The Austin Film Critics Association has named Kathryn Bigelow’s "Zero Dark Thirty" the best film of the year. The epic saga that follows the search for Osama bin Laden was written by Mark Boal and stars Jessica Chastain. It’s scheduled to open in Austin Jan. 11.
Paul Thomas Anderson won best director for "The Master," based loosely on Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. The movie also earned awards for Joaquin Phoenix as best actor and Mihai Malaimare Jr. for best cinematography. Director Benh Zeitlin’s fantastical "Beasts of the Southern Wild" garnered best first film honors, and the young star, Quvenzhané Wallis, was awarded the Robert R. "Bobby" McCurdy Memorial Breakthrough Artist Award.
Rounding out the acting awards were best actress Jennifer Lawrence for "Silver Linings Playbook," best supporting actor Christoph Waltz for his role in Quentin Tarantino’s "Django Unchained," and best supporting actress Anne Hathaway for her turn in the musical "Les Misérables." "Django Unchained" and "Les Misérables" open in Austin on Tuesday.
Richard Linklater’s dark comedy "Bernie" won the best Austin film prize, which the Austin Film Society co-founder has won twice before with 2009’s "Me and Orson Welles" and 2006’s "A Scanner Darkly." Linklater’s old friend and "Bernie" actor Matthew McConaughey received a special honorary award for a year that included roles in "Killer Joe," "Magic Mike," "The Paperboy" and "Bernie."
French filmmaker Leos Carax’s surrealist dream "Holy Motors" took home best foreign language film. Best animated film went to "Wreck-It Ralph," and "The Imposter," the story of a foreign con-man posing as a San Antonio teen, won best documentary. Rian Johnson won best original screenplay for "Looper," and Chris Terrio won best adapted screenplay for "Argo."
For the full list of winners visit AustinFilmCritics.org. The Top 10 lists of American-Statesman film critics will be published Dec. 28.
— Matthew Odam