National Board of Review Picks A Most Violent Year

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Leave it to the National Board of Review (NBR) to throw a spanner into the works of award season with the announcement of their annual awards. There were a few familiar names that have already been bandied about, but there clearly was one picture they loved about all others and that was J.C. Chandor’s period crime-thriller A Most Violent Year, starring Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain, who received top honors in the actor and supporting actress categories respectively.

Isaac actually tied for Best Actor with Michael Keaton for Alejandro Inarritu’s Birdman, the latter’s second win in the past 24 hours. Keaton’s co-star Edward Norton received his first nod in the supporting actor category, while Julianne Moore also followed last night’s Gotham Award win for Still Alice with NBR’s award for Best Actress.

Clint Eastwood has received many honors from the group and he was once again selected as the year’s Best Director for American Sniper, starring Bradley Cooper, his second NBR award in that category after 2009’s Invictus. Eastwood also won for Best Actor in 2008 for Gran Torino and his earlier film Letters from Iwo Jima was the group’s top film. When you consider that Million Dollar Baby got a Special Achievement Award and that all of this was after Eastwood’s 1999 Career Achievement Award, you have to figure that the NBR likes Clint Eastwood.. a lot.

Another odd choice was that NBR gave the Best Original Screenplay to Phil Lord and Christopher Miller for their animated The LEGO Movie, but awarded their actual Best Animated Feature to DreamWorks Animation’s How to Train Your Dragon 2

NBR will hold its annual awards gala dinner to dole out the honors will be held on January 6, 2015.

Here is the entire list of winners at this year’s awards including their Top 5 or 10 films in different categories:

Best FilmA Most Violent Year
Best Director:  Clint Eastwood for American Sniper
Best Actor (TIE):  Oscar Isaac for A Most Violent Year; Michael Keaton for Birdman
Best Actress: Julianne Moore for Still Alice
Best Supporting Actor:  Edward Norton for Birdman
Best Supporting Actress:  Jessica Chastain for A Most Violent Year
Best Original Screenplay:  Phil Lord & Christopher Miller for The Lego Movie
Best Adapted Screenplay:  Paul Thomas Anderson for Inherent Vice
Best Animated Feature:  How to Train Your Dragon 2
Breakthrough Performance:  Jack O’Connell for Starred Up & Unbroken
Best Directorial Debut:  Gillian Robespierre for Obvious Child
Best Foreign Language Film:  Wild Tales
Best Documentary:  Life Itself
William K. Everson Film History Award:  Scott Eyman
Best Ensemble:  Fury
Spotlight Award:  Chris Rock for writing, directing, and starring in Top Five
NBR Freedom of Expression Award:  Rosewater
NBR Freedom of Expression Award:  Selma

Top Films
American Sniper
Birdman
Boyhood
Fury
Gone Girl
The Imitation Game
Inherent Vice
The Lego Movie
Nightcrawler
Unbroken

Top 5 Foreign Language Films
Force Majeure
Gett: The Trial of Vivian Amsalem
Leviathan
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
Locke
A Most Wanted Man
Mr. Turner
Obvious Child
The Skeleton Twins
Snowpiercer
Stand Clear of the Closing Doors
Starred Up
Still Alice