It wouldn’t be the National Board of Review to throw a few fun wrenches into what’s already a topsy-turvy awards season. Mad Max: Fury Road has won their Best Film award despite not showing up anywhere else on their list. That made room for a handful of other films to collect multiple prizes including The Hateful Eight (Top 10, Best Supporting Actress – Jennifer Jason Leigh and Best Original Screenplay) and The Martian (Best Director – Ridley Scott, Best Actor – Matt Damon and Best Adapted Screenplay). Room also came through with acting wins for Brie Larson in Best Actress and Jacob Tremblay for Breakthrough Performance (which he shares with Beasts of No Nation‘s Abraham Attah).
Sylvester Stallone picked up his first win of the season for Creed. Despite a near non-campaign by Warner Brothers for the film Stallone has emerged a huge frontrunner in Best Supporting Actor. The film also made the group’s Top 10.The mega-hit from summer, Straight Outta Compton, was a pleasant surprise to make the Top 10.
Lots of surprising snubs today came in the form of Black Mass, Warner Brothers’ biggest pony getting nada, zilch, zip. That has to come as a surprise to almost anyone and hopefully is the wake-up call for the studio to see that Creed and Mad Max: Fury Road are the films they should be championing. Also missing though were Carol and Brooklyn. Both were heavily predicted to at least show up in the Top 10 and/or Best Actress or Best Supporting Actress. Joy also went home empty-handed this morning. David O. Russell’s previous films have done pretty well with the NBR (they even sponsor his Ghetto Film School) so whether it was an issue of seeing in time for voting (they should have) or it just didn’t work for them is unclear.
Taking a look at the NBR and Oscar history as I did in my predictions (boy those kinda choked, didn’t they?), I’m a bit nervous about Jennifer Jason Leigh’s win. What we at AW have often called the ‘Best Supporting Actress curse’ could hit JJL but I sure hope it doesn’t. The actress has never been nominated for an Academy Award despite decades of worthy performances. But really, it’s only been the last five winners here that have been Oscar snubbed. Here’s hoping that curse get broken.
But, today is still proof that the National Board of Review is the Warner Brothers batting field and everyone else is on the bench. For those playing at home, since 2003 Warner Brothers has won Best Film here five times. No other studio has won more than two.
So who’s status really grew today? Mad Max: Fury Road, obviously. Having won the FIPRESCI prize earlier this fall (Boyhood won last year), this new win vaults it up from ‘tech nom’ status to full-fledged Best Picture contender. The Martian is already high on most people’s predictions so it’s just shoring up. The Hateful Eight, having just screened might have earned the biggest boost, especially in light The Weinstein Company’s other effort Carol being snubbed. Who took a beating? The aforementioned Carol, Black Mass, Joy and Brooklyn. Also, The Revenant. What is supposed to be Leonardo DiCaprio’s walk to the Oscar stage isn’t starting out so hot. But don’t worry folks, it’s on the beginning. Tomorrow brings us the New York Film Critics Circle and the possibility of seeing some of the same names or a completely different roster. Welcome to awards season!
Here is the full list of 2015 National Board of Review winners:
Mad Max: Fury Road
Ridley Scott – The Martian
Matt Damon – The Martian
Brie Larson – Room
Best Supporting Actor
Sylvester Stallone – Creed
Best Supporting Actress
Jennifer Jason Leigh – The Hateful Eight
Best Original Screenplay
Quentin Tarantino – The Hateful Eight
Best Adapted Screenplay
Drew Goddard – The Martian
Best Animated Feature
Abraham Attah – Beasts of No Nation & Jacob Tremblay – Room
Best Directorial Debut
Jonas Carpignano – Mediterranea
Best Foreign Language Film
Son of Saul
William K. Everson Film History Award
Cecilia De Mille Presley
The Big Short
Sicario, for Outstanding Collaborative Vision
NBR Freedom of Expression Award
Beasts of No Nation & Mustang
Bridge of Spies
The Hateful Eight
Straight Outta Compton
Top 5 Foreign Language Films
The Second Mother
Top 5 Documentaries
Best of Enemies
The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution
Listen to Me Marlon
The Look of Silence
Top 10 Independent Films
Welcome to Me
While We’re Young