National Board of Review





2014 Gala to be held on Tuesday, January 6, 2015 hosted by Lara Spencer 


New York, NY – (December 2, 2014) – The National Board of Review has named A MOST VIOLENT YEARthe 2014 Best Film of the Year.

Below is a full list of the awards given by the National Board of Review:

Best Film:  A Most Violent Year
Best Director:  Clint Eastwood – American Sniper
Best Actor (TIE):  Oscar Isaac – A Most Violent Year; 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
Breakthrough Performance:  Jack O’Connell – Starred Up & Unbroken
Best Directorial Debut:  Gillian Robespierre – Obvious Child
Best Foreign Language Film:  Wild Tales
Best Documentary:  Life Itself
William K. Everson Film History Award:  Scott Eyman
Best Ensemble:  Fury
Spotlight Award:  Chris Rock for writing, directing, and starring in – Top Five
NBR Freedom of Expression Award:  Rosewater
NBR Freedom of Expression Award:  Selma

Top Films

American Sniper
Gone Girl
The Imitation Game
Inherent Vice
The Lego Movie

Top 5 Foreign Language Films

Force Majeure
Gett: The Trial of Vivian Amsalem
Two Days, One Night
We Are the Best!

 Top 5 Documentaries

Art and Craft
Jodorowsky’s Dune
Keep On Keepin’ On
The Kill Team
Last Days in Vietnam

Top 10 Independent Films

Blue Ruin
A Most Wanted Man
Mr. Turner
Obvious Child
The Skeleton Twins
Stand Clear of the Closing Doors
Starred Up
Still Alice

Indiewire reports that the NBR will take place December 5, 2012, two days after the New York Film Critics and three days after their announcing date last year. What is the significance of this? There isn’t one except that the NYFCC will be the ones with their asses hanging out first. That’s a good thing for them, as Glenn Whipp reported earlier, “An NYFCC press release notes that the group’s awards are often viewed as harbingers of the Oscar nominations’. The circle’s awards are ‘also viewed — perhaps more accurately — as a principled alternative to the Oscars, honoring aesthetic merit in a forum that is immune to commercial and political pressures.”

Whipp then adds, “It’s curious that the author of the press release somehow fails to grasp that if you view yourself as a sort of (ahem) “principled alternative to the Oscars,” you probably shouldn’t mention the Oscars at all in your press release, much less tout your prizes as a precursor to those very same awards.”

December 3, 2012 – NYFCC
December 5, 2012 – NBR
December 7 – LAFCA (LA Film Critics)

From The Wrap:

Best Film: The Social Network
Best Director: David Fincher, The Social Network
Best Actor: Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network
Best Actress: Lesley Manville, Another Year
Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale, The Fighter
Best Supporting Actress: Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom
Best Foreign Language Film: Of Gods and Men
Best Documentary: Waiting for “Superman”
Best Animated Feature: Toy Story 3
Best Ensemble Cast: The Town
Breakthrough Performance: Jennifer Lawrence, Winter’s Bone
Debut Directors: Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington, Restrepo
Spotlight Award: Sylvain Chomet and Jacques Tati, The Illusionist
Best Original Screenplay: Chris Sparling, Buried
Best Adapted Screenplay: Aaron Sorkin, The Social Network
Special Filmmaking Achievement Award: Sofia Coppola for writing, directing, and producing Somewhere
William K. Everson Film History Award: Leonard Maltin

NBR Freedom of Expression: Fair Game, Conviction, Howl
Production Design Award: Dante Ferretti, Shutter Island
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For our first No Guts, No Glory for the year, we’re turning to the National Board of Review (don’t forget to enter our contest) and how they might mix things up a bit – like will there be any kind of shocker in any category? They announce tomorrow, December 2. I’m going to guess that their top ten might be:

The Town
The Social Network
Black Swan
127 Hours
Blue Valentine
The King’s Speech (for the win)
Toy Story 3
Winter’s Bone
The Kids Are All Right
Inception (if there are 11)

For No Guts, No Glory, you may pick three. They have to be really out there, though. None of this alternatives thing. For instance, Clint Eastwood for Best Director is not really a No Guts thing, since many assume he will win this.

