Wed. Dec 11th, 2019

National Board of Review (NBR) Predictions

The National Board of Review is the oldest organization in the U.S. to hand out film awards. Not industry, not exclusively critics or journalists, the NBR consists of academics, film enthusiasts, film makers and professionals. Often considered the ‘real’ kickoff to awards season, they are always among the first to announce, often battling it out with the New York Film Critics for that honor.

Their affinity for Warner Bros films, Clint Eastwood and George Clooney is well known and sometimes makes predicting them a bit easier. This year, for example, Dunkirk seems to fit the bill as their Best Film. We could also see Blade Runner 2049 or Wonder Woman (which stands a really good chance) on their Top Ten Films list. I’m going with Dunkirk to take their top award but I don’t feel secure in it. Call Me By Your Name or Lady Bird could easily win. The group embraces ‘important’ films but also more subversive fare like Mad Max: Fury Road and Her (WB connection there). But, the group also has a Top Ten Independent Films list yet no real delineation between what makes something eligible for the main list or the independent one. There are always indies that sneak into the main list if their profile is big enough but it seems very arbitrary.

The NBR’s Best Actress winner almost always an eventual Oscar nominee or winner, but this decade has broken from that dramatically. Lesley Manville (Another Year), Tilda Swinton (We Need to Talk About Kevin), Emma Thompson (Saving Mr. Banks) and last year’s winner Amy Adams (Arrival) win and then get snubbed for a nomination at the Oscars. Most winners here are women of historical importance or whose roles carry dramatic heft. Amazingly, awards magnet Meryl Streep has only won this once, for Sophie’s Choice.

Best Actor, however, has a great streak this decade with only one winner here missing out on an Oscar nomination, Oscar Isaac for A Most Violent Year. Interestingly, he tied with Michael Keaton (Birdman), who did. Their winners are a random selection of roles and performances and hard to pin down. Gary Oldman (Darkest Hour) feels like someone who could run the gamut of awards season and there’s no better place to start than at the beginning.

The Post and Phantom Thread were the last two films seen by nearly all awards-giving organizations this year and they should pop up in at least one place (or more) here. I’m predicting The Post to get in for its Ensemble and as a Top Ten film alongside Phantom Thread. There’s also a very good chance for Daniel Day-Lewis (whose never won here), Vicky Krieps or previous NBR winner Lesley Manville to win here.

Here are my predictions for the 88th National Board of Review awards with alternates. The NBR announces their winners on November 28, 2017.

Best Film
Winner: Dunkirk

Top Ten Films
1. Call Me By Your Name
2. Darkest Hour
3. Detroit
4. Get Out
5. Lady Bird
6. Mudbound
7. Phantom Thread
8. The Post
9. The Shape of Water
10. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Top Ten Independent Films
1. Battle of the Sexes
2. Beatriz at Dinner
3. Columbus
4. The Florida Project
5. Good Time
6. I, Tonya
7. Ingrid Goes West
8. Marjorie Prime
9. Novitiate
10. The Rider

Best Director
Winner: Christopher Nolan – Dunkirk
Alternate: Luca Guadagnino – Call Me By Your Name

Best Directorial Debut
Winner: Jordan Peele – Get Out
Alternate: Greta Gerwig – Lady Bird

Best Actor
Winner: Gary Oldman – Darkest Hour
Alternate: Jake Gyllenhaal – Stronger

Best Actress
Winner: Frances McDormand – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Alternate: Jessica Chastain – Molly’s Game

Best Supporting Actor
Winner: Sam Rockwell – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Alternate: Michael Stuhlbarg – Call Me By Your Name, The Post, The Shape of Water

Best Supporting Actress
Winner: Allison Janney – I, Tonya
Alternate: Hong Chau – Downsizing

Best Breakthrough Performance – Female
Alternate: Brooklynn Prince – The Florida Project
Alternate: Vicky Krieps – Phantom Thread

Best Breakthrough Performance – Male
Winner: Timothée Chalamet – Call Me By Your Name
Alternate: Daniel Kaluuya – Get Out

Best Ensemble Cast
Winner: The Post
Alternate: Mudbound

Best Original Screenplay
Winner: Lady Bird
Alternate: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Adapted Screenplay
Winner: The Disaster Artist
Alternate: Call Me By Your Name

Best Foreign Language Film
Winner: The Square (Sweden)
Alternate: BPM (France)

Best Documentary
Winner: Jane
Alternate: City of Ghosts

Best Animated Feature
Winner: Coco
Alternate: The Breadwinner

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