Home The Washington Diplomat February 2013

Bin Laden Hunt and French Love Story Top 2012 WAFCA Awards

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film.zero.dark.thirty.storyPhoto: Columbia Pictures Industries
"Zero Dark Thirty," a gripping account of the 10-year manhunt for Osama bin Laden, garnered three top awards from the Washington DC Area Film Critics Association.

Also See: 2012 WAFCA Award Winners

"Zero Dark Thirty," the vivid depiction of the U.S. intelligence community and military's 10-year quest in search of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden — mastermind of the 9/11 terrorist attacks — which concluded with the daring raid on his secret hideout in Pakistan, collected a leading three awards by the Washington DC Area Film Critics Association (WAFCA).

The American political action drama swept WAFCA's most prestigious prizes of Best Film, Best Director (American Kathryn Bigelow) and Best Actress (American Jessica Chastain for her tour-de-force performance as a dogged CIA analyst).

"In a year full of strong films, director Kathryn Bigelow's bold and audacious vision, represented in our Best Picture winner, is the perfect political story for our members in the District of Columbia. This story, told with steely, cold effectiveness, is a worthy entry into WAFCA's Best Picture canon and a cinematic achievement that we are proud to honor," proclaimed WAFCA President Tim Gordon.

Bigelow's second Best Director WAFCA Award comes only three years after she became the first woman to ever win by helming "The Hurt Locker," her powerful depiction of a U.S. Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal team's dangers during the Iraq War.

For 2009's "The Hurt Locker," Bigelow also scored the distinction of being the first female filmmaker to take home the coveted Best Director Oscar after 82 years. However, that honor has no chance of repeating this year as she was shockingly shut out of the 85th annual Academy Award nominees for Best Director, even though she was considered a leading contender and "Zero Dark Thirty" was nominated for the Best Picture Oscar.

Austrian maverick writer-director Michael Haneke's French-language "Amour" (see film reviews) was crowned WAFCA's Best Foreign Language Film, one of a lengthy string of honors positioning it as an Oscar favorite. Anglo-Irish leading man Daniel Day-Lewis acquired the Best Actor Award by depicting the larger-than-life eponymous character of "Lincoln," Steven Spielberg's historical epic. The British musical sensation "Les Misérables" garnered Best Acting Ensemble for its star-studded international cast and Best Supporting Actress for American movie star Anne Hathaway. Distinctive American actor Philip Seymour Hoffman was deemed Best Supporting Actor for "The Master," for which English composer Jonny Greenwood claimed Best Score, making it one of only three films with more than one WAFCA Award.

This season, WAFCA instituted the Joe Barber Award for Best Youth Performance in honor of Joe Barber, who died a little over a year ago after an influential career as WTOP's long-tenured arts editor and a D.C. film critic. American child actress Quvenzhané Wallis, the precocious star of the indie fable "Beasts of the Southern Wild," who was just 6 years old at the time of filming, earned the inaugural memorial accolade spotlighting the best performance from an actor or actress under 20.

"It's a shame Joe was not able to see Quvenzhané's fierce and compassionate performance in this gem of a film. It's exactly the sort of role Joe would have loved, and we are so thankful to be able to remember him going forward with this very special award," said Gordon. Now 9 years old, Wallis also became the youngest Best Actress nominee of all time at the Academy Awards.

The three WAFCA prizes given to "Zero Dark Thirty" epitomize a year in which political and historical dramas dominated the association's awards, which recognized the top-quality movies and talent of 2012 according to a decidedly local perspective. WAFCA's voting membership consists of nearly 50 film critics — including this writer — covering the Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia area who report in print, web, radio and television.

For more information, visit www.dcfilmcritics.com.

2012 WAFCA Award Winners:

Best Foreign Language Film: "Amour"

Best Film: "Zero Dark Thirty"

Best Director: Kathryn Bigelow ("Zero Dark Thirty")

Best Actress: Jessica Chastain ("Zero Dark Thirty")

Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis ("Lincoln")

Best Supporting Actor: Philip Seymour Hoffman ("The Master")

Best Supporting Actress: Anne Hathaway ("Les Misérables")

Best Acting Ensemble: "Les Misérables"

Best Adapted Screenplay: David O. Russell ("Silver Linings Playbook")

Best Original Screenplay: Rian Johnson ("Looper")

Best Animated Feature: "ParaNorman"

Best Documentary: "Bully"

