Thursday, December 1, 2011

Hugo and The Descendants Win Big at the National Board of Review Awards

In interesting movie news Hugo was named Best Picture, and the film's director Martin Scorsese was 
named Best Director by the National Board of Review (NBR).  The other film that took won a lot of awards was the quirky Alexander Payne film The Descendants.  The Descendants took home three awards including, Best Actor-George Clooney, Best Supporting Actress-Shailene Woodley, and Best Adapted Screenplay.

According the National Board of Review's website "Its stated purpose was to endorse films of merit and champion the new "art of the people", which was transforming America's cultural life. In an effort to avoid government censorship of films, the National Board became the unofficial clearinghouse for new movies."  In 1929 the National Board of Review honored the top ten films of the year, best foreign language film, and has been the first awards body to kick off awards season, until this year when the New York Film Critics stole their thunder.  Hugo winning makes a lot of sense because Hugo centers around honoring film making.

The NBR still picks the 10 best films of the year, the only film that puzzles me is J. Edgar, but the NBR loves Clint Eastwood.  Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 made the list and was honored with a book to film special achievement award. Making this top ten list is not guarantee that a film will even contend within the typical award season.  The film that wins and the other films that garner a good amount of other awards like The Descendants helps push an film further in award season.  

The same can be said for the winners of the acting awards.  For example last year the NBR  picked Lesley Manville from the film Another Year in the Best Actress category, and the only major award nomination she received was a Supporting Actress BAFTA nomination.  On the other hand Jackie Weaver won in the Supporting Actress category for the film Animal Kingdom, and this pushed her to gain recognition she may not have gotten.  If I were a betting man, and I can be when persuaded, I would say the actresses that won today could both be vulnerable. Tilda Swinton won Lead Actress for We Need to Talk About Kevin.  I think Swinton will get a nomination for this film, but the Academy could have a hard time embracing the subject matter.  Shailene Woodley's nomination depends on how much future award show traction she gets, how much Academy voters like her film, and being able to take her seriously, because of her television show on ABC Family.  The other acting winner in the Supporting Actor category was Christopher Plummer for Beginners, and he has a great shot at a nomination and could pull of the win!

Here is the full list of winners

Best Film: Hugo
(Rest of the Top Ten in Alpha Order)
The Artist
The Descendants
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
The Ides of March
J. Edgar
Tree of Life
War Horse

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
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

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