My No Guts, No Glory:
1. Sally Hawkins for Best Actress
2. Love and Other Drugs in the Best Picture 10
3. Ben Affleck wins Best Director


Enter Now

The first awards group out of the gate is almost always the National Board of Review. Because of this, their choices can sometimes reflect the earlier phase of the Oscar race. We only really have last year’s ten Best Picture choices to the NBoR to see how closely they were aligned. But prior to last year, it was the norm that at least three eventual Best Picture nominees would be represented.

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One clear winner who got a score of 14 (out of 22), Nr27 from Germany. Congratulations! You get a $25 gift card from Send an email to claim your prize.

The other high scorers after the cut.

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Take it from me, Oscar watchers, the National Board of Review doesn’t mean THAT much. What it is good for is launching a film into the race by giving it a form of legitimacy. It’s kind of funny that this group would be in that position, but nonetheless, there they are. However, it’s a mistake to start saying things “so and so deserved it” or to take it as some bad omen that a few films were left off — or, and I hate to rain on folks’ parade, to put any stock into their winners. It is mostly bad news to win an NBR, for the most part, great for nominations, not so great for winners but for a few films or stars here or there who would have won anyway. The thing about the NBR is that they do come with their share of controversy.¬† I don’t think I’ve ever read a funnier description of them, though, than Roger Friedman’s, “a scandal-plagued freak show composed of wealthy fans and no actual reviewers, have issued their annual list.

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See above.

It could be that in just a few minutes the National Board of Review will announce their top ten. But just in case, and because I plumb forgot last night to set this up, let’s do a quick round. Ryan’s post below could be your choice, more or less, but with the No Guts, we’re always looking for the wild card pick, one you would never expect to happen. In other words, don’t say Up in the Air wins Best Picture or you will be disqualified. You can have UP TO THREE choices for this. Mine are going to be:

In the Loop wins Best Picture
In the Loop wins Best Screenplay
In the Loop wins Best Director

Now you.

Indiewire’s Peter Knegt does a good job laying out the award precursors coming soon to an Oscar blog near you. Actually, you could probably say it will becoming from all sides, from every angle and outlet and social networking tool near you. I’m scared of Oscars 2009 where Twitter and Facebook are involved. There might turn out to be such a thing as too much information. “Did you hear what I’m saying to you? We don’t got no information.

Peter mentions the following:

The Gothams November 30:

Last Year’s Big Winner: “Frozen River,” taking best feature and a breakthrough acting honor for Melissa Leo.

Mentions the Spirit Awards, which we’ll skip for now (though it’s important that Indiewire not skip them) and move on to the NBR (which I still consider the biggest precursor in the early phase):

December 3rd: National Board of Review

Last Year’s Big Winners: “Slumdog Millionaire” took its first major best picture award of the season here, as well as honors for adapted screenplay and breakthrough actor Dev Patel. Other major winners included Clint Eastwood (best actor for “Gran Torino”), Anne Hathaway (best actress for “Rachel Getting Married”), Josh Brolin (best supporting actor for “Milk”) and Penelope Cruz (best supporting actress for “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”). Their top ten list consisted of four of the five eventual best picture Oscar nominees, leaving off “The Reader.”

The NBR is much better at helping a film get into the Oscar race than it is in calling out a winner, unless it’s a winner that is going to win everything anyway, like Slumdog or No Country for Old Men. But its calling out Letters from Iwo Jima the year before was an important moment in the 2007 Oscar race because at that time Letters hadn’t yet really come forward as a major contender; most were focused on Flags on Our Fathers, which didn’t do as well. The NBR winners chart after the cut, as well as more precursor stuff.

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It’s all happening! The awards season is finally off. Next week, the National Board of Review will announce their winners and the films that they name will have an automatic head start. Does that mean they’ll be a close match with Oscar? Probably not. With five Best Pic contenders buried in their top ten, it was kind of easy. But with a ten by ten match-up, I predict it will be near impossible. I’m going to guess that the NBR matches Oscar about six out of the ten categories. Just a hunch. We also have the Globes, the Critics Choice and the AFI, not to mention the critics’ top ten lists. Click here to predict how the NBR will go. To check out the National Board of Review’s site, which shows how they voted last year (five foreign film runners-up, plus a foreign language winner), click here.


