The National Board of Review has a thing for Clint Eastwood. Each one of the director’s films since 2002′s Blood Work has been included in the NBR’s compilation of the year’s top ten films — and now, with the inclusion of the murkily-reviewed J. Edgar, that brings the director’s streak of NBR love to nine films running.
More surprising, however, was the board’s decision to deem Hugo the year’s Best Film. They also awarded Martin Scorsese with Best Director honors. In these categories, the NBR rarely matches up none-for-note with the Academy, but this decision nevertheless reaffirms Hugo‘s status as a firm Oscar contender. It may end up having too many obstacles to win — 3-D, PG-rating, mediocre box-office take — but it’s a real threat to earn nominations in major fields.
One of the mentions that brought a particular smile to my face was Rooney Mara’s Breakthrough Performer citation for her work in David Fincher’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Though the film has started to screen for critics, it has yet to have been mentioned in the precursor awards thus far. But this win offers some hope that, regardless of the film’s reportedly graphic and violent qualities, it may provide enough to qualify for certain Oscar categories.
George Clooney (The Descendants) took home the Best Actor prize, while the group also honored Michael Fassbender with the Spotlight Award, which, interestingly enough, was given to non-actors last year — Sylvain Chomet and Jacques Tati for The Illusionist. More love was shown for Alexander Payne’s film, meanwhile, in the categories of Best Supporting Actress (Shailene Woodley) and Best Adapted Screenplay (Payne, Nat Faxon, Jim Rash).
The full list of winners can be found below.
Best Film: Hugo
Best Director: Martin Scorsese (Hugo)
Best Actor: George Clooney (The Descendants)
Best Actress: Tilda Swinton (We Need to Talk About Kevin)
Best Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer (Beginners)
Best Supporting Actress: Shailene Woodley (The Descendants)
Best Original Screenplay: Will Reiser (50/50)
Best Adapted Screenplay: Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon & Jim Rash (The Descendants)
Best Animated Feature: Rango
Breakthrough Performance: Felicity Jones (Like Crazy)
Breakthrough Performance: Rooney Mara (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo)
Debut Director: J.C. Chandor (Margin Call)
Best Ensemble: The Help
Spotlight Award: Michael Fassbender (A Dangerous Method, Jane Eyre, Shame, X-Men: First Class)
NBR Freedom of Expression: Crime After Crime
NBR Freedom of Expression: Pariah
Best Foreign Language Film: A Separation
Best Documentary: Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory
Special Achievement in Filmmaking: The Harry Potter Franchise – A Distinguished Translation from Book to Film
Top Films (in alphabetical order)
Top 5 Foreign Language Films (in alphabetical order)
Top 5 Documentaries (in alphabetical order)
Top 10 Independent Films (in alphabetical order)