"'Zero Dark Thirty' confirms the massive talent of Kathryn Bigelow," said NYFCC chairman Joshua Rothkopf, a critic for Time Out New York. "'Zero Dark Thirty' is a very important movie. It's not triumphant and it's still a very significant dramatization of an important event. And we were knocked out by the film."
But the critics group also cast a loud vote for Seven Spielberg's "Lincoln," bestowing it with three awards: Daniel Day-Lewis for best actor, Sally Field for best supporting actress and Tony Kushner for best screenplay. Lewis' award for his performance as the 16th president is his fifth from the NYFCC.
Rachel Weisz earned best actress from the critics for her performance in the little-seen "The Deep Blue Sea," a period drama by the British director Terence Davies.
This year's Oscar hunt is generally seen as fairly open, with a number of strong contenders. The NYFCC voting could help coalesce support behind "Zero Dark Thirty" and "Lincoln." Rothkopf, though, said that there was strong passion in voting for several films that didn't yield an award.
Michael Haneke's Palme d'Or-winning "Amour," a depiction of an aging married couple, took best foreign language film. Best non-fiction film went to "The Central Park Five," the documentary about the infamous 1989 New York rape case, co-directed by Ken Burns, his daughter Sarah Burns and David McMahon.
The New York Film Critics Circle, a body of 35 New York-based critics founded in 1935, announced their annual vote on Twitter over a period of hours. Awards will be handed out at a ceremony Jan. 7.