industrialise an involuntary instinct requires time, effort and discipline. The reason we seek remuneration, as opposed to the self-hatred of being a scab, is because all labour should be waged…

“Criticism, so the cliché by now goes, is dying. None of the panel discussions on its death agony, however—including those in which I’ve formally participated—come at it from the wider perspective that the problem surely needs. They defend the ways in which criticism functions in relation to the industry and to the public, but they fail to contextualise these relationships as defined by ultimately rotten and self-harming imperatives.

“Criticism was a noble profession so long as only a few could practice it for money; when the field expands, as it has with a so-called ‘democratisation’ of our practice, those few lose their political power. Competition grows and markets are undercut: publications are naturally going to start paying less. Precarity is both cause and effect of a surplus workforce: the reason you’re only as good as your last article is because there are plenty of other folks who can write the next one in your place. The daily grind is: pitch, or perish.

B”ut criticism, so a counter-cliché goes, is not dying. An irony: this is an elite sport that is no longer elite in terms of who is able to practice it, but in economic terms it’s clutching to a perverse and outmoded hierarchical structure. It’s more meritocratic than ever, now: which is to say it isn’t meritocratic at all. That’s a paradox in bad need of a resolution…”

~ Michael Pattison Manifestoes Film Criticism

“It’s easy to forget when you’re reading a critic every single week or multiple times a week, that most of us who do this job, and have been doing it for a long time, understand that this is basically a parasitic profession. I don’t mean in the sense that we’re evil bloodsucking creatures, but we couldn’t exist if we didn’t have something to analyze. And I’m always conscious of that. So whether I like or don’t like a particular thing you do, my point of view is always that of an appreciator. I just like to be in the world that you create.”
~ Matt Zoller Seitz To Sam Esmail

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