‘Zero Dark Thirty’ Storms Ahead After National Board Of Review Victory

By Hannah Soo Park

It hasn’t even hit theaters yet, but “Zero Dark Thirty” is already well out of the gates and in the forefront of the awards season race.

Hot on the heels of its Best Picture success at the New York Film Critics Circle Awards on Monday, Kathryn Bigelow’s Osama bin Laden thriller gained even more momentum at Wednesday’s National Board of Review Awards. The movie was awarded the top prize, while its star, Jessica Chastain, and Bigelow earned nods as Best Actress and Best Director, respectively.

The docudrama, kept under lock and key until it was revealed in the past few weeks, has either inched ahead or gained on other favorites, like “Les Misérables,” “Silver Linings Playbook” and “Lincoln,” in the big Oscar discussion. And after their major wins this week, Bigelow and Chastain have also officially been pinned by some as “the ones to beat,” even before 2013’s Golden Globes.

Other top prizes awarded by the NBR—a panel of film academics, scholars, and professionals—include best actor for Bradley Cooper (“Silver Lining Playbook”), who beat out Oscar heavy-hitter Daniel Day-Lewis, and best supporting actor for Leonardo DiCaprio (“Django Unchained”). Meanwhile, the group placed an unexpected spotlight on Ann Dowd, who earned best actress for indie thriller “Compliance.” Among those listed in the top 10 films of the year were “Argo,” “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” “Looper,” and “The Perks of Being a Wallflower.”

We already know how “Zero Dark Thirty” ends, but the movie’s drama is rooted in the tension accumulating in the years-long journey that intelligence officials took to track down Osama bin Laden.

“Zero Dark Thirty” officially opens wide on January 11, 2013.