"Zero Dark Thirty" won Best Picture from the New York Film Critics Circle. The 78th annual editions of these awards, which were announced Monday after a marathon five-hour meeting of the circle, mark the start of the year-end kudos calvacade. Prizes will be presented at a Jan. 7 ceremony.
"Zero Dark Thirty" helmer Kathryn Bigelow claimed her second Best Director award from the Circle, three years after winning for "The Hurt Locker," which also won the Best Picture prize. She made Oscar history that year, becoming the first woman to win Best Director and her film took the top award there as well. Greig Fraser won for his lensing of this film, which follows the decade-long hunt for Osama Bin Laden.
As expected, Oscar favorite Daniel Day-Lewis was named Best Actor by the NYFCC for "Lincoln." He has already won four awards from the Circle: Best Actor for "My Left Foot" (1989), Gangs of New York" (2002) and "There Will Be Blood" (2007) as well as Best Supporting Actor in 1986 for both "My Beautiful Laundrette" and "A Room with a View." He is now tied with Meryl Streep and is just one win behind Jack Nicholson who has four lead awards and two supporting trophies.
Thirty-three years after winning Best Actress from the NYFCC for "Norma Rae," Sally Field picked up their supporting prize for her performance as the first lady in "Lincoln." Tony and Emmy champ Tony Kushner ("Angels in America") won Best Screenplay for adapting Doris Kearn Goodwin's bestseller "Team of Rivals" into "Lincoln."
"Lincoln" helmer Steven Spielberg directed two NYFCC Best Picture champs -- "Schindler's List" (1993) and "Saving Private Ryan" (1998). While he won Oscars for both of those, the NYFCC went with Jane Campion ("The Piano") and Terrence Malick ("The Thin Red Line").
Rachel Weisz pulled off an upset with her Best Actress win for the little-seen remake of "The Deep Blue Sea." Expectations were high for Oscar frontrunner Jennifer Lawrence ("The Silver Linings Playbook") or last year's NYFCC Supporting Actress champ Jessica Chastain for "Zero Dark Thirty." This marks the first NYFCC win for Weisz, who claimed the 2005 Supporting Actress Oscar for "The Constant Gardener." That year, the Circle went with Maria Bello ("A History of Violence").
Matthew McConaughey won the Supporting Actor award for his work in two widely different films -- the dark comedy "Bernie" and the feel-good "Magic Mike." He is an Indie Spirit nominee for the latter as well as Best Actor contender at those kudos for "Killer Joe."
"Amour," which won four European Film Awards Sunday, was named Best Foreign Language Film. It is all but certain to claim that prize at the Oscars and could well contend in mainstream categories, including Best Picture.
"How to Survive a Plague," which won Best Documentary at last Monday's Gotham Awards, was named Best First Feature over, among others, "Beasts of the Southern Wild."
And Tim Burton's "Frankenweenie" took Best Animated Feature, an award that was not given out last year.
Last year, the Gotham crix named eventual Oscar champ "The Artist" as Best Picture while their West coast counterparts went with "The Descendants." Two years ago, both groups went with "The Social Network" for Best Picture; however, it was "The King's Speech" that reigned on Oscar night.
Other than that Best Pic pick last year, the NYFCC also presaged Oscar victories for "The Artist" helmer Michel Hazanavicius, Best Actress champ Meryl Streep ("The Iron Lady") and foreign language flick "A Separation."
Earliest Oscars Predictions Ever
Our Oscarologists are busy updating their predictions as they see more and more contenders. Make your early picks now -- click here -- and change them later as the derby heats up.