National Board Of Review Gives Best Picture & Director To 'Hugo'; Tilda Swinton & George Clooney Take Acting Awards

Awards
by Kevin Jagernauth
December 1, 2011 4:14 PM
8 Comments
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Rooney Mara & Felicty Jones Both Take Breakthrough Performance Award

So, just two days after the whole drama of the New York Film Critics Circle getting their awards out first, no one cares anymore and it's a distant memory as the National Board Of Review -- usually a good measure for how Oscar nominations will pan out (though not necessarily wins) -- has announcemed their winners this afternoon, and it certainly points to a very interesting race ahead.

Topping Best Picture and Best Director is Martin Scorsese's "Hugo." His 3D family film/love letter to classic cinema earned rave reviews from critics, but the win here is the first marker that this one may be a dark horse in the next few months. Paramount/GK Films is likely over the moon with this news, as they can now further bolster their platform release with this marketing around this win. Moreover, "Hugo" now stands as a considerable contender against the other old timey cinema ode "The Artist" (which made it onto the Best Film list). Some attention must be paid to Debut Director winner J.C. Chandor whose "Margin Call" continues to be something of a sleeper surprise this fall. And while the NYFCC couldn't be bothered to give anything to an animated film, NBR tips their hat to "Rango" (sidenote: John Logan wrote both -- has a screenwriter ever penned both the Best Film and Best Animated Feature winner before? Helluva achievement either way.) 

Over in the acting categories, George Clooney and Tilda Swinton won for "The Descendants" and "We Need To Talk About Kevin" respectively, with both films also ranking as one of the best of the year. However, in what is likely to be the story of next little while, both Rooney Mara and Felicity Jones earned Breakthrough Performance wins for "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" and "Like Crazy" respectively. This battle will likely go all the way to Oscar. Michael Fassender finally gets some love for being Michael Fassbender in the Spotlight Award. 

Meanwhile the Best Films list is one to pay close attention to. Last year, NBR was 6/10 on the eventual Oscar nominees, so these will likely be the movies to be paying attention to (though the 5% first place vote rule does throw a spanner in the works). Geeks will be pleased to see "Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows 2" getting listed, while "The Ides Of March" and "J. Edgar" -- written off by many -- get new life here. Biggest WTF? "Cedar Rapids" as one of the Best Indie Films of the year. Really? And "A Separation" continues its inevitable journey to a Best Foreign Film win.

Check out the full list of winners below, and as always, the conversation shifts once again. [via Deadline]

National Board Of Review 2011 Winners

Best Film: Hugo
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

Top Films (in alphabetical order)

The Artist
The Descendants
Drive
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

Top 5 Foreign Language Films (In Alphabetical Order)

13 Assassins
Elite Squad: The Enemy Within
Footnote
Le Havre
Point Blank

Top 5 Documentaries (In Alphabetical Order)

Born to be Wild
Buck
George Harrison: Living in the Material World
Project Nim
Senna

Top 10 Independent Films (In Alphabetical Order)

50/50
Another Earth
Beginners
A Better Life
Cedar Rapids
Margin Call
Shame
Take Shelter
We Need To Talk About Kevin
Win Win

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8 Comments

  • Ken | December 1, 2011 7:59 PMReply

    Moneyball is better than like maybe two of those films. J. Edgar shouldn't be on the list. I liked Moneyball but Brad Pitt's performance is just about on par with Clooney's performance in Descendants. Both are very solid.

    Oh and "piddly"?

  • Pittrobbed | December 1, 2011 6:04 PMReply

    The lack of Moneyball is baffling. So much better than many of these films.

  • padre | December 1, 2011 6:00 PMReply

    Clooney?? Clooney?! Pft. AS IF. This piddly awards group is invalid. KING PITT ALL THE WAY!

  • Glass | December 1, 2011 4:43 PMReply

    As much as I enjoyed Hugo, it seems like all a Scorsese movie needs to do for nominations/awards is to come out in the Fall. Shutter Island would have gotten all kinds of nominations if it came out in October '09, but since it was a February release, the boners had time to subside and the [correct] opinion of "yeah, that was a cool movie, but not the best of the year" came through. This is all nothing new, but it's still fun to see how many awards season factors are more important than the film itself.

  • kes | December 1, 2011 4:31 PMReply

    Is it just me or is the Felicity Jones hype completely baffling? She did a fine job but by no means worthy of any award recognition whatsoever. Much better picks overall compared to the NYFCC though, especially in regard to Tilda Swinton.

  • w23 | December 1, 2011 9:43 PM

    No it's not just you. I don't understand how Jones is winning for what was a competent performance, but in no way superior to Jessica Chastain's work this year, the performance from the young lead from Pariah or Elizabeth Olsen in Martha Marcy May Marlene.

  • anonymouse | December 1, 2011 7:32 PM

    totally with you on felicity jones. i found jessica chastain's performances in the tree of life and the debt to be of far better caliber than jones.

  • Ronnie D. | December 1, 2011 5:05 PM

    Honestly, it's just you; she was excellent. It's more baffling that The Descendants is getting so much hype, since it was pretty good at best.

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