Wednesday, December 05, 2007

NBR -Then & Now

THEN ~Last year the National Board of Review chose the following films as the tippity top of 2006 -I've highlighted the eventual Oscar Best Picture nominees for ya: Letters from Iwo Jima (the NBR winner), Babel, Blood Diamond, The Departed, The Devil Wears Prada, Flags of Our Fathers, The History Boys, Little Miss Sunshine, Notes on a Scandal and The Painted Veil . This list is rather indicative of what they always do: mix Oscar buzz titles with one or two populist favorites and then fill the rest with movies that have just been released or are about to and, thus, likely to use the NBR stamp of approval in their launch. The NBR is even more November/December focused than the Academy (note the presence of The History Boys and The Painted Veil that didn't go anywhere with the Academy but were very fresh in the minds of the NBR voters)

Despite correlations with Oscar tastes, their lists are often difficult to read in terms of Oscar because of their desire to spread the wealth to all studios (AMPAS voters have no such need of ego stroking. People service them). If you win an acting award, say like Helen Mirren in the Queen, they may feel they can bypass you in their top 10. So political it is...

One last thing about last year. The NBR was the first to reveal the chink in the Dreamgirls armor. Other awards bodies followed their lead: Once you've awarded Jennifer Hudson for her breakthrough performance, feel free to shimmy away from that picture towards other movies

NOW (my comments in red)
For 2007 They've chosen Best Picture: No Country For Old Men
The rest of their top ten is: The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, Atonement, The Bourne Ultimatum, The Bucket List, Into the Wild, Juno, The Kite Runner, Lars and the Real Girl, Michael Clayton and Sweeney Todd
My Oscar predictions for Best Picture are looking pretty good now, aren't they?

Other prizes...
Director: Tim Burton Sweeney Todd
Director is an area in which the NBR voters can' t be trusted. Sorry for the Burton lovers but this doesn't usually indicate great things ahead -just ask Edward Zwick
Actor: George Clooney Michael Clayton
I think he's an easy get for an Oscar nomination but I guess I was really hoping they'd be brave and give Viggo Mortenson (Eastern Promises) a boost. But oops. That movie came out in September which according to the NBR is a million years ago.
Actress: Julie Christie Away From Her
Yes! May she absolutely clobber Marion Cotillard (La Vie En Rose) to nab the Oscar
Supporting Actor: Casey Affleck, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford Yes! He needed some early love. He got it.
Supporting Actress: Amy Ryan, Gone Baby Gone
Foreign Film: The Diving Bell and Butterfly
This is a good movie (my review and interview with Max von Sydow) but my god these voters have a limited frame of reference. Everything is opening right now.

Breathrough Performance, Actress: Ellen Page, Juno "dudes, the NBR is totally into freaky chicks"
Breakthrough Performance, Actor: Emile Hirsch, Into the Wild This is his 9th film and he's been the lead several times. But they always have a loose definition of "Breakthrough". Remember when Charlize Theron won on her 20th picture after being famous for a decade?
Directorial Debut: Ben Affleck, Gone Baby Gone
If you're already famous and you make a movie, someone somewhere will give you prizes for it. It's the law.
Original Screenplay (tie) Lars and the Real Girl & Juno
NBR fought back the desire to rename this category "Most Loveable Quirkfest of the Year"
Adapted Screenplay: No Country For Old Men
Ensemble Cast: No Country For Old Men
This movie certainly cleaned up. Is the Oscar next?
Animated Feature: Ratatouille
Documentary: Body of War


adam k. said...

I don't think last year's list is descending order, I think it's alphabetical ; )

Anonymous said...

These are my guesses. And they are pretty predictable, since everyone's saying the same thing.

No Country For Old Men
Michael Clayton
Sweeney Todd
The Kite Runner
There Will Be Blood
Into The Wild
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

Anonymous said...

Surely that 2006 NBR top 10 is in alpha order (with the exception of Letters from Iwo Jima) not best first order?

That was actually a good list, by my tastes anyway. Is that like admitting you're a film philistine - being like the NBR? 6 of their picks made my top 10, 3 others made my top 20.

Anonymous said...

It's taking so long.

UGH! Awards season equals servers going down. Awards Daily and the forums, the NBR site all impossible to browse and even Variety is taking a lot of time.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

The National Board of Review has announced that "No Country for Old Men" has won top honors as best film.

