San Francisco, CA, December 16, 2012 – The San Francisco Film Critics Circle has named “The Master” the Best Picture of 2012, and its star Joaquin Phoenix as Best Actor. Paul Thomas Anderson’s exploration of the power dynamic between two quintessentially American men—one an unstoppable force, the other an immovable object—proved most compelling to the group of 28 Bay Area film critics.
“Zero Dark Thirty”—a taut thriller about the hunt for Osama Bin Laden—likewise collected two awards: Best Director for Kathryn Bigelow and Best Original Screenplay for Mark Boal. Best Adapted Screenplay went to Tony Kushner for elevating political sausage-making to poetry in his script for “Lincoln.” “Lincoln” was the third film to collect two awards, also winning for Best Supporting Actor Tommy Lee Jones. Helen Hunt, meanwhile, received the Best Supporting Actress award for “The Sessions.”
Best Actress went to a veteran whose screen appearances span five decades: Emmanuelle Riva. Riva’s performance as a wife and mother battling declining health powered Michael Haneke’s melancholy “Amour,” which also won top honors as Best Foreign Language Film.
Meeting at the Variety Club Screening Room in San Francisco, the SFFCC debated the merits of top-scoring nominees to determine its slate of the year’s best achievements in film. Among the other honorees: Best Documentary “The Waiting Room,” which tackled the American health-care crisis and Best Animated Film “ParaNorman,” an entertaining and surprisingly delicate stop-motion paranormal adventure.
In addition to the selection of “Life of Pi”’s Claudio Miranda for Best Cinematography, the SFFCC added two categories this year, awarding Best Film Editing to William Goldenberg for “Argo” and Best Production Design to Adam Stockhausen for “Moonrise Kingdom.”
A Special Citation shined a light on “Girl Walk//All Day,” a joyous dance film scored to pop/hip hop mashups. The annual Marlon Riggs Award, honoring courage and innovation in the world of cinema, went to Peter Nicks for directing Best Documentary Film “The Waiting Room.”
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The full list of winners for the 2012 San Francisco Film Critics Circle Awards:
Kathryn Bigelow, “Zero Dark Thirty”
Best Original Screenplay
Mark Boal, “Zero Dark Thirty”
Best Adapted Screenplay
Tony Kushner, “Lincoln”
Joaquin Phoenix, “The Master”
Emmanuelle Riva, “Amour”
Best Supporting Actor
Tommy Lee Jones, “Lincoln”
Best Supporting Actress
Helen Hunt, “The Sessions”
Best Animated Feature
Best Foreign Language Film
“The Waiting Room”
Claudio Miranda, “Life of Pi”
Best Production Design
Adam Stockhausen, “Moonrise Kingdom”
Best Film Editing
William Goldenberg, “Argo”
Special Citation for underappreciated independent cinema
Girl Walk//All Day This Jacob Krupnick film turns an already lively album of pop and hip hop mashups into a joyous celebration of music, dance and community shot guerilla style on the streets of New York City.
Marlon Riggs Award for courage & innovation in the Bay Area film community
Peter Nicks—Nicks’ vérité portrait of grace under extreme pressure in an Oakland, CA ER—“The Waiting Room”—addresses the U.S. health care crisis in human terms that transcend partisan debate.
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The San Francisco Film Critics Circle (SFFCC), founded in 2002, is comprised of film critics from Bay Area publications. Its members include Jeffrey Anderson (CombustibleCelluloid.com), Jeanne Aufmuth, Barry Caine, Peter Canavese (Palo Alto Weekly/GrouchoReviews.com), Andrea Chase (KillerMovieReviews.com/Behind the Scenes (Public Radio Exchange)), Fernando Croce (Slant Magazine), Cheryl Eddy (SF Bay Guardian), Michael Fox (J-The Jewish News Weekly of Northern California), Susan Gerhard (Fandor), Pam Grady (CinezineKane.com), Peter Hartlaub (San Francisco Chronicle), Dennis Harvey (Variety), Leba Hertz (San Francisco Chronicle), Jonathan Kiefer (Sacramento News and Review), Mick LaSalle (San Francisco Chronicle), Carla Meyer (Sacramento Bee), Omar Moore (PopcornReel.com), Randy Myers (Bay Area News Group), Tim Sika (CelluloidDreams.net/KGO), Michael Snyder (Sirius Satellite Radio), Ruthe Stein (San Francisco Chronicle), Kelly Vance (East Bay Express), Mel Valentin (eFilmCritic.com), Sara Maria Vizcarrondo (RottenTomatoes), Richard Von Busack (Metro Newspapers), Jan Wahl (KCBS AM & FM), Jason Walsh (Pacific Sun), and Sura Wood (The Hollywood Reporter).