Considering their previous picks, the fact the National Board of Review has selected Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman” as Best Picture of the year wasn’t that big of a surprise. The New York based “awards group” filled with NYU students and, um, movie fans, selected Scorsese’s “Hugo” in 2011 and has an affinity for East Coast tales. That being said, the organization always has some unexpected selections overall.
Not surprising was Quentin Tarantino Best Director win for “Once Upon A Time in Hollywood,” Brad Pitt’s Best Supporting Actor win, also for “Hollywood,” Rene Zellwegger winning Best Actress for “Judy” or Bong Joon Ho’s “Parasite” taking Best Foreign Language Film. That being said, “Uncut Gems” landing both Best Actor for Adam Sandler and Original Screenplay for the Safdie brothers shows their affinity for New York centered yarns. The biggest surprise was arguably Kathy Bates taking Best Supporting Actress for “Richard Jewell,” which also won Best Breakthrough Performance for Paul Walter Hause, but the NBR has always had a major soft spot for Clint Eastwood films.
Other mild surprises included “How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” winning Best Animated Film and “Queen & Slim’s” Melina Matsoukas being honored with Best Breakthrough Director.
Major snubs overall included “Bombshell,” “Hustlers,” “Booksmart,” “Joker,” “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” and “Little Women” which took no individual honors and didn’t land on the top 10 films of the year list. A list that was heavy with Netflix and A24 titles. Searchlight must be particularly thrilled with “Jojo Rabbit” making that list considering how cold the NBR has been to the studio in recent years (Focus Features appears to have been in their doghouse this year). “Honey Boy,” “The Lighthouse,” “Luce” and “The Mustang” were all strangely left off the top Independent Films of the year selections.
It should be noted, that last year’s Best Film winner, “Green Book,” became only the third film this century to align with the Oscar-winner for Best Picture. In comparision, the New York Film Critics’ Circle and Los Angeles Film Critics Association have a much better track record in picking Best Picture winners. So, in theory, perhaps most studios don’t actually want to win this honor? That being said, only one winner this decade didn’t earn a Best Picture nomination, 2014’s surprise winner, “A Most Violent Year,” so that’s a sigh of relief for Netflix.
Full list of this year’s winners below:
Best Film: THE IRISHMAN
Best Director: Quentin Tarantino, ONCE UPON A TIME…IN HOLLYWOOD
Best Actor: Adam Sandler, UNCUT GEMS
Best Actress: Renée Zellweger, JUDY
Best Supporting Actor: Brad Pitt, ONCE UPON A TIME…IN HOLLYWOOD
Best Supporting Actress: Kathy Bates, RICHARD JEWELL
Best Original Screenplay: Josh Safdie, Benny Safdie, Ronald Bronstein, UNCUT GEMS
Best Adapted Screenplay: Steven Zaillian, THE IRISHMAN
Breakthrough Performance: Paul Walter Hauser, RICHARD JEWELL
Best Directorial Debut: Melina Matsoukas, QUEEN & SLIM
Best Animated Feature: HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON: THE HIDDEN WORLD
Best Foreign Language Film: PARASITE
Best Documentary: MAIDEN
Best Ensemble: KNIVES OUT
Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography: Roger Deakins, 1917
NBR Icon Award: Martin Scorsese, Robert De Niro, Al Pacino
NBR Freedom of Expression Award: FOR SAMA
NBR Freedom of Expression Award: JUST MERCY
Top Films (in alphabetical order)
Dolemite is My Name
Ford v Ferrari
Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood
Top 5 Foreign Language Films (in alphabetical order)
Pain and Glory
Portrait of a Lady on Fire
Top 5 Documentaries (in alphabetical order)
The Black Godfather
Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese
Top 10 Independent Films (in alphabetical order)
Give Me Liberty
A Hidden Life
The Last Black Man in San Francisco
The Peanut Butter Falcon
The NBR Awards will be handed out on Wednesday, Jan 8, 2020 in New York City.