The other winners:

Director: Tim Burton, "Sweeney Todd"

Actor: George Clooney, "Michael Clayton"

Actress: Julie Christie, "Away From Her"

Supporting Actor: Casey Affleck, "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford"

Supporting Actress: Amy Ryan, "Gone Baby Gone"

Foreign Film: "The Diving Bell And The Butterfly"

Documentary: "Body Of War"

Animated Feature: "Ratatouille"

Ensemble Cast: "No Country For Old Men"

Breakthrough Performance by an Actor: Emile Hirsch, "Into The Wild"

Breakthrough Performance by an Actress: Ellen Page, "Juno"

Best Directorial Debut: Ben Affleck, "Gone Baby Gone"

Best Original Screenplay (tie):

Diablo Cody, "Juno" and Nancy Oliver, "Lars and the Real Girl"

Best Adapted Screenplay: Joel and Ethan Coen, "No Country For Old Men"

Besides "No Country," here's NBR's top ten, in alphabetical order:

"The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford"


"The Bourne Ultimatum"

"The Bucket List"

"Into The Wild"


"The Kite Runner"

"Lars And The Real Girl"

"Michael Clayton"

"Sweeney Todd"

Anonymous said...

Here's the list:

Best Director: TIM BURTON, Sweeney Todd
Best Actor: GEORGE CLOONEY, Michael Clayton
Best Actress: JULIE CHRISTIE, Away From Her
Best Supporting Actor: CASEY AFFLECK, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
Best Supporting Actress: AMY RYAN, Gone Baby Gone
Best Documentary: BODY OF WAR
Best Animated Feature: RATATOUILLE
Best Ensemble Cast: NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN
Breakthrough Performance by an Actor: EMILE HIRSCH, Into The Wild
Breakthrough Performance by an Actress: ELLEN PAGE, Juno
Best Directorial Debut: BEN AFFLECK, Gone Baby Gone
Best Original Screenplay (tie):
DIABLO CODY, Juno and NANCY OLIVER, Lars and the Real Girl
Best Adapted Screenplay: JOEL COEN and ETHAN COEN, No Country For Old Men

Mirko S.

Anonymous said...

Cassey Affleck, great!

But George Clooney????

Anonymous said...

Yay for Clooney! Christie! and Lars and the Real Girl!

Eurgh for Ellen Page now more than likely heading for the Best Actress list.

Anonymous said...

Also, I guess The Bucket List fulfills their late release criteria as so astutely defined by Nathaniel.

Anonymous said...

Oh my sweet Ellen Page!!!

Anonymous said...

I'm happy for everything except George Clooney WTF.

Anonymous said...

And More

Top Five Foreign Films:
(In alphabetical order)

Top Five Documentary Films
(In alphabetical order)

Top Independent Films
(In alphabetical order)

Career Achievement – MICHAEL DOUGLAS
William K. Everson Film History Award – ROBERT OSBORNE
Career Achievement in Cinematography – ROGER DEAKINS
The BVLGARI Award for NBR Freedom of Expression – THE GREAT DEBATERS and PERSEPOLIS


I'm surprised by the Bucket List and The Great Debaters.

Anonymous said...

My god-damn cold, and how it is occupying 97.3% of my conscious attention.

the other 2.7% is mildly curious about whither the Actress Prediction Contest update?

Anonymous said...

George Clooney ??????????????

Over Viggo, Johnny Depp, Daniel Day-Lewis, Tommy Lee Jones... ???
Bad bad choice

Anonymous said...

See there? Posted the above message in the wrong damned thread. God, I hate being sick !

Anonymous said...

George Clooney is like 2002 winner Campbell Scott

Anonymous said...

Marty and Ang Lee are the past two winners of best director here, so the NBR director win isn't necessarily the kiss of death for Tim Burton at the Oscars. Being Tim Burton might though.

Marion Cotillard should have won lead actress, but whatever, she's getting an Oscar nomination regardless. George Clooney was a poor choice in lead actor too. Where's Johnny Depp, Don Cheadle, Ryan Gosling, Daniel Day-Lewis, Philip Seymour Hoffman, or a host of other options to choose from there?

Yay for Casey Affleck! Get that Oscar nod now! Amy Ryan's mention is pretty sweet too.

Anonymous said...

Cate Blanchett should have won the supporting category with "I'm Not There".


Elias said...

