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.”
The full list of winners for the 2012 San Francisco Film Critics Circle Awards follows.
Kathryn Bigelow for “Zero Dark Thirty”
Best Original Screenplay
Mark Boal for “Zero Dark Thirty”
Best Adapted Screenplay
Tony Kushner for “Lincoln”
Joaquin Phoenix for “The Master”
Emmanuelle Riva for “Amour”
Best Supporting Actor
Tommy Lee Jones for “Lincoln”
Best Supporting Actress
Helen Hunt for “The Sessions”
Best Animated Feature
Best Foreign Language Film
“The Waiting Room”
Claudio Miranda for “Life of Pi”
Best Film Editing
William Goldenberg for “Argo”
Best Production Design
Adam Stockhausen for “Moonrise Kingdom”
Marlon Riggs Award for courage & vision in the Bay Area film community
Peter Nicks for “The Waiting Room.” Nicks’ vérité portrait of grace under pressure in an Oakland, Calif. emergency room addresses the U.S. health care crisis in human terms that transcend partisan debate
Special Citation for under-appreciated 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 guerrilla style on the streets on New York City
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