The Master and Beasts of the Southern Wild Lead Chicago Film Critics Nominations


The Chicago film critics have an uncanny knack for having the Best Picture winner in their nominees. They picked Crash for the win in 2005, and The Departed for the win in 2006, even when people thought other films might win. But when they don’t pick the winner, they nominate the winner, going all the way back to when they first started releasing their nominations.  I don’t know what that means ultimately. I just know what their relatively short history says.  But if true, that boils down Best Picture to three: Lincoln, Zero Dark Thirty and Argo.


Beasts of the Southern Wild
The Master
Zero Dark Thirty

Ben Affleck, Argo
Paul Thomas Anderson, The Master
Kathryn Bigelow, Zero Dark Thirty
Steven Spielberg, Lincoln
Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild

Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
John Hawkes, The Sessions
Denis Lavant, Holy Motors
Joaquin Phoenix, The Master
Denzel Washington, Flight

Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty
Helen Hunt, The Sessions
Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
Emmanuelle Riva, Amour
Quvenzhane Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild
Naomi Watts, The Impossible

Jason Clarke, Zero Dark Thirty
Leonardo DiCaprio, Django Unchained
Dwight Henry, Beasts of the Southern Wild
Phillip Seymour Hoffman, The Master
Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln

Amy Adams, The Master
Emily Blunt, Looper
Judi Dench, Skyfall
Sally Field, Lincoln
Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables

Django Unchained by Quentin Tarantino
Looper by Rian Johnson
The Master by Paul Thomas Anderson
Moonrise Kingdom by Wes Anderson & Roman Coppola
Zero Dark Thirty by Mark Boal

Argo by Chris Terrio
Beasts of the Southern Wild by Lucy Alibar & Benh Zeitlin
Lincoln by Tony Kushner
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Silver Linings Playbook by David O. Russell

Holy Motors
The Intouchables
Once Upon a Time in Anatolia
Rust & Bone

The Central Park Five
The Invisible War
The Queen of Versailles
Searching For Sugar Man
West of Memphis

The Secret World of Arrietty
Wreck-It Ralph

Claudio Miranda, Life of Pi
Janusz Kaminski, Lincoln
Mihai Milaimare Jr., The Master
Roger Deakins, Skyfall
Greig Fraser, Zero Dark Thirty

Alexandre Desplat, Argo
Dan Romer & Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild
Jonny Greenwood, The Master
Alexandre Desplat, Moonrise Kingdom
Alexandre Desplat, Zero Dark Thirty

Anna Karenina
Les Miserables
The Master
Moonrise Kingdom

Willian Goldenberg, Argo
Alexander Berner & Claus Wehlisch, Cloud Atlas
Leslie Jones & Peter McNulty, The Master
Stuart Baird, Skyfall
William Goldenberg & Dylan Tichenor, Zero Dark Thirty

Samantha Barks, Les Miserables
Kara Hayward, Moonrise Kingdom
Dwight Henry, Beasts of the Southern Wild
Tom Holland, The Impossible
Quvenzhane Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild

Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Drew Goddard, The Cabin in the Woods
Nicholas Jarecki, Arbitrage
Colin Trevorrow, Safety Not Guaranteed
Benz Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild

10 nominations–The Master
9 nominations–Beasts of the Southern Wild
8 nominations–Lincoln, Zero Dark Thirty
5 nominations–Argo
4 nominations–Moonrise Kingdom
3 nominations–Les Miserables, Skyfall
2 nominations–Amour, Django Unchained, Holy Motors, The Impossible, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, The Sessions, The Silver Linings Playbook, Looper
1 nomination–Anna Karenina, Arbitrage, Brave, The Cabin in the Woods, The Central Park Five, Cloud Atlas, Flight, Frankenweenie, The Intouchables, The Invisible War, The Life of Pi Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, Paranorman, Queen of Versailles, Rust & Bone, Safety Not Guaranteed, Searching for Sugar Man, The Secret World of Arietty, West of Memphis, Wreck-

Las Vegas Film Critics Award Life of Pi Best Picture

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Lincoln leads Houston Film Critic Society Awards with eight nominations


  1. Danemychal
    December 14, 2012

    Their top 5 in nominees reflect a great list of films: The Master, BOTSW, Lincoln, Zero Dark Thirty, Argo.

    Good job, Chicago.

  2. Casey
    December 14, 2012

    So proud of my city!
    These are the best nominees yet!

  3. little dragon
    December 14, 2012

    Finally some people gave BOTSW more credits. Please send Quvenzhane Wallis into the competition.

