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Care to make any NBR Predictions?

by Nathaniel R

The National Board of Review will reveal their winners later today. They're much harder to predict than other high profile awards bodies because their organization is secretive and untelevised. That said, there are some patterns that have emerged over the years. Though there are rumors that The Mule did not screen for them, for example, it's otherwise a foregone conclusion that if there is a Clint Eastwood film available to them in any way, they WILL honor it and often in a major way. The last Clint Eastwood film they skipped from honoring in any way was Jersey Boys (2014) but that was an exception to the rule. Since Mystic River they've otherwise always given his movies something, even the ones that don't have significant awards futures like The Hereafter (top ten list) or Gran Torino (Best Actor AND Screenplay) or Flags Of Our Fathers (top ten list), or the ones that nobody is all that passionate about but have awards appeal in some way like Invictus (Best Director AND Best Actor). So I'm expecting The Mule or even The 15:17 to Paris to show up, as absurd as the latter sounds.

Another very safe NBR bet is that they'll choose as Best Picture something that has either just opened in limited release or is yet to open...

Cynically you might say that this is a better way for them to get headlines. Less cynically you might say that they just have a very short attention span. They almost always announce in late November or early December and of the past twelve years of winners only two have been in wide release before the announcement (The Social Network and Mad Max Fury Road) which is why I wouldn't personally predict anything released before Thanksgiving.

Some other patterns: they've never awarded Glenn Close (in supporting or lead) so I wouldn't bank on an honor for The Wife; they've mostly ignored Spike Lee movies so I wouldn't bank on BlacKkKlansman. So here are some silly predictions (allowing myself three options in each category):

I'd be very surprised if they don't honor VICE since it hits all their buttons (Oscar friendly, not yet released, big stars)

FILM The Favourite, If Beale Street Could Talk, or Vice
DIRECTOR Clint Eastwood, Adam McKay, or Alfonso Cuaron
ACTRESS Emily Blunt, Saoirse Ronan, or Nicole Kidman  
ACTOR Clint Eastwood, Christian Bale, or Viggo Mortensen
SUPPORTING ACTRESS Amy Adams, Regina King, or Natalie Portman
SUPPORTING ACTOR Richard E Grant, Timothee Chalamet, or Mahershala Ali
BREAKTHROUGH PERFORMANCE (They often cite two people here so I'm giving myself 7 options): Thomasin McKenzie, Yalitza Aparicio, Amandla Stenberg, Cynthia Erivo, Henry Golding, and/or Elsie Fisher

WILL THERE BE ANY UNEXPECTED NOTES IN THEIR "TOP TEN"? Of course there will. Though it's hard to know which title or titles that might be. Of the unlikely prospects that seem most "NBR" I'd be looking out for one or even two from this list to pop in to the otherwise Best Picture Prediction friendly field with a "surprise, bitches!" smirk: Destroyer, Stan & Ollie, Old Man & the Gun, Welcome to Marwen, The Mule, Mary Queen of Scots, A Quiet Place, 15:17 to Paris, or Bohemian Rhapsody


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Reader Comments (19)

I think NBR announces today, no? Exciting!

November 27, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterGeorge

They always make sure to nominate an Oscilloscope movie...wonder if Helena Howard has a shot at Breakthrough

November 27, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterFatima

I can see McCarthy winning here—or Davis. They tend to pick well-liked performers in well-liked movies, regardless of genre or "frontrunner" heat (The Post, Arrival, Saving Mr. Banks, Zero Dark Thirty, An Education, Rachel Getting Married, Being Julia).

November 27, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterHayden

George -- you're right. oops.

November 27, 2018 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I can see mary queen of scotts and clint building a momentum from NBR a la “the last samurai”, “letters from iwo jima” etc

November 27, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAni

I think Olivia Colman is winning all the critics awards except this one.

November 27, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

NBR seems like they would love Robert Redford in The Old Man and the Sea, I mean, Gun.

November 27, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterCharlieG

Something weird will be in Welcome to Marwen.

November 27, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJoey M

I'm pulling for a surprise appearance for Hereditary

November 27, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterPoliVamp

Feinberg just announced the winners on twitter and y'all are wrong! (But I didn't even want to predict.)

November 27, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

Takin' a shot...

Best Picture: Vice
Director: Ryan Coogler, Black Panther
Actress: Glenn Close, The Wife
Actor: Christian Bale, Vice
Supporting Actress: Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk
Supporting Actor: Sam Elliott, A Star is Born
Original Screenplay: The Favourite
Adapted Screenplay: If Beale Street Could Talk

Breakthrough Performance, Female: Lady Gaga, A Star is Born
Breakthrough Performance, Male: John David Washington for BlacKkKlansman, The Old Man & the Gun, Monster, Monsters and Men
Directorial Debut: Jeremiah Zagar, We the Animals
Freedom of Expression Award: Disobedience, Blindspotting, Ava

And really hoping Rachel Weisz gets some attention. Also, Rachel McAdams for Disobedience is my no guts, no glory!

November 27, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterDavid S.

November 27, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJason

The Gaga steamroller commences. Nice knowin' ya, Glenn.

November 27, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterBruno

I know the predictions are moot now, but The Mule supposedly didn't screen for NBR or NYFCC, which is definitely a shame for that film given NBR's proclivities... er, pro-clint-ities.

November 27, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEvan

(Just saw the line in the piece! My eye had gone right to "So I'm expecting The Mule..." Sorry!)

November 27, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEvan

Their category criteria are pretty opaque. First Reformed isn't an Independent? Roma isn't Foreign Language?

Also The Favourite, BlacKkKlansman and First Man nowhere to be seen. Crazy Rich Asians is Best Ensemble but not one of their Top 10?

November 27, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterken s.

Does anyone else just find the winners a bit underwhelming?

November 27, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMikeyC

Ew, yeah, they did just pot the results and I was very wrong about the mains (although at Awards Daily I predicted A Quiet Place would bounce back, which it did!). As usual, my predictions were wishful thinking. These choices, though... like Green Book? Fo real?

Isn't it true that the NBR is historically a bit conservative? This list feels very, very bland. Although cool to see Gaga nab something for her genuinely solid work.

November 27, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterDavid S.

Bruno, we've reviewed your comment and it is not above board. I'm sorry my dear, you are up for elimination.

November 28, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterKirk

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