Dec 032014


The National Board of Review have announced their winners, continuing this crazy start to the 2014 Awards Season.

They are in love with J.C Chandor’s A Most Violent Year, awarding it Best Film, Best Actor for Oscar Isaac in a tie, and Best Supporting Actress for Jessica Chastain. Reviews have been strong for Chandor’s third feature, which has become one of the strongest late contenders.

There were other surprises – 84 year-old Clint Eastwood was named Best Director for American Sniper, the screenplay awards went to Chris Miller and Phil Lord for The Lego Movie and Paul Thomas Anderson for Inherent Vice, and Fury was awarded Best Ensemble.

This is promising, considering I am such a fan of Paul Thomas Anderson. I can’t imagine him making a bad film, but Inherent Vice has not been particularly well-received. As for Fury, I liked the film a lot, but not some of its ensemble.

Birdman received two acting awards for Michael Keaton and Edward Norton, while Jack O’Connell was deservedly recognised for Breakthrough Performance in Starred Up and Unbroken. I have only seen Starred Up but it is one of the year’s very best performances.

Starred Up was also acknowledged in the NBR’s Top 10 Independent Films along with other critical favourites like Blue Ruin, A Most Wanted Man, The Skeleton Twins and Snowpiercer. We probably won’t see these films mentioned too many times during the season, so it is great to see them recognised here.

The five films recognised for Best Documentary also made it to the 15 film shortlist announced this morning, while one of my favourites of the year in Nightcrawler made it to their Top 10 Films list, along with a number of Best Pic contenders.

Here is the complete list:

Best Film

A Most Violent Year (J.C Chandor)

Best Director

Clint Eastwood, American Sniper

Best Actor

Oscar Isaac, A Most Violent Year, and Michael Keaton, Birdman (TIE)

Best Actress

Julianne Moore, Still Alice

Best Supporting Actor

Edward Norton, Birdman

Best Supporting Actress

Jessica Chastain, A Most Violent Year

Best Original Screenplay

Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, The Lego Movie

Best Adapted Screenplay

Paul Thomas Anderson, Inherent Vice

Best Animated Feature

How to Train Your Dragon 2

Breakthrough Performance

Jack O’Connell, Starred Up and Unbroken

Best Directorial Debut

Gillian Robespierre, Obvious Child

Best Foreign Language Film

Wild Tales

Best Documentary

Life Itself

William K. Everson Film History Award

Scott Eyman

Best Ensemble


Spotlight Award

Chris Rock for writing, directing, and starring in Top Five

NBR Freedom of Expression Award

and Selma

Top 10 Films

American Sniper
Gone Girl
The Imitation Game
Inherent Vice
The Lego Movie

Top 5 Foreign Language Films

Force Majeure
Gett: The Trial of Vivian Amsalem
Two Days, One Night
We Are the Best!

Top 5 Documentaries

Art and Craft
Jodorowsky’s Dune
Keep On Keepin’ On
The Kill Team
Last Days in Vietnam

Top 10 Independent Films

Blue Ruin
A Most Wanted Man
Mr. Turner
Obvious Child
The Skeleton Twins
Stand Clear of the Closing Doors
Starred Up
Still Alice

By Andrew Buckle

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