The games officially begin!!! The oldest (est. 1935) and most venerable of the critical groups opens up the awards season with their official unveiling of the best in the film for 2012.
BEST FILM: 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, Magic Mike and Bernie
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Sally Field, Lincoln
BEST SCREENPLAY: Lincoln- Tony Kushner
BEST FOREIGN FILM: Amour
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE: Frankenweenie
BEST NON FICTION FILM: Central Park Five
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: Zero Dark Thirty- Greg Fraser
BEST FIRST FEATURE: David France, How to Survive a Plague
Zero Dark Thirty, Kathryn Bigelow's follow-up to The Hurt Locker which traces the events leading up to the capture and execution of Osama bin Ladin, made it through the wire with three big wins out of the gates. The film, which made it screenings debut just last weekend in the Thanksgiving rush, will open in limited engagement in a few weeks before opening wide in January. Anyway, you look at it, and no matter the eventual Oscar-ness of Zero Dark Thirty, the New York Film Critics win is big. Big for Lincoln too which won three prizes as well.
The surprises, or really the off the grid victors, as nothing should be seen as too surprising this early, were the some of the other winners. Mostly, Matthew McConaughey, who has firmly established himself a contender in the past week with Indie Spirit noms and a NYFCC win. The big on was Rachel Weisz's big win for the little seen period indie The Deep Blue Sea, which premiered through itty-bitty distributor Music Box Films last spring. Weisz earned rave reviews and small murmurs of awards buzz, but was considered in a film too small for most pundits to predict. This may mean something or nothing, but the New York seal of approval makes a compelling FYC ad.
Snubbed: The Master, which will need some help to trudge along, Les Miserables, The Sessions and Beasts of the Southern Wild. Interestingly that acclaimed doc How to Survive a Plague won the First Feature bid-- I suspect because of the great NY nature of the story of that film and it's documentary pic Central Park Five.
National Board of Review is next at bat on Wednesday.