I dunno Nate, you're gonna rue the day you got rid of The Kite Runner.

Anonymous said...

Does this mean American Gangster chances are completely out?

Anonymous said...

Re: Christie: "May she absolutely clobber Cotillard to nab the Oscar"

LOVE YOU NATHANIEL! May she indeed.

So what we're thinking 1) Cotillard, 2) Christie and 3) Jolie are locks now, with 4) Page likely and 5) Linney and Knightley duking it out?...


the thing i'd amend there is that i don't think Jolie is a lock.

I think it's


and then 3 women duking it out for three spots

Anonymous said...

It's a lackluster list, but some of the wins are decent. Emile Hirsch would have made such a better lead actor winner than George Clooney. And did they not screen "There Will Be Blood" or something? Or did PTA fail us?

No Marion Cotillard in lead actress or breakthrough actress? Boooo. She deserved at least one for her brilliance in "La Vie En Rose".

Glad "Lars and the Real Girl" won for Nancy Oliver. I hope by some miracle the film can make it to an original screenplay nod at the Oscars, but now that's looking like a pipe dream. It couldn't even break into the Spirit awards.

Anonymous said...

I'm happy about the win for Amy Ryan, not so much about Casey Affleck and George Clooney (simply because it messes up my Oscar predictions.Nothing's a sure thing,though)


that's true. this doesn't cement anything... the Globes are way more important and they're but one week away

Anonymous said...

Yeah I suppose Page is locked now. Oh well, knowing now means buffered disappointment come January's end.

It's a shame that Linney, Jolie and Knightley probably all won't make it in, as they're all such brilliant, brilliant, surprising performances.

adam k. said...

I think best actress is


and 3 more from: LINNEY, PAGE, KNIGHTLEY, JOLIE, and maybe ADAMS

I don't think anyone but the top two are locked. I still have my doubts about Miss Page.

adam k. said...

I don't see how this makes PAGE is lock, when everyone expected her to win this anyway.

I just keep thinking: Thora Birch in Ghost World.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, Page is so much like a homeless man's Thora Birch in Ghost World. Birch was really good though, did she get NBR breakthrough too? My reasoning is just that Jennifer Hudson/Rinko Kikuchi (2006); Terrence Howard (2005); Charlize Theron (2003) all followed-up with Oscar. But then again there have been just as many misses recently, so yeah who knows? Tis a nice, fun, unpredictable awards season after last year's snoozefest

Elias said...

geez adam, anti-Page much? I know, I'm pretty much Page's ultimate campaigner on here, but this girl literally carries the picture. I see what you're saying, but Academy has become slightly more edgy lately (The Departed, Hard Out There for a Pimp, Devil Wears Prada's costume nomination. Page is young, fresh, and gives a solid comedic performance, and that is what's getting her this nomination.

adam k. said...

I'm just saying she's not a lock, is all. I think she's on even footing with Knightley, Linney and Jolie. I do think she has a better shot than Adams.


i prefer Page's performance to Birch's myself. I always felt that that character was stronger than Birch's performance whereas in Juno, Page is basically rescuing the material from itself because she does make it sound like it's rolling off her tongue... and that can't have been easy.

i'm not saying i'm on her bandwagon and I do think the character is more than a little obnoxious but i think it's a good performance

Anonymous said...

I love your comments, Nathaniel, but there are some flaws in your reasoning. First, you criticize the Clooney win for Michael Clayton possibly because the film came out recently. However, Christie's win for Away from Her came out in May. That's like 6 million years ago. I don't really think that the NBR only selected recent films (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly). Away from Her came out in May; Michael Clayton and Gone Baby Gone came out in October; The Assassination of Jesse James came out in September. In the end, none of the big winners opened in December. In fact, No Country for Old Men came out the latest.


Anonymous said...

Erik, Tim Burton won Best Director - thats not out at all!!

But yeah i know, Burton is Burton and i agree with Nat; they'll want to reward the big names if they can.

I'm just so happy about Casey Affleck. It doesnt look like the studio will be running much of a campaign for him, so the media/critics will need to keep him in contention. This is a great start for him.

adam k. said...

I basically agree about Birch. I just think the characters are so similar, especially in their youth and obnoxiousness, neither of which is good for awardage, that it's hard to say Page is a lock.

adam k. said...

And in fairness to Emile Hirsh being "breakthrough", I myself had no idea who he was until this film.

