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National Board of Review Best of 2013 Is Out: 'Her' Wins Best Film (UPDATED)

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood December 4, 2013 at 1:41PM

Spike Jonze's tech-romance "Her" leads the top ten list of the National Board of Review, whose thunder was stolen this year by the New York Film Critics Circle vote Tuesday. Jonze also won best director. While the NYFCC gave Robert Redford its Best Actor prize, the NBR went with another 77-year-old, Bruce Dern, star of Alexander Payne's "Nebraska," as well as his co-star Will Forte in supporting.
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Joaquin Phoenix in 'Her'
Joaquin Phoenix in 'Her'
Bruce Dern in "Nebraska"
Bruce Dern in "Nebraska"

Spike Jonze's tech-romance "Her" leads the top ten list of the National Board of Review, whose thunder was stolen this year by the New York Film Critics Circle vote Tuesday. Jonze also won best director. While the NYFCC gave "All is Lost" star Robert Redford its Best Actor prize, the NBR went with another 77-year-old, Bruce Dern, star of Alexander Payne's "Nebraska," as well as his co-star Will Forte in supporting.

In an indication that awards will be all over the map this year, NBR went with Emma Thompson for her role as P.J. Travers in "Saving Mr. Banks." In more wins for "Fruitvale Station," Octavia Spencer landed best supporting actress (the Independent Spirits nominated Melonie Diaz), the breakthrough performance award went to Michael B. Jordan and first-time director to Ryan Coogler; both won those awards at the Gothams Monday, and Coogler also won the first-time director trophy from the NYFCC.  Also winning a breakthrough award is French actress Adele Exarchopoulos of "Blue is the Warmest Color," which took home best foreign film from the NYFCC. The NBR went with Asghar Farhadi's "The Past" for foreign film.

The Coens' "Inside Llewyn Davis" took home original screenplay, while adapted went to Terence Winter for Martin Scorsese's "The Wolf of Wall Street." (In this case the group did get a chance to screen the movie.) Building steam in the animated race is Hayao Miyazaki's "The Wind Rises," which also won the NYFCC. And following up its NYFCC win for best documentary is Sarah Polley's "Stories We Tell."

In th NBR top ten list are Oscar frontrunners "12 Years a Slave" and "Gravity," but notably missing is "American Hustle," which won Best Film from the NYFCC. This suggests that the David O. Russell film may have played better for critics than educators. Also missing from the NBR top ten lists are Paul Greengrass's "Captain Phillips," and Woody Allen's "Blue Jasmine" and J.C. Chandor's "All is Lost," which did not even join "Dallas Buyers Club" on the top ten independents list. 

The National Board of Review is not a critics group but rather an organization of academics and film teachers; their awards carry less significance than the more august NY and LA Film Critics groups, but do help to build winning momentum and point awards voters toward the films and talent they should be sure to watch. 

The list of winners is below. 

This article is related to: Awards, Awards, Critics Groups, Awards Season Roundup


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.