The New York Film Critics Circle has launched their attack on the Oscar season, announcing that Kathryn Bigelow's Zero Dark Thirty, about the hunt for Osama bin Laden, is the Best Picture of 2012. The drama, which opens on December 19, also took home awards for Best Director (Bigelow) and Best Cinematography, for Greig Fraser. Zero Dark Thirty was expected to be a major awards contender, but was anticipated to be crushed under the weight of period epics like Steven Spielberg's Lincoln and Tom Hooper's Les Miserables.
Surprisingly, Les Miserables was shut out of the NYFCC Awards altogether, while Lincoln took home some anticipated honors for Best Actor (Daniel Day-Lewis), Best Supporting Actress (Sally Field) and Best Screenplay (Tony Kushner). But the big surprise of the awards were the unexpected accolades for Matthew McConaughey, who won Best Supporting Actor for Magic Mike and Bernie, and for Rachel Weisz, who won Best Actress for Terence Davies' The Deep Blue Sea.
Although critics seemed to agree that McConaughey was having the best year of his acting career, it was unclear whether films like Magic Mike, Bernie and Killer Joe would have genuine Oscar potential. Now it appears that he might have too much Oscar potential, with the potential to cancel out his own nomination if the Academy can't decide which performance to nominate at the end of the year (the Oscars only permit one nominated performance per actor, per category). Rachel Weisz received excellent reviews for her performance in the post-World War II drama, which co-starred The Avengers' Tom Hiddleston, but the film's release early in the calendar year left many assuming that it would be ignored during the awards season. With the Best Actress category a little thin this year (as usual), Weisz may have emerged as a serious contender for the industry's top honors.
The full list of New York Film Critics Circle Award winners is below.
Best Picture: Zero Dark Thirty
Best Director: Kathryn Bigelow, Zero Dark Thirty
Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
Best Actress: Rachel Weisz, The Deep Blue Sea
Best Supporting Actor: Matthew McConaughey, Bernie & Magic Mike
Best Screenplay: Tony Kushner, Lincoln
Best Cinematography: Greig Fraser, Zero Dark Thirty
Best Animated Feature: Frankenweenie
Best Non-Fiction Film (Documentary): The Central Park Five
Best Foreign Film: Amour
Best First Film: David France, How to Survive a Plague