Jessica Chastain in Zero Dark Thirty

National Board of Review Winners

Just two days after it took home the top prize with the New York Film Critics Circle, Kathryn Bigelow's Zero Dark Thirty dominated the National Board of Review Awards, winning the prizes for Best Picture, Actress (Jessica Chastain), and Screenplay (Mark Boal). The NBR also recognizes foreign, documentary, and independent films with year-end lists. Of the five foreign films listed, all have played here at the Film Society. Included are No (NYFF '12), Barbara (NYFF '12), The Kid With a Bike (NYFF '11), The Intouchables (RDV '12), and War Witch (Benefit Screening, HRWFF '12). The NBR's doc list includes The Gatekeepers (NYFF '12) and Human Rights Watch selections Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry and The Invisible War.

More “Best of 2012” Lists

With John Waters' work in mind, it should be no surprise that his list of the year's best films is a bit more eclectic than most. While some of his choices will be shared by many, such as Michael Haneke's Amour, others are less familiar, such as Ulrich Seidl's Cannes competitor Paradise: Love. While some may have forgotten about it in the many months since its release, Terrence Davies' The Deep Blue Sea seems to have lasting power in the eyes of cinephiles. The winner of the Best Actress with this year's New York Film Critics Circle Awards, Davies' film was deemed the best film of the year by Waters.

Kim Nguyen's War Witch

Along with being named one of the best foreign films of 2012 by the National Board of Review, Kim Nguyen's War Witch was named to Canada's Top Ten. Voted on by members of the Canadian film industry, the list consists of what are thought to be the best Canadian films of the year. Along with Nguyen's award-winning film, the Top Ten includes films such as David Cronenberg's Cosmopolis, Sarah Polley's Stories We Tell, and Xavier Dolan's Laurence Anyways.

Slamdance Film Festival 2013

Not to be confused with the Sundance Film Festival, of course, the Slamdance Film Festival announced its competition program for their upcoming 2013 edition. Designed “to provide a more authentic representation of independent filmmaking” than the Sundance Film Festival, Slamdance takes place in the same city (Park City) during the very same week as Sundance. “Our goal is to showcase exhilarating filmmaking with a revolutionary take on our world,” said Slamdance CEO and Co-Founder, Peter Baxter. “These filmmakers have a tremendous ability to innovate, explore and revitalize the independent filmmaking landscape.” Head to Filmmaker Magazine for the full lineup.

Pedro Almodóvar

AMPAS Sets Pedro Almodóvar Tribute in London

Across the pond, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is set to celebrate Spanish auteur Pedro Almodóvar with an intimate retrospective at the Curzon Soho Cinema in London. This special event, set for next Thursday, December 13, will feature an extended conversation with the Oscar-winning writer-director along with discussions from collaborators and contemporaries such as Alberto Iglesias and Sally Potter.

The New York Times on Film Culture

Rumors of film culture's death have been greatly exaggeratted, according to The New York Times' A.O. Scott. Two months ago, in the middle of the New York Film Festival, Salon's Andrew O'Hehir rung death knell for film culture, writing that it had been deceased since Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction, “it's just taken us a while to realize it.” Thankfully for us cinephiles, the piece was the cause of much disagreement and mild uproar within the film community, prompting impassioned pieces from The New Yorker's Richard Brody and now A.O. Scott, who charges the likes of O'Hehir with a slight case of nostalgia. “I hate to ruin a good funeral, but all of this is nonsense,” writes Scott. “The coffin is empty. The habit of issuing death notices for various cultural forms is a vivid example of sentiment and ideology masquerading as sober historical judgment.”