Best Art Direction: Uli Hanisch, Hugh Bateup, production designers; Peter Walpole, Rebecca Alleway, set decorators ("Cloud Atlas")

Best Cinematography: Claudio Miranda ("Life of Pi")

Best Score: Jonny Greenwood ("The Master")

The Joe Barber Award for Best Youth Performance: Quvenzhané Wallis ("Beasts of the Southern Wild")

2012 WAFCA Award Nominees:

Best Foreign Language Film:

"Amour"

"The Intouchables"

"I Wish"

"A Royal Affair"

"Rust and Bone"

Best Film:

"Argo"

"Les Misérables"

"Lincoln"

"Silver Linings Playbook"

"Zero Dark Thirty"

Best Director:

Ben Affleck ("Argo")

Paul Thomas Anderson ("The Master")

Kathryn Bigelow ("Zero Dark Thirty")

Tom Hooper ("Les Misérables")

Steven Spielberg ("Lincoln")

Best Actress:

Jessica Chastain ("Zero Dark Thirty")

Marion Cotillard ("Rust and Bone")

Jennifer Lawrence ("Silver Linings Playbook")

Helen Mirren ("Hitchcock")

Emmanuelle Riva ("Amour")

Best Actor:

Daniel Day-Lewis ("Lincoln")

John Hawkes ("The Sessions")

Hugh Jackman ("Les Misérables")

Joaquin Phoenix ("The Master")

Denzel Washington ("Flight")

Best Supporting Actor:

Alan Arkin ("Argo")

Javier Bardem ("Skyfall")

Leonardo DiCaprio ("Django Unchained")

Philip Seymour Hoffman ("The Master")

Tommy Lee Jones ("Lincoln")

Best Supporting Actress:

Amy Adams ("The Master")

Samantha Barks ("Les Misérables")

Sally Field ("Lincoln")

Anne Hathaway ("Les Misérables")

Helen Hunt ("The Sessions")

Best Acting Ensemble:

"Argo"

"Les Misérables"

"Lincoln"

"Moonrise Kingdom"

"Zero Dark Thirty"

Best Adapted Screenplay:

Chris Terrio ("Argo")

David Magee ("Life of Pi")

Tony Kushner ("Lincoln")

Stephen Chbosky ("The Perks of Being a Wallflower")

David O. Russell ("Silver Linings Playbook")

Best Original Screenplay:

Quentin Tarantino ("Django Unchained")

Rian Johnson ("Looper")

Paul Thomas Anderson ("The Master")

Wes Anderson & Roman Coppola ("Moonrise Kingdom")

Mark Boal ("Zero Dark Thirty")

Best Animated Feature:

"Brave"

"Frankenweenie"

"ParaNorman"

"Rise of the Guardians"

"Wreck-It Ralph"

Best Documentary:

"Bully"

"The Imposter"

"The Invisible War"

"The Queen of Versailles"

"Searching for Sugar Man"

Best Art Direction:

Sarah Greenwood, production designer; Katie Spencer, set decorator ("Anna Karenina")

Uli Hanisch, Hugh Bateup, production designers; Peter Walpole, Rebecca Alleway, set decorators ("Cloud Atlas")

Eve Stewart, production designer; Anna Lynch-Robinson, set decorator ("Les Misérables")

Rick Carter, production designer; Jim Erickson, set decorator ("Lincoln")

Adam Stockhausen, production designer; Kris Moran, set decorator ("Moonrise Kingdom")

Best Cinematography:

Danny Cohen ("Les Misérables")

Claudio Miranda ("Life of Pi")

Mihai Malaimare Jr. ("The Master")

Roger Deakins ("Skyfall")

Greig Fraser ("Zero Dark Thirty")

Best Score:

Dan Romer & Benh Zeitlin ("Beasts of the Southern Wild")

Howard Shore ("The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey")

John Williams ("Lincoln")

Jonny Greenwood ("The Master")

Alexandre Desplat ("Moonrise Kingdom")

Best Youth Performance:

Jared Gilman ("Moonrise Kingdom")

Kara Hayward ("Moonrise Kingdom")

Tom Holland ("The Impossible")

Logan Lerman ("The Perks of Being a Wallflower")

Quvenzhané Wallis ("Beasts of the So")


About the Author

Ky N. Nguyen is the film reviewer of The Washington Diplomat.

Last Edited on July 11, 2013