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NBR Loves Manchester by the Sea

The National Board of Review, the only non-industry and non-journalist/critic group of note that passes out awards each year have announced their winners. They are notoriously secretive and hard to predict apart from three things: their eternal love for Clint Eastwood (even when no one else is loving him as with titles like Hereafter) so we knew Sully would be on their list; their recency bias (they love December releases historically more than Oscar); and their magical not-at-all suspicious divvying up of prizes to make sure each studio must purchases a table at their banquet.

Their top winner this year were Kenneth Lonergan's Manchester by the Sea which won four awards and Moonlight which won two. No other film took multiple prizes though some received a prize plus a citation on one of their top five / top ten lists. Notable Oscar hopefuls that received no mentions whatsover: Jackie, Lion, Loving, Fences, Florence Foster Jenkins, Toni Erdmann and Love & Friendship.

The winners and list are after the jump...

Best Film:  Manchester by the Sea

This prize nearly always correlates with a Best Picture nomination but we knew Manchester was headed there already.

Best Director:  Barry Jenkins, Moonlight

Best Actor:  Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea

Amy likes the attention given the tough competition for Best Actress this year.

Best Actress: Amy Adams, Arrival

Best Supporting Actor: Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water

Best Supporting Actress:  Naomie Harris, Moonlight

They sometimes go out on crazy welcome limbs for performance awards but this year they stuck with people who are definitely in the hunt. 

Best Original Screenplay:  Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea

if they saw Silence at all it benefitted from "recency" bias since it was obviously the last film screened.

Best Adapted Screenplay:  Jay Cocks and Martin Scorsese, Silence

Best Animated Feature:  Kubo and the Two Strings

Breakthrough Performance (Male): Lucas Hedges, Manchester by the Sea

Breakthrough Performance (Female): Royalty Hightower, The Fits

Krish is having a good week. It also took a prize with the Gotham Awards

Best Directorial Debut:  Trey Edward Shults, Krisha

Best Foreign Language Film: The Salesman

Best Documentary:  O.J.: Made in America

Best Ensemble:  Hidden Figures

Spotlight Award: Creative Collaboration of Peter Berg and Mark Wahlberg

NBR Freedom of Expression Award:  Cameraperson

Top Films
Hacksaw Ridge
Hail, Caesar!
Hell or High Water
Hidden Figures
La La Land
Patriots Day

Hidden Figures, Silence, and Patriot's Day all have two citations to help as advertisements when they open.

Top 10 Independent Films
20th Century Women
Captain Fantastic
Creative Control
Eye in the Sky
The Fits
Green Room
Hello, My Name is Doris
Morris from America
Sing Street

No citation for The Witch or Love & Friendship? Boo! 

Top 5 Foreign Language Films
The Handmaiden
Land of Mine

It's worth noting that two of these are still in theaters (Elle and The Handmaiden so get to them quickly!) Julieta and Neruda and Land of Mine have not yet opened but will be hitting select theaters between December and February or so, depending on where you live. The only one that is not eligible for the Oscar correlative category is The Handmaiden since Korea submitted The Age of Shadows instead.

Top 5 Documentaries
De Palma
The Eagle Huntress
Life, Animated
Miss Sharon Jones!

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Reader Comments (48)

Silence has definitely screened for NBR. First group to see it from what I have read.

November 29, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterguest

Paramount screened Silence for NBR on the 19th, two days after Marty finished the film. La La Land was the last film screened before the vote.

November 29, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterEtone

Given her sad passing, is an Oscar nomination for Miss Sharon Jones pretty much a given at this point? Topical and musical?

November 29, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterKermit_The_Frog

The bigger Casey Affleck gets this award season, the bigger those assault allegations are going to get.

November 29, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterHayden W.

Well, those are intriguing lists. I get out to see a lot (pre- and post-release), but of their top 30 films I've only managed to see seven, three of which haven't even opened yet.

November 29, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

Their Top 10 sure skews blockbustery, doesn't it? I'm surprised Fences, 20th Century Women, and Jackie were so overlooked.

November 29, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterBryan

I'm starting to wonder if Bridges is our frontrunner? I love Ali as well, but a nom might be his win. I feel like Grant has a shot but I keep getting this bad feeling that he will be the surprise snub come oscar morning. His performance is great and deserving but its just a gut feeling.

November 29, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJosh

I'm not sure these awards mean much for the Oscars, since as you say, no one even knows who the NBR are, and they're quickly going to be overshadowed by NYFCC and LAFCA. I am surprised that Fences was excluded, as NBR supposedly wants to have as many big names at its party as possible, and Denzel Washington is just about the biggest name in the Oscar race this year. Maybe they didn't think he'd show up?

I hope Miss Sharon Jones! gets nominated, it's among the best music documentaries I've seen and a very sweet tribute to its star.

