Glenn here with the NBR results as they come to hand. They used to be the first awards of the season to announce their winners, but now the National Board of Review are trumped annually by the Gotham Awards and the NYFCC in the merry-go-round that is award season. I maintain that unless you're a guild, your absence is more or less moot. However, it can definitely help get your name and face out there to be acknowledged early and often. The NBR is where the likes of Moulin Rouge! and Amy Ryan made it known that they would be forces to be reckoned with. What did this 105-year-old group select this year? Let's find out...
NATIONAL BOARD OF REVIEW WINNERS
- Best Film: A MOST VIOLENT YEAR
- Best Director: Clint Eastwood, AMERICAN SNIPER
- Best Actor: (tie!) Oscar Isaac, A MOST VIOLENT YEAR and Michael Keaton, BIRDMAN
- Best Actress: Julianne Moore, STILL ALICE
- Best Supporting Actor: Edward Norton, BIRDMAN
- Best Supporting Actress: Jessica Chastain, A MOST VIOLENT YEAR
- Best Original Screenplay: Phil Lord & Christopher Miller, THE LEGO MOVIE
- Best Adapted Screenplay: Paul Thomas Anderson, INHERENT VICE
- Best Animated Feature: HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2
- Special Achievement in Filmmaking: Appears to not exist this year?
- Breakthrough Performance: Jack O'Connell, STARRED UP and UNBROKEN
- Best Directorial Debut: Gillian Robespierre, OBVIOUS CHILD
- Best Foreign Language Film: WILD TALES (Argentina)
- Best Documentary: LIFE ITSELF
- William K. Everson Film History Award: Scott Eyman
- Best Ensemble: FURY
- Spotlight Award: Chris Rock for writing, directing, producing and starring in TOP FIVE
- NBR Freedom of Expression Award: SELMA and ROSEWATER
What exactly does Clint Eastwood have on these people that they give him an award for almost every single movie he makes? Best director for American Sniper and a placement on their top ten (below) seems... extravagant.
Anyway, it was a big day for A Most Violent Year winning three big prizes including best film. Will this film fall alongside the likes of Quills as a NBR best picture winner without a corresponding Oscar nomination in the same category? That super, ultra, very-very late release date still makes me worried. Whatever the case may be, the NBR loved it and good on A24. Ever the wealth-spreader, the mysterious organization liked The Lego Movie enough to give it a rather shocking (although not entirely undeserved) screenplay win and top ten placement, yet Dreamworks' How to Train Your Dragon 2 took out the animated film prize. They consolidated their breakthrough prizes into one award for handsome Jack O'Connell. Fair enough, I suppose. Meanwhile, after Jennifer Kent's win at the NYFFF and now Gillian Robespierre's win at the NBR, women directors are staking a claim to breakthrough director awards in 2014!
- AMERICAN SNIPER
- GONE GIRL
- THE IMITATION GAME
- INHERENT VICE
- THE LEGO MOVIE
Remember, this is basically places 2-11 hence A Most Violent Year's omission. I don't claim to know how that works, but let's just roll with it. Very happy to see Nightcrawler here as now that the flurry of indie nominations have surpassed, citations for the Jake Gyllenhaal movie may be hard to come by. The rest of the list is pretty standard, although the people behind The Theory of Everything, Big Eyes, Foxcatcher, Into the Woods, Grand Budapest Hotel, Wild and Whiplash will all be a bit miffed that they didn't receive a single token nomination anywhere amidst the NBR's field. Selma, too, being stuck with that kiddie-table "Freedom of Expression" award feels like a disappointment for that team, too.
Top 5 Foreign Language Films
(In Alphabetical Order)
- FORCE MAJEURE (Sweden)
- GETT: THE TRIAL OF VIVIAN AMSALAM (Israel)
- LEVIATHAN (Russia)
- TWO DAYS, ONE NIGHT (Belgium)
- WE ARE THE BEST! (Sweden)
I think the recognition of Lukas Moodysson's ace teen movie We Are the Best! is my favourite of the NBR's choices. Way to go, NBR! Y'all should go watch it immediately. Three of these films (plus Wild Tales, their actual foreign film winner - again, confusingly) are eligible for Oscar, with the Dardennes' Two Days, One Night now appearing on multiple award lists after the NYFCC yesterday.
Top 5 Documentaries
(In Alphabetical Order)
- ART AND CRAFT
- JODOROWSKY'S DUNE
- KEEP ON KEEPIN' ON
- THE KILL TEAM
- LAST DAYS IN VIETNAM
All six documentaries cited - Life Itself won the big prize as noted up top - are on Oscar's 15-wide doc shortlist. That's some good dart-throwing, NBR!
Top 10 Independent Films
(In Alphabetical Order)
- BLUE RUIN
- A MOST WANTED MAN
- MR. TURNER
- OBVIOUS CHILD
- THE SKELETON TWINS
- STAND CLEAR OF THE CLOSING DOORS
- STARRED UP
- STILL ALICE
Ignoring the pure idiocy of a list like this that makes no sense (are independent films not eligible elsewhere?), this is a good batch of flicks. Blue Ruin! I was ecstatic to see Stand Clear of the Closing Doors get an acting nomination at the Indie Spirits the other day, and now this little mention. That film is so good and I suggest y'all check it out if you can. It's small, but beautiful. Beautiful can't be used to describe Starred Up starring Ben Mendelsohn and breakthrough winner Jack O'Connell, but I'm glad it showed up, too. Likewise The Skeleton Twins and Obvious Child, two of the best comedies this year that I'm sure the Globes will ignore almost entirely.
What do you make of this year's NBR awards? I'm sure we'll have more to say about them later when Nathaniel returns from hobnobbing with Angelina Jolie and I am salivating at the thought of another hilarious podcast as they discuss Clint Eastwood's magnetic hold over the NBR, but for now did they get it right? Embarassingly wrong? Let us know!