Wednesday, December 5, 2012

National Board of Review Winners

Like last year, the National Board of Review is chiming in second to the New York Film Critics Circle with their picks of the best films and performances of the year. But things seems to be coalescing early for one particular film which both groups picked for the top film of the year.

Best Film
Zero Dark Thirty

Top Ten Films
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Django Unchained
Les Misérables
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Promised Land
Silver Linings Playbook

Repeating its NYFCC win, Zero Dark Thirty looks like the film to beat so far this awards season, but it's still super early and especially in recent years, the winners of this award has gone on to lose including last year's Hugo and two years ago with The Social Network. The entire list is a bit more indicative as to which films we're going to be seeing over and over again this season, which is why the absence of supposed frontrunners Life of Pi and The Master must be slightly worrying to their fans. With that said, it allowed the organization to branch out a bit from the usual slate giving much needed boosts to film like Looper and The Perks of Being a Wallflower. I've seen 6 of the 10 films so far.

Best Actor
Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook
Best Actress
Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty

Best Supporting Actor
Leonardo DiCaprio, Django Unchained

Best Supporting Actress
Ann Dowd, Compliance

Breakthrough Performances
Quvenzhané Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild
Tom Holland, The Impossible

Best Ensemble Cast

Les Misérables

Spotlight Award
John Goodman (Argo, Flight, Paranorman, Trouble with the Curve)

An acting win here doesn't automatically mean they are Oscar-bound, but it definitely increase one's chances for a nomination. This is a big win then for Bradley Cooper and Ann Dowd who will need some big industry support to catapult them to their first Oscar nominations. This also helps DiCaprio and Wallis especially with increased competition in their respective categories. Finally, we have yet to see an acting win for the Les Miz cast this season including presumed Best Supporting Actress front-runner Anne Hathaway, but the Best Ensemble win here more than helps their cause.

Best Director
Kathryn Bigelow, Zero Dark Thirty
Debut Director
Behn Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild

Best Original Screenplay
Rian Johnson, Looper

Best Adapted Screenplay
David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook

Special Filmmaking Achievement Award
Ben Affleck, Argo

Best Animated Feature
Wreck-It Ralph

Like her film, Kathryn Bigelow right now is dominating the awards buzz. Can she repeat her unprecedented sweep through awards season the way she did a few years ago leading up to her Oscar win for The Hurt Locker? Time will tell! Honors for Behn Zeitlin and Ben Affleck may signal them joining Bigelow for Oscar nominations. That Screenplay win for Looper is another refreshing pick from the group. Finally, score one for Wreck-It Ralph in the all-too competitive and difficult to predict Animated race.

Top Ten Independent Films
End of Watch
Hello I Must Be Going
Little Birds
Moonrise Kingdom
On the Road
Sleepwalk With Me

Seeing as I've only seen one of these films, the delightful Moonrise Kingdom, I don't have much to say except to chastise myself for not seeing more films. The past two years I would've at least seen 4 of these films by now. Any recommendations which ones I should check out right away?

Best Foreign Film

Top Five Foreign Films
The Intouchables
The Kid with a Bike
War Witch

Best Documentary
Searching for Sugar Man

Top Five Documentary Films
Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry
The Gatekeepers
The Invisible War
Only the Young

I've only heard good things about Amour, The Intouchables, and Searching for Sugar Man, but unfortunately I've seen exactly none of these films so I have nothing much to say.

William K. Everson Film History Award
50 Years of Bond Films

NBR Freedom of Expression Award
Central Park Five
Promised Land

So in summary, Zero Dark Thirty rules while Les Miz, Argo, Silver Linings Playbook, and Beasts of the Southern Wild are also out in front. Well, at least until the next organization chimes in with their picks and changes the whole story yet again.

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