In an early gauge of awards-season potential, “Zero Dark Thirty” hunted down three awards from the New York Film Critics Circle on Monday, notching the kudo for best feature as well as the director trophy for Kathryn Bigelow and the cinematography prize for Greig Fraser.
The pic about the search for Osama Bin Laden tied with “Lincoln” in landing a trio of laurels from the NYFCC. Steven Spielberg’s historical drama snagged awards for lead actor Daniel Day Lewis, supporting actress Sally Field and screenwriter Tony Kushner.
Rachel Weisz picked up the lead actress nod for “The Deep Blue Sea,” Terence Davies’ drama based on the 1952 Terence Rattigan play about an affair between a British judge’s wife and a Royal Air Force pilot.
The British pic had a limited release through Music Box starting in March, and hadn’t seen any kudos buzz until the actress win.
Another dark horse contender, Matthew McConaughey, scored supporting actor for his work in two films: “Bernie” and “Magic Mike.”
The NYFCC kudos bestow some measure of early awards-circuit momentum to their recipients, being among the first trophies doled out on the road to the Oscars in February. As in 2011, NYFCC is the first critics’ org to announce its winners this year, with the National Board of Review — for many years the first out of the gate — set for a Dec. 5 vote. NYFCC hands out trophies each year in about a dozen categories.
Winners’ list seems most likely to turn heads for Weisz and McConaughey, who may be given a bit more consideration in the runup to other awards now that they’ve been singled out by NYFCC. Strong showings for “Zero Dark Thirty” and “Lincoln” were more or less foregone conclusions.
Also in the mix were Michael Haneke’s “Amour,” nabbing the trophy for foreign-language film, and Tim Burton’s “Frankenweenie,” which took the award for animated pic.
Documentaries “How to Survive a Plague” and “The Central Park Five” were the first winners to be named by the NYFCC, which tweeted its winners in real time during its drawn-out voting session on Monday.
“Plague,” David France’s look at activism in the early years of the AIDS epidemic, scored the award for first feature, while “Central Park Five,” Ken Burns’ look at the wrongful conviction of six black and Latino teens for the 1989 rape of a white woman in Central Park, won the laurel for nonfiction film.