The Boston Society of Film Critics has joined the New York Film Critics Circle and the National Board of Review in crowning “Zero Dark Thirty” the year’s best film. Kathryn Bigelow won Best Director while Daniel Day-Lewis (“Lincoln”) and Emmanuelle Riva (“Amour”) won top acting honors. The group clearly liked “Moonrise Kingdom,” which won Best Use of Music and went on to pop up in a number of runner-up spots.
Check out the full list of winners below with running commentary on the winners.
Best Film: “Zero Dark Thirty” (Runner-up: TIE – “Amour” and “Moonrise Kingdom”)
Thoughts: Well, you might be sensing a pattern here. “Zero Dark Thirty” is unquestionably the critical darling of 2012. But so was “Brokeback Mountain.” So was “The Social Network.” That’s all I’m saying. Nevertheless, in that company, you can’t complain. It’s a solid choice to say the least, however many groups go for it.
Best Director: Kathryn Bigelow, “Zero Dark Thirty” (Runner-up: Paul Thomas Anderson, “The Master”)
Thoughts: Annnnd…five for five.
Best Screenplay: “Lincoln” (Runner-up: “Moonrise Kingdom”)
Thoughts: Boy, it sure does seem like they want to give more love to “Moonrise Kingdom,” but it keeps popping up as a runner-up. Alas, Tony Kushner’s work on “Lincoln” will continue to be a favorite throughout the season and whittling some of Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book to what we saw on the screen was no small feat.
Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis, “Lincoln” (Runner-up: Denis Lavant, “Holy Motors”)
Thoughts: Nice runner-up pick, but oh, if only Lavant could have pulled off the win. Then Boston would have nailed down the two best performances of the year (see below). But you’ll find it difficult to argue with Day-Lewis, all the way up to the Oscars.
Best Actress: Emmanuelle Riva, “Amour” (Runner-up: Deanie Yip, “A Simple Life”)
Thoughts: Boston goes for Riva in “Amour,” which is, to my mind, one of the top two best performances of the year. So congratulations to her (not that she hasn’t been getting her share of praise along the circuit). We’ll have an interview with Riva coming next week, FYI.
Best Supporting Actor: Ezra Miller, “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” (Runner-up Christoph Waltz, “Django Unchained”)
Thoughts: I guess the Boston crowd really dug “The Perks of Being a Wallflower.” Good on ’em. I’d love to see Logan Lerman threaten Best Actor. Meanwhile, Christoph Waltz picks up his second runner-up recognition of the day, but these groups are really sleeping on Leonardo DiCaprio and Samuel L. Jackson on that score.
Best Supporting Actress: Sally Field, “Lincoln” (Runner-up: Emma Watson, “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”)
Thoughts: Apparently Field took this by just one vote over young Watson in a field that was also heavily contested by the likes of Ann Dowd, Anne Hathaway and Amy Adams. Intriguing, that. Sally Field wins her second critics prize after the NYFCC award last week.
Best Ensemble: “Seven Psychopaths” (Runner-up: “Moonrise Kingdom”)
Thoughts: An inspired pick, though I didn’t think the film itself really came to much. It is nevertheless full of interesting performances and highlights from the likes of Christopher Walken, Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson, etc. Another close call for “Moonrise Kingdom,” obviously a favorite.
Best Animated Film: “Frankenweenie” (Runner-up: “ParaNorman”)
Thoughts: Tim Burton’s film picks up its second prize on the circuit, though National Board of Review winner “Wreck-It Ralph” deferred to “ParaNorman” on the runner-up front. Burton’s is a wonderful, personal, hand-made piece of work that’s probably his best in many years. It would be great to see him finally win an Oscar and bring it full circle with the character that launched him into the business so many years ago.
Best Documentary: “How to Survive a Plague” (Runner-up: “The Queen of Versailles”)
Thoughts: Obviously they were leaning heavily toward David France’s film. But since we can see “The Queen of Versailles” was in the running, allow me to say: I’d have gone with that. What an amazing film.
Best Foreign Language Film: “Amour” (Runner-up: “Holy Motors”)
Thoughts: What an interesting pair of films to have been in the running. Both are duking it out for inclusion in my own top 10 list.
Best New Filmmaker: David France, “How to Survive a Plague” (Runner-up: Benh Zeitlin, “Beasts of the Southern Wild”
Thoughts: This seems like the Boston crowd saw what the New York folks did in the category and though, “Huh, good idea.” And fair enough. But while France’s work is a great accomplishment, particularly as a feat of editing, I think Zeitlin deserves this recognition as a new visionary.
Best Editing: “Zero Dark Thirty” (Runner-up: “Argo”)
Thoughts: I’d say these two films are on the top tier of editing accomplishments this year, and both feature work from the great William Goldenberg. He shared duties on the winner here with another great talent, Dylan Tichenor, and it’s really “Zero Dark Thirty” that is tough to argue against this year. What an assemblage.
Best Cinematography: “The Master” (Runner-up: “Life of Pi,” “Moonrise Kingdom”)
Thoughts: And “The Master” wins its first critics award of the season (this is its first, right?). I imagine it will continue to get its share of cinematography prizes this year as the 65mm work is stunning and crisp and at the forefront of discussion on the film. Was it necessary? Perhaps that’s arguable, but it sure is pretty.
Best Use of Music: “Moonrise Kingdom” (Runner-up: “Django Unchained”)
Thoughts: I might have gone with the runner-up here, though not by a wide margin. Wes Anderson’s use of music in “Moonrise Kingdom” is a darling call but as always, Quentin Tarantino fills out his latest with wonderful tracks, particularly an original tune penned by Ennio Morricone called “Ancora Qui” that I really hope finds some room with the Academy’s music branch.
Remember to keep track of all the ups and downs of the 2012-2013 film awards season via The Circuit.