In four days, the National Board of Review will announce their winners. We will be standing by, waiting for them to drop, and will update the site as soon as we have them. There are a few things to know about the National Board of Review. The first thing is that many in the punditry world make the mistake of dismissing them, or not taking them seriously. Which is strange, considering how influential they have always been. I’d add that what makes them influential is that they are so mysterious. You can drill down into them, as with the Globes, and you can decide that you don’t think they “matter” — but the fact is, they exist, like the Globes do, mostly outside the bubble. The more inside the bubble a group is, the less influential they are.
For Best Picture, since 2000, every film that has won the NBR has gone on to be nominated for Best Picture. In total, since the Academy ballot expanded from 5 to 10, here is how they have matched up in their top ten for Academy Best Picture nominees:
2009 – 6/10
2010 – 7/10
2011 – 5/9
2012 – 7/9
2013 – 5/9
2014 – 4/8
2015 – 5/8
2016 – 7/9
2017 – 6/9
2018 – 4/8
As with all things early, they are more influential in affecting nominees than winners. Just winning a big get like the NBR gets your film noticed and seen by those who need to see it, with a fair amount of the halo effect heading in. The two films that won there but didn’t get a Best Picture nomination were Quills and A Most Violent Year. Why didn’t they make it in? I can’t say.
When it comes to Best Actor, the NBR’s match-ups for wins is a little sketchier but seems fairly consistent for, at least, a nomination. For Best Actress it isn’t quite as consistent as it is with Best Actor, but mainly that’s because Best Actor and Best Picture are linked more often than not.
Last year, the NBR gave their top prize to Green Book which had already won the Audience Award at Toronto by then. It is a big get right off and a great thing to announce on ads. The reason being, they have name recognition. There are so many critics groups out there now but those don’t seem to hold the same heft as the NBR. Maybe it just sounds important – the National Board of Review. Or maybe it’s because they’ve been around so long, since the 1930s. Either way, if you are at all interested in stats you don’t ignore them and their importance in the race.
You can see movies that have early “buzz” getting in that don’t ultimately go all the way, like Sully or Invictus.
So, how do we think it will go on Tuesday? It’s anyone’s game, honestly. But in general I’d say it’s going to be ONE of the films we’ve all been talking about for the winner. And I’ll go ahead and take a stab at the top ten:
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Dolemite Is My Name
Ford v Ferrari
The Two Popes
One of these will be named the winner, I figure,
I also see the following titles as either possibly getting in:
Then they have a top ten independent list — which should include:
A Hidden Life
The Last Black Man in San Francisco
Best Actor might be interesting, depending on which film wins Best Picture. The last three in a row have matched:
Manchester by the Sea – Casey Affleck
The Post – Tom Hanks
Green Book – Viggo Mortensen
Others would include – A Most Violent Year and Oscar Isaac, The Social Network and Jesse Eisenberg, Up in the Air and George Clooney. This happens more than it does with Best Actress but there was Jessica Chastain and Zero Dark Thirty, for instance.
So if we’re going that way, we have a LOT of options. A LOT. As in:
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood – Leonardo DiCaprio
1917 – George MacKay
Joker – Joaquin Phoenix
The Two Popes – Jonathan Pryce
The Irishman – Robert De Niro
Ford v Ferrari – could be both Matt Damon and Christian Bale
Dolemite is My Name – Eddie Murphy
Marriage Story – Adam Driver
Jojo Rabbit – Roman Griffin Davis
Richard Jewell – Paul Walter Hauser
Rocketman – Taron Egerton
Whatever movie they choose will likely kickstart that film, and that actor’s, awards run. It could be any of these films and I would not be surprised.
For Best Actress, I would imagine that Renee Zellweger would start her awards run here but I can also see them picking someone else, as they have often done, to push a different contender into the race – like Charlize Theron or Scarlett Johansson in Marriage Story, heck, even Saoirse Ronan could win for Little Women.
Either way, the NBR’s announcement will kick off awards season. Be ready.
How do you think it will go?