November 29, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

Josh - my gut tells me Grant will be snubbed as well. I hope we are wrong.

November 29, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMichael R

Well good for Amy but she's the best of the year? I'm doubtful, and I liked her in Arrival.

November 29, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterDJDeeJay

Definitively helped: Arrival, Hell or High Water.
Definitively hurt: Loving, Fences, Lion.
Can't know yet because of NBR's higher bias toward big names: Silence, Hail Caesar!, Hacksaw Ridge, Sully.
Can't know yet because of NBR's December Bias: Hidden Figures.
Does exclusion HERE really change much, if anything?: Florence Foster Jenkins, Love & Friendship, Jackie.


1. Manchester by the Sea
2. La La Land
3. Moonlight
4. Jackie
5. Arrival
6. Hell or High Water
7. Zootopia (Yeah, I think this MIGHT be the "race movie" (and, to be clear, it's TOTALLY a race movie) most strengthened (and Loving the most hurt) by Trump's election, at least as far as BP goes. Because, in spite of not actually having black characters or actors in the primary roles, it actually TALKS about prejudice as a primary focus. ("Oh, so there's a 'them' now?") Moonlight doesn't even really bring it up (it's excellent, but it's mostly not about prejudice, outside of a single scene), Fences isn't really about that either (when everyone in the cast is black...), and Loving, from what I've heard, skirts around that stuff as much as possible as well. This is the angriest race movie (not the angriest race "media" (why hello Mafia III and parts of Watch_Dogs 2)) this year, and it getting the nomination would be the ultimate symbol from Hollywood liberals to "stay angry." If Clinton had been elected, I think Loving might have been able to stay in it. But, as is, Hollywood might decide we need an angrier symbol (All the prescient parallels between Assistant Mayor Bellwether and Trump won't hurt that campaign) and I think Zootopia is as close to that as possible.)
8. Silence
9. Fences
10. Lion


1. Natalie Portman, Jackie
2. Emma Stone, La La Land
3. Amy Adams, Arrival
4. Ruth Negga, Loving
5. Annette Bening, 20th Century Women
6. Isabelle Huppert, Elle
7. Taraji P. Henson, Hidden Figures
8. Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins
9. Kate Beckinsale, Love & Friendship
10. Jessica Chastain, Miss Sloane


1. Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
2. Denzel Washington, Fences
3. Ryan Gosling, La La Land
4. Tom Hanks, Sully
5. Hugh Grant, Florence Foster Jenkins
6. Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic
7. Jason Bateman, Zootopia (Shut up. Any actor open to voting for voice acting WILL be voting for this #1, and that number is hopefully increasing every year. It's probably the most natural "star turn" (and in spite of how weighty and angry Zootopia gets, it's also still a "star movie") this year and it was all in a booth.)
8. Joel Edgerton, Loving
9. Chris Pine, Hell or High Water
10. Michael Keaton, The Founder

Supporting Actor:

1. Mahershala Ali, Moonlight
2. Peter Sarsgaard, Jackie
3. Lucas Hedges, Manchester by the Sea
4. Alan Rickman, Eye in the Sky (You're resisting a bit too much on this. Only two or three have really strong candidacy this year and his tragic, 0 nomination, record IS the campaign. Publicists and co-stars can sell that.)
5. Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water
6. Trevante Rhodes, Moonlight
7. Stephen Henderson, Fences
8. Liam Neeson, Silence
9. Dev Patel, Lion (The Last Airbender, Marigold Hotel Franchise, Chappie. If he lucked into something like this in, oh, 2010? Maybe. After those? Not quite buying it.)
10. Patrick Stewart, Green Room (Speaking of a potential surprise topical swerve? Let's have Captain Picard as a Nazi Skinhead for $200, Alex.)

Supporting Actress:

1/2. Viola Davis & Naomie Harris, Fences & Moonlight
3. Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea (Yo-Yo, this one.)
4. Molly Shannon, Other People
5. Tilda Swinton, Doctor Strange
6. Helen Mirren, Eye in the Sky
7. Greta Gerwig, 20th Century Women (Spirit bait un-nominated by the Spirits? That doesn't scream "5th place".)
8. Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures
9. Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Miss Sloane
10. Felicity Jones, A Monster Calls (Cancer Mom minus for Genre Picture minus for Too Late Release for Genre Picture minus for Oscar Dirty Laundry = 10th at best.)

Original Screenplay:

1. Jackie
2. Manchester by the Sea
3. Moonlight
4. Zootopia
5. 20th Century Women
6. Hell or High Water
7. The Lobster
8. La La Land
9. Loving
10. Captain Fantastic

Adapted Screenplay:

1. Love and Friendship
2. Arrival
3. Fences
4. Deadpool (I've had the sneaking suspicion for a while this one will sneak in an unusually weak year. This kind of relentless meta exercise on a popular genre is writer CATNIP.)
5. Silence
6. Elle
7. Lion
8. Captain America: Civil War (If one way to mark a great adapted screenplay is fixing flaws in the source material (and that absolutely should be one way to mark a great adapted screenplay), than the Civil War movie should be in the argument for rehabilitating it's contentious, badly executed comics source material and turning it good.)
9. Sully
10. Hidden Figures

November 29, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

Patriot's Day? is Patriot's Day?