No doubt you will discover some films not on the list. You have two places to add those I neglected to add. But if you find that I have left off more than you can jot down, please email me and let me know. Otherwise, give it your best shot. We will have a couple of interesting prizes to choose from, to be announced later. And if you want to see deep background, check out this post on the NBR with past winners and nominees.

EW’s Dave Karger takes a look at Precious’ opening numbers and comes up with the possibility, I think for the first time in the mainstream press, that this film could be the frontrunner. However, he doesn’t come out and says he thinks it is – just that the possibility is there:

Playing in just 18 theaters, Precious grossed a phenomenal $1.8 million, according to studio estimates. If those numbers hold, Precious will become only the third live-action to score a per-theater average of over $100,000, following in the heels of multiple Oscar nominees Dreamgirls and Brokeback Mountain. Considering all of this was accomplished by a film by a relatively new director with no big movie stars in it, it’s an amazing achievement. It was well on its way to becoming a Best Picture nominee already, but now Precious is seeming more and more like a front-runner. The question now: Can it distinguish itself from Dreamgirls (which missed out on a Best Picture nod) and Brokeback Mountain (which lost to Crash) and actually win? Between Invictus, The Hurt Locker, The Lovely Bones, Up in the Air, and Nine, it certainly seems to have some stiff competition.

Up in the Air is really the crouching tiger, hidden dragon here. The studio has done a great job of quieting the film’s hype – and Jason Reitman has been traveling all over the US and abroad giving q&a’s and screenings of the film. He is one hard-working dude. But as Karger says, the race is starting to look more solid.

No matter what anyone says, no matter how much they want to believe it isn’t true, no matter how many times people tell you that the National Board of Review doesn’t matter — they do matter and they will especially matter this year. The NBR and the Critics Choice are the two groups that will deliver a solid top ten of best pictures that could start to help the Academy’s daunting task of finding ten. I do suspect that one or two titles will sneak into the Oscar race that none of us sees coming (there will always be that person who steps up and says “I saw it coming.”)

The Golden Globes will offer ten but they will be split between comedy/musical and drama.¬† The American Film Institute will also offer ten, as will the many critics’ groups. The NBR is usually first and therefore it can have significance. You can get mad about it if you’d like but it doesn’t change what I’ve seen over the past decade of doing this.

It is perhaps too soon to know about the films that no one has seen. They will have to start screening them to get on some of these early lists, unless their strategy is to avoid the many pre-Oscar awards.

The award-giving group that critics love to hate has announced its dates for the 2009/2010 awards season. I suspect that the NBoR will be of utmost importance THIS year specifically because we’re looking at Best Picture 10 for the first time. Since they pick ten and then a winner, all eyes will be on those ten movies. Usually you can pick three out of five that will ultimately match Oscar. Now with ten in the running, how it will go? Am I the only one looking forward to it all?

The National Board of Review will screen approximately 300 films for awards consideration in 2009. This year’s winners will be announced on Thursday, December 3rd, 2009, marking the beginning of the awards season. The annual awards gala honors the best in filmmaking with categories including Best Picture, Best Director, Best P

The high scorers, earning a whopping 12 points, are:

Alp Turgut from Turkey
Aris from Greece
Dario Devi from Croatia
luis from spain
Randy Mensing from Canada
Thomas Davis from Canada


Runners-up after the cut.

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What the NBR is good for: sussing out how the Best Picture race might take shape. Making a non-prominent contender suddenly prominent, like Josh Brolin in Milk for the WIN. They are good for solidifying an already held belief, like Penelope Cruz is magnificent in Vicky Cristina Barcelona.

What the NBR is not good for: Sussing out a Best Picture winner. It is very rare that the NBR aligns with Oscar for the win. When Finding Neverland won it solidified that the film would likely be nominated but there was no way it was winning. That’s not to say that Slumdog isn’t your winner, it’s just to say that you shouldn’t necessarily conclude that because it won the NBR it is winning the Oscar.

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