NEW YORK: The prestigious New York Film Critics Circle gave “Zero Dark Thirty,” Kathryn Bigelow’s thriller about the hunt for Osama Bin Laden, a new shove in the direction of Oscar glory Monday. The director of the Oscar-winning “The Hurt Locker” is quickly gathering buzz for her latest war drama, which recounts the decade-long search for the Al-Qaeda founder and his killing in Pakistan in May 2011.
The critics group named the film best of 2012 and Bigelow best director. Honors from the NYFCC, made up of newspaper, magazine and online critics, have no direct bearing on the Academy Awards, but the extra publicity won’t hurt a film that will not even open in limited release until Dec. 19. “Zero Dark Thirty” centers on a female CIA analyst — played by Jessica Chastain — credited as a key force in the hunt for the Al-Qaeda chief, killed by US Navy SEALs in an audacious dead-of-night raid on his hiding place in Pakistan.