Boston Film Critics Go Wild For ’ZD30’
Boston’s two film critic societies announced their yearly awards over the weekend, and "Zero Dark Thirty" emerged the big winner across the board.
The Boston Society of Film Critics, who two years ago gave awards for Best Picture, Lead Actor, and Direction to Kathryn Bigelow’s "The Hurt Locker," again showered one of their favorite auteurs with a number of accolades. "Zero Dark" took home Best Picture with minimal fuss; while Bigelow won her second Best Director award, and the team of William Goldenberg/Dylan Tichenor earned Best Editing for their work on the film.
The rest of the commendations were spread out between some of the usual awards season suspects like "Amour" and "Lincoln," as well as to less expected genre fare like "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" and "Seven Psychopaths." Steven Spielberg’s presidential biopic monopolized the acting awards, with Daniel Day-Lewis and Sally Field claiming Lead Actor and Supporting Actress prizes (Anne Hathaway was her own worst enemy, as combating votes for her turns in "Les Miserables" and "The Dark Knight Rises" cancelled each other out.) The picture’s backroom barbs and Congressional standoffs also earned playwright Tony Kushner the Best Screenplay award.
Emmanuelle Riva was named Best Leading Actress for her portrayal of a bedridden stroke victim in Michael Haneke’s punishing "Amour," which also took home Best Foreign Film honors. In one of the day’s bigger surprises, 20something standout Ezra Miller - who won a small but dedicated following, myself included, with his revelatory turn in last year’s "We Need to Talk About Kevin" - was named Best Supporting Actor for his work on "Wallflower."
Some of the year’s best films rounded out the other awards. Wes Anderson’s transcendent "Moonrise Kingdom" earned a nod for Best Use of Music, Paul Thomas Anderson’s "The Master" earned commendations for Best Cinematography (director of photography, Mihai Malaimare Jr. shot the majority of the film with a stunning 70mm camera,) and Martin McDonagh’s aforementioned "Psychopaths" earned Best Ensemble. The prolific Tim Burton, who also turned out the underrated "Dark Shadows" this year, earned a Best Animated Feature nod for his unfortunately underperforming "Frankenweenie."
Finally, David France won dual honors for his enormously affecting document of the fight against public and political ignorance towards AIDS, "How to Survive a Plague": both Best Documentary and the David Brudnoy Award for Best New Filmmaker. France also took home Best Documentary from the Boston Online Film Critics Association [BOFCA], who announced their choices Saturday morning (EDGE’s own Kilian Melloy is also a member),
"Zero Dark" dominated once again, taking home Best Picture, Director, Editing, and Lead Actress (for Jessica Chastain). The group also sided with the Society on their choices of Daniel Day-Lewis (for Lead Actor), and Tony Kushner (for screenplay), while giving Tommy Lee Jones’ comical turn as Thaddeus Stevens a Best Supporting Actor nod; making it a hat trick for "Lincoln." Anne Hathaway, however, bested Sally Field with the online crowd, earning a Supporting Actress nod for her "Miserables" turn.
"The Master" earned a commendation for Jonny Greenwood’s hauntingly erratic score, but was unable to go 2-for-2 in Cinematography Awards. The online critics went for cutting-edge digital over 70mm film, choosing Roger Deakins’ for his meticulous work on Sam Mendes’ "Skyfall." Speaking of meticulous, the handcrafted "Paranorman" earned Best Animated Feature, while the actors populating Wes Anderson’s dollhouse "Moonrise" sets earned Best Ensemble.
Best Foreign Feature went to the under-distributed "Oslo, August 31", which received a minimal theatrical release but is now widely available on DVD. It also featured in the groups collective top ten list, which commended (in order): "Zero Dark Thirty," "Beasts of the Southern Wild," "Lincoln," "Moonrise Kingdom," "Django Unchained," "Oslo, August 31," "Holy Motors," "The Master," "Argo," and "Cloud Atlas."
he Boston Society of Film Critics will formally announce their awards at the Brattle Theater on February 2nd. They can be found online at bostonfilmcritics.org, where you can see their locally focused awards and commendations. They include, to name but a few, nods for the Brattle’s wonderful ’Nicolas Cage: Greatest American Actor’ retrospective; and ’rediscovery’ awards for rarely-held screenings of classics like Robert Altman’s "Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean" and Isao Takahata’s masterpiece "Only Yesterday," produced by Japanese animation legends Studio Ghibli.
The Boston Online Film Critics Association can be found at BOFCA.com, which is updated regularly with weekly reviews and articles highlighting local repertory programming.