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National Board of Review Winners 2021: ‘Licorice Pizza’ Takes Best Picture and Best Director

Will Smith and Rachel Zegler are named this year's NBR winners for Best Actor and Best Actress.

“Licorice Pizza”

MGM

Fresh off the Gotham Awards earlier this week (where Maggie Gyllenhaal’s “The Lost Daughter” was the big winner), awards season continues today with the announcement of the 2021 National Board of Review winners. The organization is made up of a group of film enthusiasts, industry professionals, academics, and filmmakers. The tastes of the NBR often overlap with the Academy, which make their awards an important step on the road to Oscars.

Last year, the National Board of Review honored Spike Lee’s “Da 5 Bloods” with its top prize for Best Film. It marked the rare time where the NBR top winner did not go on to earn an Oscar nomination for Best Picture. During the 2010s, “A Most Violent Year” was the only winner not to be nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars. NBR winners such as “Zero Dark Thirty,” “Hugo,” “Her,” “Manchester by the Sea,” “Mad Max: Fury Road,” and more all broke into the Academy’ Best Picture race, with 2018 NBR winner “Green Book” winning the Oscar for Best Picture.

Other 2020 NBR winners included Riz Ahmed for Best Actor (“Sound of Metal”), Carey Mulligan for Best Actress (“Promising Young Woman”), Paul Raci for Best Supporting Actor (“Sound of Metal”), and Youn Yuh-jung for Best Supporting Actress (“Minari”). All four NBR acting winners went on to earn Academy Award nominations in their respective categories. Youn Yuh-jung won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.

The full list of 2021 National Board of Review winners is below.

Best Film: LICORICE PIZZA

Best Director: Paul Thomas Anderson, LICORICE PIZZA

Best Actor: Will Smith, KING RICHARD

Best Actress: Rachel Zegler, WEST SIDE STORY

Best Supporting Actor: Ciarán Hinds, BELFAST

Best Supporting Actress: Aunjanue Ellis, KING RICHARD

Best Original Screenplay: Asghar Farhadi, A HERO

Best Adapted Screenplay: Joel Coen, THE TRAGEDY OF MACBETH

Breakthrough Performance: Alana Haim & Cooper Hoffman, LICORICE PIZZA

Best Directorial Debut: Michael Sarnoski, PIG

Best Animated Feature: ENCANTO

Best Foreign Language Film: A HERO

Best Documentary: SUMMER OF SOUL (…OR, WHEN THE REVOLUTION COULD NOT BE TELEVISED)

Best Ensemble: THE HARDER THEY FALL

Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography: Bruno Delbonnel, THE TRAGEDY OF MACBETH

NBR Freedom of Expression Award: FLEE

Top Films (in alphabetical order)
Belfast
Don’t Look Up
Dune
King Richard
The Last Duel
Nightmare Alley
Red Rocket
The Tragedy of Macbeth
West Side Story

Top 5 Foreign Language Films (in alphabetical order)
Benedetta
Lamb
Lingui, The Sacred Bonds
Titane
The Worst Person in the World

Top 5 Documentaries (in alphabetical order)
Ascension
Attica
Flee
The Rescue
Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain

Top 10 Independent Films (in alphabetical order)
The Card Counter
C’mon C’mon
CODA
The Green Knight
Holler
Jockey
Old Henry
Pig
Shiva Baby
The Souvenir Part II

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