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STORY: Hollywood's biggest stars came together in New York for the National Board of Review Awards Gala on Tuesday (January 8) night.
"Zero Dark Thirty," a film about the hunt for Osama bin Laden, picked up the most honors along with the most controversy.
Since the release of the film a debate over using torture techniques in order to gain information from CIA detainees, some of which are featured in the film, has arose.
In addition, a pending Senate investigation will take a look at how the film's director, Kathryn Bigelow obtained such detailed information regarding the killing of bin Laden.
The film's star, Jessica Chastain, took a night off from her role on Broadway to pick up her prize. On the red carpet she admitted that her schedule has her a tad fatigued.
"I am a little tired. But it's not so exhausting when you really love your job. And every moment I have such enormous gratitude," said Chastain who recently made her Broadway debut in "The Heiress."
Many of this year's most noted films have a central message of 'winning over the bad guy.' Actor and director Ben Affleck, who was celebrated with the special achievement in flimmaking trophy for his movie "Argo," had a theory for the trend.
"This is a time of discomfort, of uneasy. Where we feel like the economy is bad, we're still trapped in these wars overseas. We don't really know what the future holds. And I think during times like that you want to see stories about somebody getting it right. Particularly a true story, a time when they went over and did something good. I think that speaks to 'Lincoln' and 'Zero Dark Thirty' and 'Django' and our movie. And a whole lot of other movies that want to be uplifting at a time when people are perhaps concerned about their future," he explained.
Each year the National Board Review Award winners are chosen by a group of film enthusiasts, students and filmmakers. The gala has long been considered a valid precursor to the Academy Awards nominations. The Oscar nominees will be announced on Thursday, January 10.
Ben Affleck's theory on cinema (0:59)
Jan. 8 - The National Board of Review honors Affleck with the special achievement in flim making prize. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). ( Transcript )