  4. petros
    December 14, 2012

    this is quite decent. no arkin at last, lavant and holy motors in, cloud atlas for editing. justice i think, wd chicago

  5. K. Bowen
    December 14, 2012

    Loved Argo and The Master. Liked Lincoln. Disliked BOTSW. Haven’t seen ZD30. Nice choices.

    The love for Amy Adams for The Master baffles me. It seems like critical give-up – we can’t think of anyone else, so go with the traditional choice. It’s not even her best performance this year.

    If Moonrise Kingdom had come out in November, would it be so lost in the shuffle?

  6. December 14, 2012

    Yep Casey, the choice of Denis Lavant among the top five really does have the Windy City scribes sitting tall. Yeah if NY and LA presented their case the way Chicago does with the nominees stage I’m sure he makes it on the short list too, but Chicago’s method is perhaps a more comprehensive way to evaluate the field.

  7. December 14, 2012

    Hello K.Bowen!!!

  8. Nic V
    December 14, 2012

    These nominations do not bode well for Les Mis.

  9. jj
    December 14, 2012

    get adams out and someone else in.

  10. Amanda
    December 14, 2012

    I dont understand the hate for Adams in the Master she was great. To say she did nothing is grossly wrong. Just because she wasnt as showy as the other two doesnt mean she did nothing. I mean watch her in the movie, watch her. She holds every scene she was in even if she has no lines. She absolutely deserves to be nominated she is a true definition of a supporting actress in a film.

  11. Wellington
    December 14, 2012

    Jesus! This is without a doubt the best compilation of nominations that I’ve seen this year! I agree with everything!!! KKKK

    And about Quvenzhane Wallis… I’ve been reading here, in other posts, people saying that she shouldn’t get nominations, because this is supporting the exploration of child work… Christ! What is all this really about? Envy? Envy that she gave us such a GREAT performance being so young? Let the little girl get all the acknowledgment the she DESERVES!!!

  12. Rod
    December 14, 2012


  13. Odee
    December 14, 2012

    Yeah, and I’m from Chicago as well and I’m quite pleased with this list. Beast and Holy Motors. We go by performances, not A-List actors. Although I would have left Hunt and/or Lawrence off in favor of Cotillard, who, unfortunately hasb an uneasy performance to back, which is a shame because there is no way it is not a great piece of acting, it’s just a tough performance to deal with. This is where Wallis should shine. I suspect she will win here.

    And although I liked Tommy Lee Jones, why, I ask WHY is there no love for David Strathairn? The 2nd best role among the men after DDL and no one appears to think so! Amazing! This guy is like Sam Waterston. Always so good, until people simply overlook just how fine an actor he is. What a shame! Thank God that they at least, acknowledged him in Good Night and Good Luck. He’s every bit as good in Lincoln and getting absolutely no love.

  14. Houstonrufus
    December 14, 2012

    Really great selection. This may be my favorite of the critics group selections thus far.

  15. benjamin
    December 14, 2012


    I would be over the moon if the oscar nominees looked something like this, although with hunt in supporting.

    Really hope dwight henry can make it in come nomination morning, and however divisive the master might be, it is undeniably astounding film making. Awesome job Chicago

  16. Kane
    December 14, 2012

    Not surprising at all, and I love it!!! Chicago has always loved Anderson, remember the kudos for Punch Drunk Love? And they do like honoring indie/debut films in some way or another. One of their shining moments was nominating Bill Irwin for his criminally underrated role in Rachel Getting Married. Well done, Chi-town!

  17. notenoughtime
    December 14, 2012

    David Strathairn omission is indeed unfortunate. I wondered why Tommy was getting all the supporting acting love from that film. Tommy is great, but he is not alone.

    About Adams, if you look back at prior years comments when she shows up on the list, there’s excessive criticism of her nominations. She plays perky too often, she doesn’t stack up against Viola Davis, yap, yap, yap. Her role in the Master was a substantial supporting role, key to the plot, and extemely well done. She shows a great deal of growth from playing perky and plucky. Good for her.

    Sasha/Ryan, recommendation. You should poll from your readers a list of roles that are getting absolutely overlooked. A nice alternative to the monotony of the same old awards arguments.

  18. December 14, 2012

    Chicago wins for best nominations list, BY FAR.

    Very happy to see Emily Blunt finally get some recognition for Looper.

  19. Mike
    December 14, 2012

    Yay for Wallflower‘s 2 nominations. Also happy for Emily Blunt. She was great in Looper.

