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by Paula Bernstein
December 4, 2013 1:34 PM
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Spike Jonze and 'Her' Win National Board of Review Top Awards

Spike Jonze's "Her" with Joaquin Phoenix Warner Bros.

The National Board of Review have announced the winners of the 2013 awards. Spike Jonze's "Her," the story of a man (Joaquin Phoenix) who falls in love with the voice of his computer's operating system, has been named Best Film of 2013, with Jonze winning Best Director. 

"Spike Jonze is one of the most talented and visionary filmmakers working today," said Annie Schulhof, NBR President. "In Her, he explores the age-old themes of love and human connection in a completely fresh and innovative way. It is an outstanding achievement that is sure to become a new classic."

The news comes a day after The New York Film Critics Circle named David O. Russell's "American Hustle" the best film of 2013. Once again, "12 Years a Slave," "Gravity" and "Inside Llewyn Davis" were largely shut out of the top awards (although "Gravity" won the Creative Innovation in Filmmaking Award" and the Coen Brothers won Best Original Screenplay). Interestingly, "American Hustle" and its star-studded cast didn't get any recognition from the NBR, which didn't even include the film in its top films of the year.

Hayao Miyazaki's "The Wind Rises," which also won the NYFCC, was named Best Animated Feature and Sarah Polley's "Stories We Tell," was both the NYFCC and NBR's pick for Best Documentary. 77-year-old, Bruce Dern, star of Alexander Payne's "Nebraska," won for Best Actor, while his co-star Will Forte was named Best Supporting Actor. Emma Thompson won for Best Actress for her role in "Saving Mr. Banks," while Octavia Spencer was recognized for her supporting role in "Fruitvale Station." That film's director Ryan Coogler and star Michael B. Jordan received awards for Best Directorial Debut and Breakthrough Performance, respectively.  Adele Exarchopolous also received the Breakthrough Performance award for "Blue is the Warmest Color," although the Best Foreign Film award went to Asghar Farhadi's "The Past."

The full list of awards follows:

Best Film:  HER

Best Director: Spike Jonze, HER

Best Actor: Bruce Dern, NEBRASKA

Best Actress: Emma Thompson, SAVING MR. BANKS

Best Supporting Actor: Will Forte, NEBRASKA

Best Supporting Actress: Octavia Spencer, FRUITVALE STATION

Best Original Screenplay: Joel and Ethan Coen, INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS

Best Adapted Screenplay: Terence Winter, THE WOLF OF WALL STREET

Best Animated Feature: THE WIND RISES

Breakthrough Performance: Michael B. Jordan, FRUITVALE STATION

Breakthrough Performance: Adele Exarchopoulos, BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR

Best Directorial Debut: Ryan Coogler, FRUITVALE STATION

Best Foreign Language Film:  THE PAST

Best Documentary: STORIES WE TELL

William K. Everson Film History Award: George Stevens, Jr.

Best Ensemble:  PRISONERS

Spotlight Award: Career Collaboration of Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio

NBR Freedom of Expression Award: WADJDA

Creative Innovation in Filmmaking Award: GRAVITY

Top Films
(in alphabetical order)

"12 Years a Slave," "Fruitvale Station," "Gravity," Inside Llewyn Davis," "Lone Survivor," "Nebraska," "Prisoners," "Saving Mr. Banks," "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty," "The Wolf of Wall Street"

Top 5 Foreign Language Films (In Alphabetical Order)

"Beyond the Hills," "Gloria," "The Grandmaster," "A Hijacking," "The Hunt"

Top 5 Documentaries (In Alphabetical Order)

"20 Feet from Stardom," "The Act of Killing," "After Tiller," "Casting By," "The Square"

Top 10 Independent Films (In Alphabetical Order)

"Ain’t Them Bodies Saints," "Dallas Buyers Club," "In a World…," "Mother of George," "Much Ado About Nothing," "Mud," "The Place Beyond the Pines," "Short Term 12," "Sightseers," "The Spectacular Now"


  • aka | December 4, 2013 10:08 PMReply

    The Secret Life of Walter Mitty as one of the top films? I didn't hear really good things about it.

  • TIME | December 4, 2013 5:50 PMReply

    Nothing for american hustle, the best news of NBR!!!

  • MDL | December 4, 2013 11:23 PM

    I see the backlash vultures have already come out for a movie that hasn't been released and few people [including you most likely] have seen. Unbelievable.

  • Christina | December 4, 2013 3:48 PMReply

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  • Des Brown | December 4, 2013 3:28 PMReply

    Totally different from the New York critics prizes and - very surprisingly - nothing for 12 YEARS A SLAVE. This really is developing into the most competitive and exciting Oscar race I can remember.

  • jjrack | December 4, 2013 2:04 PMReply

    Only a couple of these have gotten wide release.

    Frustrating time for film lovers. Awards being heaped on stuff that most people can't see.

  • Bangalor Banzai | December 4, 2013 3:05 PM

    All part of the plan, JJ. Distributors who believe their movies have awards potential will time the release so that the awards (if they come) can be used to help promote the film upon release.

    Feels a little like waiting for Christmas, don't it? (Or Hannukah, or whatever your gift-giving holiday of choice may be).

  • Kevin | December 4, 2013 1:53 PMReply

    I saw "her" on Monday night. I think the National Board of Review is spot on. "her" is a masterpiece. So very subtle and understated in so many ways.