Calum Reed said...

Loving the Burton and Christie wins! I like that you didn't even feel Amy Ryan was worth a comment. Lol.

Barry said...

Nathaniel, no comments on Amy Ryan winning Best Supporting Actress?

Anonymous said...

Kudos to your new 12/1 BP predictions. They look spot on, even your ordering, based on NBR picks. This was certainly a boost for No Country for Old Men, Michael Clayton, Into the Wild, and Sweeney Todd. Atonement is fairly unaffected, in my opinion - all it really needed was to make the top 10. Juno got somewhat of a boost, but really, its 3 mentions were entirely expected (at least, by me - I predicted them all).

American Gangster and There Will Be Blood are the big losers of today, but Globes could resurrect either.

Anonymous said...

The Queen wasn't even in their top ten last yeat, but it still got nominated.

So I'm Not There still has a chance.

StinkyLulu said...

From my standpoint, the nod to Amy Ryan (over, say, Swinton or Ronan) in Supporting Actress does seem to help promise to lock her at least for the Oscar nom.

But is Josh Brolin going to get shut out this year?

StinkyLulu said...

Oh, and yeah: I think the snub of Blanchett in Supporting Actress is a possibly prophetic one.


but The Queen won a lead acting prize so it was in the mix.

yes the biggest losers today:
eastern promises, hairspray, american gangster, i'm not there, and there will be blood

adam k. said...

I wouldn't hold my breath for Amy Ryan. The NBR's best supporting actresses are often snubbed... though it does give her a leg up at least for the globe nom.

Joe Baker said...

So glad to see mucho love for Casey Affleck as well as "The Assassination of Jesse James", a film that I saw on opening night and love dearly to this day. Probably the best film of this year (or hell, even the last 2-3 years).

Anonymous said...

Cate Blanchett will pick up more steam in the coming weeks with the Globes and critics, I think. She was too great and the bait was too strong for everyone to ignore it, and I think she's locked for an Oscar nod regardless.

Having said that, I do want Amy Ryan to hold on as long as she can this season.

Slayton said...

I don't think this means Julie Christie has any edge to win - more likely its just solidifying her slot for a nomination. Marion Cotillard has much more traction and was far better than her.


whip-smart I wasn't implying that this will help Christie towards the win. I'm just hoping that it's her and not Cotillard. And obviously I disagree with the assumption that Cotillard is better. To me it's like the difference between, I don't know, a brilliant singer and a great karaoke act: one is in full charge of her gift and uses it to express deep emotion, the other puts on quite a show but it's just borrowed razzle dazzle. my take at least. I know Cotillard has MANY champions so I know my view isn't shared by all

Anonymous said...

I really thought they would be brave and go for Viggo Mortensen as well, Nathaniel. Especially after he gained some momentum winning the British Indy and being nominated for a Satellite.

Glenn Dunks said...

Yeah, the NBR has chosen some amazing women for their supporting actress prizes over the year (Anne Heche, Christina Ricci, Winona Ryder, Cate Blanchett, Maria Bello) none of whom went on to Oscar. I hope that the weak supporting category this year works for Ryan. Especially if she can become the "lone American" in a race filled with Blanchett, Ronan, Redgrave, Macdonald. Although it'd be highly hilarious if Maria Tomei took the "lone American" spot yet again.

I'm getting ahead of myself.

Nat, you make it sound like you're in the majority on Gone Baby Gone... :/

Anonymous said...

I found Christie's performance in Away from Her to be too self-consciously saintly, it was like a Lifetime movie...

Anonymous said...

Happy to see some early recognition for Lars and Lust,Caution.

adam k. said...

Um, Maria Bello never won the NBR. Patty Clarkson and Catherine O'Hara won in the years she was in play. She did win the NYFCC though in 2005.

Brian Darr said...

I don't think this affects There Will be Blood in the least. That film was never going to be the NBR's cup of Texas tea.

If it earns Oscar nominations it will only be because of the preferential voting system. A segment of voters falling in love with it and picking it to top their submitted ballots. Not a widespread consensus that it's among the best of the year (many will undoubtedly find it among their least favorite contenders- if they last through the whole thing!)

