New York Film Critics Circle goes with “Zero Dark Thirty,” Bigelow – OSCARS

By Sean O’Connell This turned out to be a very good day to conduct “Zero Dark Thirty” interviews.

As I sat across from Jessica Chastain and Jason Clark to discuss their roles in Kathryn Bigelow’s “Zero Dark Thirty,” the uncompromising thriller about the military’s efforts to unearth Osama Bin Laden was collecting Best Picture votes from the New York Film Critics Circle. The group also handed its Best Director prize to Bigelow while Greig Fraser won for his cinematography contributions. (The final scene, an expertly shot raid on Bin Laden’s Pakistani hideout, alone likely earned him the award.)

Outside of “Zero,” the big winner was Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln,” which earned acting awards for Daniel Day-Lewis and Sally Field, as well as a screenplay nod for Tony Kushner. In a bit of a surprise (on both fronts), Rachel Weisz picked up the group’s award for Best Actress for her turn in “The Deep Blue Sea.” And Matthew McConaughey – yes, that Matthew McConaughey – was recognized in the Best Supporting Actor category for his roles in “Magic Mike” and Richard Linklater’s “Bernie.”

The critics groups leading into the end of the year often offer wildly different projections as to what might be leading the Oscar race. A win from a regional critics group certainly helps a film’s momentum … though evidence has shown that they can be misleading. Just ask “The Social Network” how all of its critics’ accolades helped at the Academy Awards.

But for now, wins by “Zero Dark Thirty” has slowed the sudden “Les MIserables” freight train. Expect that campaign to kick back into full swing, however, when the next group – possibly Los Angeles – gives it every honor in every category.

And the awards season marches on…

Read more of our exclusive Awards coverage:
Robert Zemeckis to be honored at Palm Springs.
Our “Silver Linings Playbook” review
Ben Affleck tells us about “Argo” and the possibility of more Dennis Lehane stories
Bryan Cranston calls “Argo” his “proudest moment in motion pictures.”
Helen Hunt opens up about on-screen nudity for “The Sessions”
Amy Adams lends strength to “The Master”
“Arbitrage” director Nicholas Jarecki on Richard Gere and the Oscar race.
Producer Harvey Weinstein

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