“A Most Violent Year
is an exhilarating crime drama with a compelling story, outstanding performances, and an elegant cinematic style,” said Annie Schulhof, NBR President. “J.C. Chandor has given us a new and provocative perspective on the American Dream.”
The 104-year-old National Board of Review is made up of “knowledgeable film enthusiasts and professionals, academics, young filmmakers and students,” according to their press release. They viewed over 272 films this year including studio, independent, foreign-language, animated and documentary selections, and often followed their screenings with in-depth discussions with filmmakers, directors, actors, producers, and screenwriters.
Again, the pattern continues: while some contenders remain out in front, the field is disparate enough to encompass multiple surprises.
The NBR Best Actor awards were a tie with “Birdman” star Michael Keaton, who won at the Gotham Awards Monday night and is an awards frontrunner, and “A Most Violent Year” star Oscar Isaac, who could use a boost, along with his costar Jessica Chastain, who scored a supporting actress win.
“Birdman” also did well, as it did at the Gothams, as Edward Norton nabbed the Supporting Actor win.
Gotham winner Julianne Moore (“Still Alice”) continues her push toward a likely Best Actress Oscar.
As with other awards, the NBR wins help to spotlight films that future voters may want to check out, moving some titles higher up in the screener pile. “The Lego Movie” scored an original screenplay prize, which enabled “How to Train Your Dragon 2” to win animated feature. Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Inherent Vice” landed the adapted screenplay prize.
Word from the foreign Oscar voters is that “Wild Tales” is a popular contender, so this crowdpleaser may keep winning awards.
Below is a full list of this year’s NBR awards:
Best Film: A Most Violent Year
Best Director: Clint Eastwood – American Sniper
Best Actor (TIE): Oscar Isaac – A Most Violent Year; Michael Keaton – Birdman
Best Actress: Julianne Moore – Still Alice
Best Supporting Actor: Edward Norton – Birdman
Best Supporting Actress: Jessica Chastain – A Most Violent Year
Best Original Screenplay: Phil Lord & Christopher Miller – The Lego Movie
Best Adapted Screenplay: Paul Thomas Anderson – Inherent Vice
Best Animated Feature: How to Train Your Dragon 2
Breakthrough Performance: Jack O’Connell – Starred Up & Unbroken
Best Directorial Debut: Gillian Robespierre – Obvious Child
Best Foreign Language Film: Wild Tales
Best Documentary: Life Itself
William K. Everson Film History Award: Scott Eyman
Best Ensemble: Fury
Spotlight Award: Chris Rock for writing, directing, and starring in – Top Five
NBR Freedom of Expression Award: Rosewater
NBR Freedom of Expression Award: Selma
The Imitation Game
The Lego Movie
Top 5 Foreign Language Films
Gett: The Trial of Vivian Amsalem
Two Days, One Night
We Are the Best!
Top 5 Documentaries
Art and Craft
Keep On Keepin’ On
The Kill Team
Last Days in Vietnam
Top 10 Independent Films
A Most Wanted Man
The Skeleton Twins
Stand Clear of the Closing Doors
The National Board of Review annual Awards Gala, which also acts as a fundraiser for student grant philanthropy, will be held on January 6, 2015 at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York City.