By Peter Knegt | Indiewire December 5, 2007 at 8:21AM
The National Board of Review of Motion Pictures announced their annual awards Wednesday afternoon, naming Joel and Ethan Coen's "No Country For Old Men" 2007's Best Film of the Year. The awards, which kick off a series of critics' awards announced throughout December and early January, also awarded the Coens best adapted screenplay and gave the cast, which includes Josh Brolin, Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem and Kelly MacDonald, its award for best ensemble cast. "No Country" joined "The Assassination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford," "Atonement," "The Bourne Ultimatum," "The Bucket List," "Into The Wild," "Juno," "The Kite Runner," "Lars and the Real Girl," "Michael Clayton" and "Sweeney Todd" in the organization's top ten list. Last year, four of the five Academy Award nominees for Best Picture were featured in the NBR's top ten.
"2007 was an extremely exciting and challenging year for the NBR in determining the winners in the various categories," said NBR President Annie Schulhof. "We screened 282 films and the diversity of these narratives is reflected in our 2007 Ten Best Films. "No Country For Old Men" is a brilliant convergence of extraordinary directing, a masterful screenplay, and incredible ensemble performances. We are also proud to honor the special career achievements of Michael Douglas, Roger Deakins, and Robert Osborne, all of whom are truly gifted and deserving artists."
Other big winners included Tim Burton, won was awarded best director for "Sweeney Todd," George Clooney, who won best actor for "Michael Clayton," and Julie Christie, winner of best actress for her performance in Sarah Polley's "Away From Her". Phil Donahue and Ellen Spiro's "Body of War" took best documentary, while Julian Schnabel's "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" was at the top of the NBR's best foreign film list. Neither "Butterfly" nor fellow French film "La Vie En Rose" (which also was named in the NBR's top five foreign film) are eligible for the Academy Award for best foreign-language film, as France opted for "Persepolis," which shared the NBR's Freedom of Expression award with Denzel Washington's "The Great Debaters."
Casey Affleck's won for best supporting actor for "The Assassination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford, while Amy Ryan was nodded for supporting actress for Casey's other 2007 release, brother Ben Affleck's "Gone Baby Gone." "Gone" also took an award for Ben Affleck's directorial debut. His wife Jennifer Garner's film, "Juno," extended the Affleck family accolades, as it took home best breakthrough performance for Ellen Page, as well as an award for Diablo Cody, who tied "Lars and the Real Girl"'s Nancy Oliver for best original screenplay.
Formed in 1909, the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures works to "foster commentary on all aspects of film production, to endow scholarships for film students and to underwrite educational film programs and seminars". Last year, they awarded eventual Oscar winners Martin Scorcese, Forest Whitaker and Helen Mirren, and named Clint Eastwood's "Letters From Iwo Jima" the best film of the year. The awards will be presented on January 15th, 2007 at Cipriani's 42nd St in New York City.
Full list of the awards given by the National Board of Review:
Best Film: "No Country or Old Man"
Best Director: Tim Burton, "Sweeney Todd"
Best Actor: George Clooney, "Michael Clayton"
Best Actress: Julie Christie, "Away From Her"
Best Supporting Actor: Casey Affleck, "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford"
Best Supporting Actress: Amy Ryan, "Gone Baby Gone"
Best Foreign Film: "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly"
Best Documentary: "Body of War"
Best Animated Feature: "Ratatouille"
Best Ensemble Cast: "No Country for Old Men"
Breakthrough Performance by an Actor: Emile Hirsch, "Into The Wild
Breakthrough Performance by an Actress: Ellen Page, "Juno"
Best Directorial Debut: Ben Affleck, "Gone Baby Gone"
Best Original Screenplay (tie): Diablo Cody, "Juno" and Nancy Oliver, "Lars and the Real Girl"
Best Adapted Screenplay: Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, "No Country For Old Men"
Top Ten Films (In alphabetical order):
"The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford"
"The Bourne Ultimatum"
"The Bucket List"
"Into The Wild"
"The Kite Runner"
"Lars and the Real Girl"
Top Five Foreign Films (In alphabetical order):
"4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days"
"The Band's Visit"
"La Vie en Rose"
Top Five Documentary Films (In alphabetical order):
"In The Shadown of the Moon"
"Taxi To The Darkside"
Top Independent Films (In alphabetical order):
"Away From Her"
"Great World of Sound"
"In The Valley of Elah"
"A Mighty Heart"
"Starting Out in the Evening"
Career Achievement: Michael Douglas
William K. Everson Film History Award: Robert Osbourne
Career Achievement in Cinematography: Roger Deakins
The BVLGARI Award for NBR Freedom of Expression: "The Great Debaters" and "Persepolis"