But yeah, this is a setback for any of the slim hopes American Gangster, Eastern Promises, Hairspray and I'm Not There might have had.


i agree that THERE WILL BE BLOOD is probably safe. or as safe as it was before this. from all reports it's a tough film so...

my question though is this: why hasn't hollywood realized that challenging movies perform better with oscar if they come out earlier? I know i'm a broken record on this topic but with this one type of movie I am 150% sure i'm correct. If something is unusually challenging or divisive, doesn't it need ample time to sink in and be discussed and argued about if it hopes to win #1 spots?

i'm curious what people see in this performance... people really seem to be rooting for it. but the specialness was lost on me

Anonymous said...

I would comment on Amy Ryan if they'd release the damn film in the UK.

It was supposed to have a gala screening at the London film festival in Oct but then Affleck pulled it because of the whole Madeleine McCann disapperance - do you guys know about this? I mean, I hope she's found safe and sound but, to be brutally honest, 1) most overblown newsstory of the decade and 2) I don't really care that much, would much rather see Gone Baby Gone and form an opinion on it. As adults can we not make a decision to see a film or not, whatever the current context may be in 'real life'? I find it grossly patronising.

Glenn Dunks said...

We don't get Gone Baby Gone until March! Ugh.


oh and yes... in case you missed it: the BEST ACTRESS PSYCHIC point updates for the year-in-advance contest.

right here

Kurtis O said...

"The Bucket List" seems a very odd inclusion, whether they wanted to spread the wealth or not. watching the trailer, despite the talent involved, it felt very old-actors-playing-goofy-parts-that-older-actors play. Like "Space Cowboys" on vacation or something. But then, who knows? Perhaps its fantastic. After all, the trailer for "300" was amazing, and, uh...
I HATE that I still haven't seen "No Country"'s getting to that preceding-buzz-influences-opinion place very rapidly.

Anonymous said...

I knew that "No Country for Old Men" was already a lock for a nomination, but this not only seals the deal, it arguably makes it the frontrunner for the win.

And I don't know if Burton's win is a good or bad thing from him. Sure, the NBR has been known to give their Best Director award to real wildcards on occasion (Edward Zwick for "The Last Samurai," Michael Mann for "Collateral"), but their picks have matched the eventual Oscar winner in each of the last 2 years. Plus, as "Sweeney Todd" continues to look more and more like a potential Best Picture nominee, this win can only help Burton, as far as I'm concerned. A win might not be in order, but a nomination? I think so.

All in all, the biggest boost given to anyone by the NBR this year is certainly for Casey Affleck. Granted, I don't know when the last time that their picks for both Supporting Actor and Supporting Actress have been nominated by the Academy, but still, it definitely puts Affleck's name in the spotlight. If he can pull off a Golden Globe and/or a SAG nod, I think he's in.

NicksFlickPicks said...

OK, but can we deal with the fact that Casey Affleck as a SUPPORTING Actor is egregious category fraud, entirely as bad as Jamie Foxx in Collateral and all the other category frauds we tend to lament around here? I'm surprised no one has mentioned it in 61 comments. He's in more of the picture than anyone else, I'm sure, and the movie gets more inside his head than it does Jesse's/Pitt's.


not to mention the fact that he's the entire last act!

Anonymous said...

Although I thought Christie gave a great performance in Away from Her... her costar Pinsent was equally great ahd held the pic together.... By far, Cotillard''s performance was more demanding and thorough , as she had to hold together a mediocre movie.

Anonymous said...

Can it be that they did not see TWBB at all? Is that possible...

Anonymous said...

I have to admit that I don't get the Julie Christie thing. For anyone who has dealt with someone who has Alzheimers (even in the early stages), the film is actually rather offensive.

Anonymous said...

I think the best female performace of the year was Jodie Foster in The Brave One,is a so unique performace,she desreves at least a nomination.

Glenn Dunks said...

anon 3.57, offensive?

Anonymous said...

I'm thrilled for Casey Affleck's win here, and I don't mind that he's being campaigned in supporting actor either.

and, uh...
I HATE that I still haven't seen "No Country"'s getting to that preceding-buzz-influences-opinion place very rapidly.

I know! I hate that too, but it's the cost you pay for being Internet junkies I guess. I try to read limited reports/reviews of films going into the Oscar season, but somethings can't be helped. Like I saw "No Country for Old Men" as soon as I could, and by the end I found it to be a tedious exercise. But now it's getting the "return-to-form for the Coen brothers!", "film of the year", "best thing eva!" type praise that can be as annoying as it is promising.