Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association: Awards Reaction

Our 2012 Award WinnersWhen I stated only a week ago that the 2012 awards season was kicking into high gear, I wasn’t kidding around! With a new day comes yet another new award announcement from a critic group, this time the prestigious Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association (WAFCA). If anything, the latest batch of winners from the WAFCA confirms the exciting trend that has taken over the awards season: unpredictability. I honestly can’t think of the last time when so many categories were wide open, and while there a few solid frontrunners emerging, there are enough open ended questions at this point to keep the season intriguing, interesting, and engaging. Get a full list of WAFCA winners, as well as our complete reaction, below:

THE 2012 WAFCA AWARD WINNERS:
Best Film: Zero Dark Thirty
Best Director: Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty)
Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln)
Best Actress: Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty)
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 Foreign Language Film: Amour
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)
.
Effects On Oscar Race:

1. Frontrunners Lock In: Let’s not beat around the bush any longer: Zero Dark Thirty and director Kathryn Bigelow are now the heavy favorites for Best Picture and Best Director; out of the 6 major critic groups to announce their end of the year picks, both the film and the Academy Award-winning director have been awarded 5 times, making ZDT a rare behometh this season. Another safe lock is the mesmerizing Daniel Day-Lewis, who picked up his fifth Best Actor award thanks to WAFCA (even though he hasn’t swept thus far, he’s still a safe bet for a win come February). The last definite frontrunner emerging after the WAFCA awards is Michael Heneke’s Amour, which is by far and away the safe bet for Best Foreign Language Film.

2. Chastain Gains Traction: After Amour’s Emmanuelle Riva scored a Best Actress hat-trick among the BSOF, NYFCO, and LAFCA, the Best Actress race seemed to be widening up, but by capturing her second major win of the season here, Zero Dark Thirty’s Jessica Chastain seems to be gaining some traction (she also won with the National Board of Review) over Riva and other Oscar favorite, Jennifer Lawrence. By no means is Chastain a frontrunner, but with such high acclaim for the film (see #1), she’s easily got the biggest edge at this point

3. Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Welcome to the Race! Though Phillip Seymour Hoffman was an early season favorite for his tour-de-force performance as Lancaster Dodd in The Master, his WAFCA win here is his first major award of the season and the one that truly brings him back into the race. If anything, Hoffman’s win here proves that Best Supporting Actor could be one of tightest, most competitive races of the season. Out of the 6 major critic groups to announce award winners, each one has bestowed a different actor with its prize for Supporting Actor, a sign that while these talented men are surefire nominees, none are even close to achieving frontrunner status at this point

4. Hathaway Is Still Strong: From the beginning of the awards season, many have been calling Anne Hathaway the presumed frontrunner for Best Supporting Actress thanks to her emotionally tragic turn as Fantine in Les Miserables. However, until today, she had only picked up one major award for her work, proving that early predictions were somewhat nonsensical. All of that has obviously changed, and by picking up her second major critic award, Hathaway has reinserted herself as a strong player for the award and has tied Lincoln’s Sally Field for the most Best Supporting Actress awards of the season (each has two at the moment)

5. Smaller Races Heat Up: In a surprising move, WAFCA duplicated the National Board of Reviews picks for best original and adapted screenplay, awarding Rian Johnson’s Looper and David O. Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook, respectively. Though neither are frontrunners, Russell seems to be gaining solid ground on Tony Kusher’s script for Lincoln (widely considered an early favorite), and Johnson is riding high with his second win for Original Screenplay, a great sign for his future Oscar prospects. When it comes to Original Score, Johnny Greenwood’s music for The Master took the prize and is definitely poised for a nomination, as is ParaNorman, whose second win for Best Animated Feature puts it toe-to-toe with Frankenweenie for the eventual prize. Also to note is Best Cinematography, where the gorgeous Life of Pi picked up its second win in the category, the most of any film thus far, though it’s still way too early to give it the edge. Lastly, let’s not overlook the “The Joe Barber Award for Best Youth Performance”, where Beasts of the Southern Wild’s Quvenzhané Wallis was honored for her riveting work; though Wallis probably won’t win Best Actress, she’s been receiving numerous Breakthrough awards all season long and she seems to be poised for a nomination at only 9 years-old.

Article by Zack Sharf

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