  20. Naruse
    December 14, 2012

    This is probably the list of nominees from the artistic point of view. Like the mention of Lavant and Holy Motors.

  21. daniela
    December 14, 2012

    happy for samantha barks nomination, finally someone gives her what she deserves.

  22. KT
    December 14, 2012

    Finally Jason Clarke gets in! Great nominations all around, especially the Best Picture lineup.

  23. Casey
    December 14, 2012

    Agree with most of you, Adams IS exceptional in the master. And its a true SUPPORTING performance, as she anchors the rest of the cast in her scenes.

    I did however desperately wish for an Ann Dowd nomination from Chicago for Compliance. It received a rather long run at the Landmark here – and was full the two times I saw it.

  24. December 14, 2012

    These are too good. I can’t cope.

  25. alan of montreal
    December 14, 2012

    I think that Amy Adams has been getting darker with each role she gets nominated for, though even with the “perkier” roles, there’s always an dark edge to them. Look at Junebug, which is one of my favourite supporting roles of all time. She appears to be merely comic relief at the beginning of the film, but when we reach the end of the film (which I’m not going to spoil, even though it’s not really a twist ending), there is a change in her expression and emotion that is swift yet subtle that simply took my breath away. The same can be said of her performance in Doubt–she is innocent, yet her innocence is what anchors the moral ambiguity of the doubt expressed in the film. And in The Fighter, she plays a truly gritty character for the first time. I loved her in The Master, in which she plays the antithesis in many ways to her character in Junebug–very serious and very aware of what’s going on around her, her husband, and The Cause, which enables her to see the danger that Joaquin Phoenix’s character poses to the cult. I actually would have liked to see more of her character in the film–I find that it is really she who is the quiet power behind The Cause, as PSH’s character gets swept up in all the accoutrements that accompany what he’s created (idol worship, booze, fine dining, etc.). That makes Adams a serious contender for not only a nod, but perhaps even a surprise win, in my books.

  26. Sam
    December 14, 2012

    I gotta agree with Rex Reed on Silver linings Playbook…did nothing for me, and Jennifer Lawrence is THE most over rated actress working. Press and pundits talk like this performance was some revelation. Um…I can yell loud too and be pushy and aggressive….ooo she’s crazy too! I saw nothing…no chemistry with Cooper even. I saw some nice breasts and I KNOW how important breasts are. Scarlett Johannson was the last over rated actress of all time.

    Just spare me with this SLP best picture stuff. Mediocre. It won’t hold up mark my words.

  27. Lars
    December 14, 2012

    So far, this is the BEST list!
    Lavant, Riva, Hunt (as best actress), The Masters having the most nominations:)
    So I guess the weakest category this year is the best supporting actress eh?

  28. Lars
    December 14, 2012

    Boo on the omission of Ann Dowd and David Straitharn though
    Tommy Lee Jones is getting most of the attention though because his role is prominent throughout the whole movie. On the other hand, David’s role does not have any showy scenes/speeches, and he mostly appears in the first half of the film.

  29. Eric
    December 14, 2012

    I understand the pros and cons with Amy Adams… As a lead actress, she doesn’t have it. But if you put her with an ensemble film or even in a strong supporting role. She will chew it up.. We’ve seen it happen with Junebug, Doubt & The Fighter. All 3 she recieved Oscar nominations for along with other awards. The Master is yet another role of the same, just a different character in a different film. Honestly, why should anyone want her to take over a lead performance, when she shines as a supporting player. Best Actress is way to tight this year, once you think Jennifer Lawrence has it, then Jessica Chastain has it, then it’s back to Jennifer. I think Best Actress is going to come all the way down to the end between these two.

  30. Glenn UK
    December 14, 2012

    Again, to those naysayers about Les Miz, it was never going to do well on the critics circuit. If it is going to gain heat, it will do so with the Guilds and BAFTA. Les Miz did well with SAG and got ensemble too. The Actors branch will carry Les Miz through to the Oscars. The Guilds is where is begins …. or indeed could end. My biggest disappointment to date is the constant lock out for The Impossible with the exception of Actress. I haven’t seen it yet but I know I will love it and friends of mine who recently have seen it have nothing but praise for the film. I am sincerely hoping Ewan McGregor will be given a chance via the BAFTA route.