November 29, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterDavid S.

Something tells me that Patriots Day is this year's American Sniper.... brace yourselves.

November 29, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterCris

My biggest thought from reading this article was...... is this the start of an unforeseen Amy Adams steamroll? It is her sixth nomination after all (if it happens, of course), and we know how that went for Winslet.....

(and, yes, also Close I know....)

November 29, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterTravis C

Hayden W. -- I already read one this morning!

I was expecting Fences to sweep.

Amy must be delighted. She's good but we've seen that role before.

November 29, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

I'm inclined not to take much of this seriously for so many reasons. I suggest we wait for the others to start chiming in before we declare whose Oscar chances are helped or hurt.

November 29, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterTroy H.

David S. & Cris: Patriots Day isn't "This Year's American Sniper." The reviews aren't QUITE good enough, even for that. All this proves is that "serious Peter Berg" (see also: Lone Survivor in 2013) is one of NBR's stunningly bizarre hard-ons, along with Clint Eastwood.

November 29, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

That is just the nuttiest Top Ten list I think I've ever seen, for this year or any other year, and NBR is not exactly known for its perfectly reasonable top ten lists.

November 29, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterDancin' Dan

NBR also called Memoirs of a Geisha one of the top 10 films of the year 10 years ago, so I take these awards with a huge grain of salt.

November 29, 2016 | Unregistered Commentercash


November 29, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAmir

Who are these people? Hail Caesar!, Sully, Hacksaw Ridge, etc. are B movies at best.

November 29, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterLaura Linney, by phone

Am I the only one who thought Naomie Harris was the weak link in Moonlight? Loved the movie, but she's no bueno in it.

November 29, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterCharlieG

Amy Adams is the luckiest woman in the world. So much success for someone so unexceptional.

November 29, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMike

Harris is definitely overrated. Granted, her character isn't much of anything, but she doesn't really add to it. Linda Emond or Sarah Gadon should be winning this award from what I've seen so far.

November 29, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

Harris was exceptional in Moonlight. Her last scene haunts me still.

November 29, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMichael R

Amy Adams is the luckiest woman in the world. So much success for someone so unexceptional.

I laugh because it's true.

November 30, 2016 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

We are talking about the NBR, people. I think Critic groups will start correcting the discussion of contenders, but not the NBR.

November 30, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJones

Nathaniel- I think you put in Bening in lock status prematurely. I am still predicting her for the nomination but with how competitive this year is, I would not call anyone beyond Stone or Portman a lock.

November 30, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMitch

Adams is def gettin a nom at the golden globes. They adore her!!! I've a cinch she might bump off bening, negga ir huppert in the final 5. She has ano high profile pic Norturnal Animals to boost her status.

November 30, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterClaran

Hail, Caesar! is not a B movie. It's the type of cult movie whose reputation will likely grow over time, a la The Big Lebowski. That said, it's not an "Oscar movie," and it was released a long time ago, so it's surprising that NBR included it in their top 10.

November 30, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

I think Arrival is in my top 3 Amy Adams performances of all time, along with Enchanted and Her, so I am happy for her. I am often respond to her work as an actress and I wholeheartedly disagree with the notion that she is unexceptional or lucky.

Sully is a solid movie, but should not make a top 10, and I am one of the few Eastwood defenders here at TFE. Speaking of that...

American Sniper is an excellent movie (except fake baby scene), so if Patriot's Day is as good as that, I have no problem with its getting a citation.

Not sure if it is good or not for Naomie Harris to get a NBR award, as their Supporting Actress picks miss at the Oscars very often. I am very eager to watch Moonlight, but it will never hit theaters in my corner of the world because of its themes, so I'll have to wait for streaming! :(

November 30, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterCarmen Sandiego

@ Carmen Sandiego, there's plenty of Amy Adams shade-throwing on this page.

Don't allow the haters to take away the pleasure of acknowledging her wonderful performances and consistently smart choices.

Adams' cinematic body of work is far more impressive than Viola Davis' and The Film Experience does not like talking about this fact. Along with the fact that she's, therefore, more overdue than Davis for a win.

Lastly, Davis has neither delivered a Precious type of powerhouse Supporting performance nor a Blue Jasmine Leading one. So I'd love it if people took a seat and relaxed.

