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National Board of Review Stat-o-Rama

As promised, here is the annual comparison of just what the NBR has meant to Oscar over the past few years. First off, the winner of the NBR’s Best Pic has gone on to be nominated every year for the past eight years.¬† You have to go back to Quills to find one that didn’t. And even with the occasional film that doesn’t land in the top five their track record is pretty darned good.

A Best Pic chart after the jump.

NBR Best Pic | Oscar Best Pic

2007 No Country for Old Men No Country for Old Men (4/5)
2006 Letters from Iwo Jima The Departed (4/5)
2005 Good Night, and Good Luck Crash (5/5)
2004 Finding Neverland Million Dollar Baby (5/5)
2003 Mystic River Return of the King (4/5)
2002 The Hours Chicago (4/5)
2001 Moulin Rouge A Beautiful Mind (2/5)
2000 Quills Gladiator (2/5)
1999 American Beauty American Beauty (2/5)
1998 Gods and Monsters Shakespeare in Love (4/5)
1997 L.A. Confidential Titanic (5/5)
1996 Shine The English Patient (5/5)
1995 Sense and Sensibility Braveheart (3/5)
1994 Pulp Fiction and Forrest Gump Forrest Gump (5/5)
1993 Schindler’s
List (4/5)
1992 Howards End Unforgiven (5/5)
1991 Silence of the Lambs Silence of the Lambs (2/5)
1990 Dances With Wolves Dances With Wolves (3/5)
1989 Driving Miss Daisy Driving Miss Daisy (5/5)
1988 Mississippi Burning Rain Man (2/5)
1987 Empire of the Sun The Last Emperor (4/5)
1986 A Room with a View Platoon (5/5)
1985 The Color Purple Out of Africa (5/5)
1984 A Passage to India Amadeus (4/5)
1983 Betrayal Terms
of Endearment (5/5)
1982 Gandhi Gandhi (5/5)
1981 Chariots of Fire Chariots of Fire (5/5)
1980 Ordinary People Ordinary People (5/5)
1979 Manhattan Kramer
Vs. Kramer (3/5)
1978 Days of Heaven The Deer Hunter (3/5)
1977 The Turning Point Annie Hall(4/5)
1976 All the President’s Men Rocky (3/5)
1975 Nashville/Barry Lyndon One Flew Over/Cukoo’s
Nest (4/5)
1974 The Conversation Godfather II (3/5)
1973 The Sting The Sting (1/5)
1972 Cabaret The Godfather (4/5)
1971 MacBeth The French Connection (3/5)
1970 Patton Patton (3/5)
1969 They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? Midnight Cowboy (2/5)
1968 The Shoes of the Fisherman Oliver(4/5)
1967 Far from the Madding Crowd In Heat of the Night (2/5)
1966 A Man for All Seasons A Man for all Seasons (4/5)
1965 The Eleanor Roosevelt Story the Sound of Music(5/5)
1964 Becket My Fair Lady (3/5)
1963 Tom Jones Tom Jones (3/3)
1962 The Longest Day Lawrence of Arabia (2/5)
1961 Question 7 West Side Story(4/5)
1960 Sons and Lovers The Apartment(5/5)
1959 The Nun’s Story Ben Hur(4/5)
1958 The Old Man and the Sea Gigi(3/5)
1957 Bridge on the River Kwai Bridge on the River Kwai (2/5)
1956 Around the World in 80 Days Around/World in 80 Days (2/5)
1955 Marty Marty (4/5)
1954 On the Waterfront On the Waterfront (3/5)
1953 Julius Cesar From here to Eternity(5/5)
1952 The Quiet Man Greatest Show on Earth (1/5)
1951 A Place in the Sun An American in Paris (5/5)
1950 Sunset Boulevard All About Eve (2/2)
1949 The Bicycle Thief All the King’s Men (2/5)
1948 Paisan Hamlet (5/5)
1947 Monsieur Verdoux Gentlemen’s Agreement(3/5)
1946 Henry V The Best Years of Our Lives(2/5)
1945 The True Glory The Lost Weekend(1/5)
1944 None But the Lonely Heart Going My Way (2/5)
1943 The Ox-Bow Incident Casablanca
1942 In Which We Serve Mrs. Miniver
1941 Citizen Kane How Green was my Valley
1940 The Grapes of Wrath Rebecca
1939 Confessions of a Nazi Spy Gone with the Wind(for previous year)
1938 The Citadel You Can’t Take it With You
1937 Night Must Fall The Live of Emile Zola
1936 Mr. Deeds Goes to Town The Great Ziegfield
1935 The Informer Mutiny on the Bounty
1934 It Happened One Night It Happened One Night

Top ten of 2007
No Country for Old Men*
The Assassination of Jesse James
The Bourne Ultimatum
The Bucket List
Into the Wild
The Kite Runner
Lars and the Real Girl
Michael Clayton
Sweeney Todd

Top ten of 2006
Letters From Iwo Jima

Blood Diamond
The Departed*
The Devil Wears Prada
Flags Of Our Fathers
The History Boys
Little Miss Sunshine
Notes On A Scandal
The Painted Veil

Top ten films in 2005
Good Night, And Good Luck
Brokeback Mountain
A History of Violence
Match Point
Memoirs of a Geisha
Walk the Line

Top ten in 2004
1. Finding Neverland
2. The Aviator
3. Closer
4. Million Dollar Baby*
5. Sideways
6. Kinsey
7. Vera Drake
8. Ray
9. Collateral
10. Hotel Rwanda

Top ten films in 2003:
Mystic River
The Last Samurai
The Station Agent
21 Grams
House of Sand and Fog
Lost in Translation
Cold Mountain
In America
Master and Commander

At least three of the eventual big five end up on their list and most of the time the winner is buried somewhere in there, very rarely do the two collide, as they did last year with No Country for Old Men. The NBR has taken a lot of heat over the years, with accusations of this or that, but the plain truth of it is, for our purposes, none of that really matters; They are far more mainstream than most other voting bodies, except maybe the BFCA (Critics Choice) or the HFPA (Globes).

For the NBR, there should be a broad-ish sampling of the pics. I like Frozen River for it and think it will make the list – it stands out this year because of the great reviews and that it is one of the very few films to be written and directed by a woman. It stars Melissa Leo who, hands down, gave one of the best female performances of the year. I also expect, even though they haven’t opened yet, Revolutionary Road and Gran Torino to be on there (unless they didn’t screen Gran Torino – but they love them some Eastwood so Changeling might be there instead). Slumdog Millionaire will be there for sure, might even win. I’m also liking Doubt, Milk and The Dark Knight for it, though they don’t really go for the big effects-driven films. Perhaps Defiance, Australia, Frost/Nixon, The Reader — the real question is Benjamin Button – a film that is still a big question mark with critics. My feeling is that the winner is either going to be Milk or Gran Torino. But I’ve never accurately predicted the NBR, so take it with a grain of salt.

Our PREDICT THE NBR contest is here.