Bin Laden thriller wins New York critics award

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The critics group named the film best of 2012 and Bigelow best director. Honors from the NYFCC, made up of newspaper, magazine and online critics, have no direct bearing on the Academy Awards, but the extra publicity won’t hurt a film that will not even open in limited release until December 19.

The group highlighted Daniel Day-Lewis in Steven Spielberg’s likely Oscar contender “Lincoln” for best actor. The historical biopic also saw Sally Field winning best supporting actress and Tony Kushner best screenplay.

“Zero Dark Thirty” centers on a female CIA analyst -- played by Jessica Chastain -- credited as a key force in the hunt for the Al-Qaeda chief, killed by US Navy SEALs in an audacious dead-of-night raid on his hiding place in Pakistan.

“Zero Dark Thirty could well be the most impressive film Bigelow has made, as well as possibly her most personal,” commented the Hollywood Reporter, after initial screenings of the movie.

Entertainment Weekly tipped it as a possible nominee for best film, best director, best screenplay and best leading actress for Chastain, who was Oscar nominated for her supporting role in last year’s civil rights drama “The Help.”

“Zero Dark Thirty” gets its limited US release this month to qualify for February’s Academy Awards show, but the general release is not until January.

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