Snickering about the National Board of Review has been a media pastime for decades, but for the most part their annual award choices, to be fair, have been fairly wise and spot-on. Today the NBR guys announced their 2016 awards, and Kenneth Lonergan‘s Manchester By The Sea was far and away the big winner — Best Film, Best Actor (Casey Affleck), Best Original Screenplay (Lonergan) and Best Breakthrough Performance (Lucas Hedges). They also gave their Best Adapted Screenplay award to Silence, or more precisely to co-writers Jay Cocks and Martin Scorsese. This in itself indicates that Silence might be a serious head-turner. Maybe. Here’s hoping.
Moonlight won two awards — Best Director (Barry Jenkins) and Best Supporting Actress (Naomie Harris). Hollywood Elsewhere respectfully disagrees with the NBR choosing Arrival‘s Amy Adams as Best Actress but whatever. Cheers to Jeff Bridges‘ gruff lawman turn in Hell or High Water, which resulted in the NBR’s Best Supporting Actor award. The Best Foreign Language award went to Asghar Farhadi‘s The Salesman — HE-approved. And Ezra Edelman‘s O.J.: Made in America won for Best Documentary — check.
The only head-scratcher was the NBR’s decision to give a Spotlight award to the “creative collaboration” of Peter Berg and Mark Wahlberg, which is mainly a nod to the efficiently spot-on Patriot’s Day. What the NBR should have done was give Berg-Wahlberg a special award for the finest, most crazily chaotic and realistic shootout sequence in years.