  31. Mrs Rochester
    December 14, 2012

    Best supporting line-up so far(except for the absence of Anne Dowd)
    Such a shame! I was somehow hoping she would make it, but with no SAG and no GG nominations is almost a lost cause…

  32. Mrs Rochester
    December 14, 2012

    *Ann Dowd

  33. PJ
    December 14, 2012

    The Master got dumped. Phoenix may not even be nominated. Not saying they don’t have good track record but that film is beyond saving.

  34. Edkargir
    December 14, 2012

    Finally ,some love for Beast.

  35. Linc4Jess
    December 14, 2012

    “The Beasts of the Southern Wild”. Saw it on DVD last night. The film won’t be going on my ten best list although the film has an excellent performance by the young girl Wallis. This film reminds me of “Winter’s Bone” of a few years back that got a lot of attention from critic’s group but just was not to my liking. “The Master” and “Holy Motors” getting recognition?? Don’t think so. Oh, well, doesn’t matter does it, since I don’t get to vote.

  36. kim
    December 14, 2012

    Okay, so now I know where the sharpest American film critics live: Chicago.

  37. Keil S.
    December 14, 2012

    I haven’t seen all the films yet, but that Best Actor category seems like it’s probably one of the most accurate to date.

  38. Uncle Jay
    December 14, 2012

    Ever since the “Django” screenings, we’re seeing a lot of “Django” love…I’m rooting for Leo!

  39. Jorge
    December 14, 2012

    Denis Lavant! Yes!!

    One can only hope that Holy Motors gets this kind of love from the Oscars.

    I suspect he really needed a SAG nod for it to happen, but one can hope, right?

  40. ChrisFlick
    December 14, 2012

    Normally I would say irrelevant, however…good for them for seeing Helen Hunt in lead, which is correct. Though they’ve drunk the PSH in supporting kool-aid, which is odd to my recollection of the movie. Still, glad to see the affection for Beasts of the Southern Wild. Nice to read all the appreciations of Amy Adams’ works in The Master. Aside from admiring her skill I like the lack of ‘Hey Oscar, look over here!’ in her work.

  41. SallyinChicago
    December 14, 2012

    “Casey / December 14, 2012
    So proud of my city!
    These are the best nominees yet!

    Thank you Chicago thank you thank you….for Denzel and Q. Wallis, for all Beasts noms, but where is Mathew McC? Huh? Where’s his Magic Mike performance?

  42. steve50
    December 14, 2012

    Good job, Chicago – more hits than misses and overall the best list so far esp. because you remembered Denis Lavant, Cloud Atlas’ editing, double Desplat, and Holy Motors.

  43. tombeet
    December 14, 2012

    I’m really happy with the list. Well done Chicago!

  44. GoOnNow
    December 14, 2012

    yes, now that the:

    Golden Globes,

    have announced their nominees and winners respectively, it’s time for the critics awards that nobody cares about (except a devoted few naturally).

    BAFTA is announcing nominations a day before Oscar announces His!
    Therefore the BAFTA opinion on nominations will change nothing.

  45. lili
    December 15, 2012

    DENCH !!! yay Dame!

  46. K. Bowen
    December 15, 2012

    To elucidate my thoughts on Adams …. she is a capable actress and is outstanding at times (Sunshine Cleaning, Trouble With the Curve, Junebug). At other times, particularly in prestige picks, IMO she sometimes gets lost in the shuffle, and at those times, it’s not that she’s ever bad, but I really don’t sense that she’s doing something more than a dozen actresses coudl do. That’s how I felt about The Master. But in the end, it’s hard to say, right? We don’t see the films with those other people.

  47. Dolan
    December 15, 2012

    Am I the only who is really concerned that Wallis might not get nominated? Is she having so much natural talent that people don’t think it’s good “acting”??

  48. December 15, 2012

    ^^^^ Dolan. Nah, but me personally, I’ve got no worries. IMO Keisha Castle-Hughes gave the same type of performance & she was still nominated.

    Remember that “Hushpuppy” may be considered a “Girl Power” role as “Pai” was. The academy– especially female members– just love to see girls in these types of roles (as they did Hailee Steinfeld in “True Grit”) They’re not as generous with those that play “victims” as often any more (Dakota Fanning & “Hounddog” ring a LOUD bell).
    Also, I think that specifically because she DIDN’T receive a SAG nod, she’s more likely to replace one of the other adult actresses that were in the lineup.

    They may be sweating bullets at Oscar time, b/c honestly, there’s nearly always a “casualty” in the former SAG lineup. Wallis &/or Riva may deliver some Phantom action the morning of nomination day.

    We shall see. (PS: GO Wallis!!)

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