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New York critics pick “Zero Dark Thirty” as best film

1134604 - Zero Dark Thirty

The New York Film Critics Circle on Monday picked action thriller “Zero Dark Thirty” as best film and gave its top acting honours to Daniel Day-Lewis and Rachel Weisz in the first major movie awards of the season leading up to Hollywood’s Oscars.

U.S. filmmaker Kathryn Bigelow won best director for “Zero Dark Thirty,” based on the decade-long U.S. operation to kill Osama bin Laden and billed as a cinematic look at “the greatest manhunt in history.”

Bigelow’s film, which stars Jessica Chastain as a young female CIA officer doggedly pursuing bin Laden for years through a long-forgotten courier, has yet to be released but has already gained buzz in early screenings for critics.

After Monday’s nod from the New York film critics, “Zero Dark Thirty” is positioned as one of the front runners in the race for this year’s Academy Awards, the film world’s highest honours, which are handed out in February.

Day-Lewis won for his performance as President Abraham Lincoln in “Lincoln,” while Britain’s Weisz was a surprise choice for the New York critics’ best actress award for her portrayal of Hester Collyer in romantic drama “The Deep Blue Sea,” set in post-World War Two Britain.

The critics awarded best cinematography to Greig Fraser for “Zero Dark Thirty” and best first film went to nonfiction film “How To Survive A Plague,” David France’s documentary about the first nine years of AIDS advocacy group ACT UP.