November 30, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterYavor

Not sure if I'd go so far as to saying she's more deserving than the great Viola Davis, but Adams fatigue, and the fact she could knock out someone deserving like Huppert is definitely fueling this current round of shade. Adams is simply amazing in Arrival. I haven't seen every film so I'm not sure if there is a better actress performance this year, but a nomination would not be the travesty that so many here like to believe.

November 30, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterSawyer

Amy deserves all of the accolades she gets for Arrival. People on here are way too biased in their disdain for her to admit it.

November 30, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAgreed

"the great Viola Davis"

How many times was the great Viola Davis "OMG powerhouse" in a film? Honestly, how many performances?

Her work in Doubt is not a Precious
her work in The Help is not a Blue Jasmine

She was wonderful and really moving in both films but that does not equate to what either Monique or Cate Blanchett accomplished with their winning performances.

And if we're going to talk about wonderful and really moving, Adams has done that more often than Davis.

November 30, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterYavor

Oh my god, totally. Davis is never bad and she does interesting things with the little she's given to do both in The Help and Doubt. But she was certainly not best of the year in either case and outside of tiny supporting parts her screen career hasn't been all that lengthy or impressive so - especially if randomly pitted against Amy Adams' 11 years of consistently award-worthy performances in high-profile films - this 'overdue' talk is a bit rich........


Part of the reason Davis isn't 'overdue' is because she hasn't had much opportunity to demonstrate her range and talent (certainly far less than my beloved Amy has).

And 120% of the reason for that is, y'know, racism.

So I still want Davis to win an Oscar post haste (ideally in lead) because I do think these gestures matter and help bring about change.

eg. Just on a very basic level, the phrase 'Academy Award Winner Viola Davis' is much more attractive to prospective financiers than the phrase 'Academy Award Nominee Viola Davis'.

(PS. Outside of bitchy gays, no one would actually have a problem with Amy Adams winning an Oscar)

November 30, 2016 | Unregistered Commentergoran

goran, the ironic thing is Amy has a large gay fanbase. It's just the gays on here that seem cool on her.

November 30, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAgreed

@Goran - THANK YOU. When does a black woman EVER get to lead a film like Blue Jasmine? And a role like the Mom in Precious doesn't come along very frequently, either. Those comparisons are just silly.

And of course a young, thin, attractive white woman like Adams would have way more opportunities than someone like Davis. Adams is talented, no doubt about it, but also very, very safe. She's attractive enough to appeal to men without being too va-va-voom to alienate women and she doesn't say anything controversial. Of course studios and audiences like her. I like her, too! But to compare her career to Davis is apples and oranges.

November 30, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterDJDeeJay

Good lord stop the hate on AMY FREAKING ADAMS!
Good for her to win this and would totally love it if she wins the Oscar this year.
And yes, she's more overdue than Viola. I love both of them though.

November 30, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterCraver

One or two negative comments about Amy means everyone here hates her? Give me a damn break. She has plenty of supporters on here who never let you forget about how great or overdue she is.

November 30, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterWtf

Oh my god can you imagine a Blue Jasmine remake but with a black lead? I mean, I absolutely adore BJ (ahem) and consider it one of Allen's best films, but how much richer would the story be in the context of an American black woman's experience especially when it comes to negotiating class issues?

November 30, 2016 | Unregistered Commentergoran

@ DJDeeJay & @ Goran

agree on the racism part, and that Davis has been robbed of many unwritten roles that she could have aced had the times been different

@ DJDeeJay
It's not apples and oranges, Adams just has the better body of work.
There's a plethora of White, Hot, Young-ish, Talented actresses who don't have Adams' career. And who are trying VERY HARD. And probably will never even score an Oscar nomination. Davis has scored two. It is about race and at the same time it often isn't about race.

November 30, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterYavor

Bottom line: winning the Oscar isn't (just) about your body of work or being "overdue" (see Thelma Ritter, Peter O'Toole et al), it's mainly about the actual performances—and politics (for lack of a better word)—of the particular year. I haven't seen Arrival yet, but if Adams is as good as people are saying (and I don't doubt it), more power to her. If Davis is successful in her category fraud, there will no reason to even discuss them in the same sentence this year. (But I hope she isn't.) In any case, of all the frontrunners in Best Actress that I've seen right now, I'd give it to Huppert or Bening (speaking of overlooked and/or overdue) right now anyway.

November 30, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

Nonwhite actresses are not seen as equivalents to their white counterparts. Nonwhite actress will never have a FILM career that rivals white actresses.

November 30, 2016 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

How can you not love a movie which puts Channing Tatum is a tight pants?

November 30, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJaragon

These are some great picks, but NBR doesn't really hold much weight in the Oscar race.

November 30, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

These are some great picks, but NBR doesn't really hold much weight in the Oscar race.

November 30, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

If I'm not mistaken, they also included "The Bucket List" in their top 10 not too long ago!!!

November 30, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterPatryk

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