NY film awards give Bigelow's 'Zero Dark Thirty' Oscar boost

Kathryn Bigelow's Osama Bin Laden drama is on track for Oscar nominations after New York haul

LAST UPDATED AT 15:56 ON Tue 4 Dec 2012

A NEW film about the hunt for Osama bin Laden is shaping up as a frontrunner for the Academy Awards after it won three top trophies, including best film and best director, at the New York Film Critics awards last night.

Zero Dark Thirty is directed by Kathryn Bigelow, whose 2008 feature The Hurt Locker won six Oscars including best director. Its success at the New York Film Critics awards is significant because they are the first indicators of a movie's chances at the Academy Awards to be held on 24 February, says the BBC.

The film, starring Jessica Chastain as a young CIA officer in pursuit of the al-Qaeda leader, also won the best cinematography award and "is now positioned as an Oscar frontrunner".

The Guardian notes that Zero Dark Thirty was at the centre of a high-profile US political row earlier this year over claims by the Republican party that Barack Obama's administration had shared sensitive information with the producers. The film opens in US cinemas on 19 December, but a UK release date has yet to be announced.

The other big winner at last night's awards was Steven Spielberg's Lincoln, which dramatises the 16th US president's push to pass anti-slavery laws during the Civil War. It also won three awards, including best actor for Daniel Day Lewis, who The Guardian says can now be seen as a "safe bet" for an Oscar nomination.

Sally Field, who plays Lincoln's wife Mary Todd, won best supporting actress and Tony Kushner won for his screenplay.

The best actress award last night was won by Rachel Weisz for her role as a doomed adultress in The Deep Blue Sea. Matthew McConaughey got the best supporting actor gong for his roles in the male stripper comedy Magic Mike and Richard Linklater's Bernie. Best foreign language film went to Austrian director Michael Haneke's Amour, and Tim Burton's Frankenweenie won best animated feature. · 

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