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Boston film critics pick ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ as year’s best

Above: Jessica Chastain in Kathryn Bigelow’s “Zero Dark Thirty.”

JONATHAN OLLEY/COLUMBIA PICTURES VIA AP

Above: Jessica Chastain in Kathryn Bigelow’s “Zero Dark Thirty.”

The Boston Society of Film Critics named “Zero Dark Thirty,” a dramatization of the hunt for Osama Bin Laden, as the best film of 2012 yesterday and also honored its filmmaker, Kathryn Bigelow, as best director. “Thirty,” which will be released in the Boston area on Jan. 4 after opening in New York and Los Angeles, also took the award for editing from the Boston critics. The film has been named best picture by the New York Film Critics Circle and online critics groups in New York and Boston, positioning it as an early favorite for the Oscars in February.

Daniel Day-Lewis was awarded best actor for his lead performance in “Lincoln” by the BSFC; Steven Spielberg’s period epic was also honored by Sally Field’s win for her supporting performance as Mary Todd Lincoln and for Tony Kushner’s screenplay. Best actress went to Emmanuelle Riva, the legendary French actress (”Hiroshima Mon Amour”) who plays a woman in the twilight of her life in Michael Haneke’s stark drama “Amour” (”Love”). That film also won best foreign language film from the Boston critics.

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The BSFC is made up of 22 film critics from the New England area; this year marks the organization’s 32d annual awards. The voting spread the honors around: Best cinematography went to Mihai Malaimare Jr.’s burnished work for Paul Thomas Anderson’s “The Master,” while the much-loved summer art-house hit “Moonrise Kingdom” won for best use of music in a film. “How to Survive a Plague,” a nonfiction film about the activism of the early AIDS eras, won the best documentary prize while its director, David France, was awarded the David Brudnoy prize for best new filmmaker. Ezra Miller was named best supporting actor for his performance as a misfit teenager in “The Perks of Being a Wallflower.” Best ensemble cast went to Martin McDonagh’s eccentric gangster film “Seven Psychopaths,” while Tim Burton’s “Frankenweenie” was named best animated feature.

This is the fourth time Day-Lewis has won best actor from the Boston critics; earlier awards were for “My Left Foot,” “In the Name of the Father,” and “The Unbearable Lightness of Being.” Bigelow also won best director and best picture from the BSFC for her last film, “The Hurt Locker.”

In addition, the critics group handed out awards citing local theaters, arts groups, and film series. The Independent Film Festival of Boston received a commendation for a decade of “providing the city with a unique and genuine film festival experience,” while kudos also went to the Brandeis-based National Center for Jewish Film, Berklee College’s Sounds of Silents series, the authors of the book “Boston’s Downtown Movie Palaces,” and MIT film programmer Generoso Fierro. A full description of BSFC winners can be found at www.bostonfilmcritics
.org.
The group’s sixth annual awards ceremony will be held Feb. 10 at the Brattle Theatre in Cambridge.

A new group, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, announced their first annual awards on Saturday and also named “Zero Dark Thirty” best of 2012, with Bigelow winning the directing prize and star Jessica Chastain winning best actress. Day-Lewis won best actor for “Lincoln” (the film’s script won as well, as did Tommy Lee Jones for supporting actor), and “How to Survive a Plague” took best documentary. “Oslo, August 31st” was named best foreign language film, and Anne Hathaway won best supporting actress for “Les Miserables.”

Ty Burr can be reached at tburr
@globe.com
. Follow him on Twitter @tyburr.
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