Directors Sarah Polley (Stories We Tell) and Haifaa al-Mansour (Wadjda) and actress Adele Exarchopoulos (Blue is the Warmest Color) were the only awardees among the National Board of Review's end-of-the-year picks in categories not designated for women, i.e., the acting prizes.
With another Best Documentary prize under its (mobius-strip) belt, Stories We Tell is proving to be the nonfiction film to beat this award season. Al-Mansour won the National Board of Review's Freedom of Expression Award for her excellent coming-of-age film Wadjda, the first feature ever to be made in Saudi Arabia.
Exarchopoulos won the Breakthrough Performance prize for breaking viewers' hearts in the French lesbian romance Blue is the Warmest Color. She joins fellow actresses Emma Thompson (Best Actress, Saving Mr. Banks) and Octavia Spencer (Best Supporting Actress, Fruitvale Station) on the NBR list.
The Best Ensemble trophy also extends to Prisoners co-stars Viola Davis and Melissa Leo.
Gallingly, though, the NBR did not list any woman-directed films in its top-ten list, nor in its top-five foreign picks.
A list of the female National Board of Reviews awardees:
Best Actress: Emma Thompson, "Saving Mr. Banks"
Best Supporting Actress: Octavia Spencer, "Fruitvale Station"
Breakthrough Performance: Adele Exarchopoulos, "Blue Is The Warmest Color"
Best Documentary: "Stories We Tell"
Best Ensemble: "Prisoners"
NBR Freedom of Expression Award: "Wadjda"