To the surprise of at least some in the awards-handicap racket, the National Board of Review has handed its Best Film award to Spike Jonze‘s delicate and affecting Her, and awarded Jonze as Best Director. This is a very welcome thing as Her has so far been simmering at best among the Guru-roovies and the Gold Derby-ites. I’ve never felt such rapport with or respect for the National Board of Review as I do right now. Give me a few days and I’ll revert to my default position of not thinking much of this group, but for now they’re very cool.
Bruce Dern was named Best Actor for his snarly, beer-slurping Nebraska performance, and Emma Thompson was named Best Actress for her feisty but brittle, Brillo-haired performance as P.J. Travers in Saving Mr. Banks. The NBR has also saluted Will Forte‘s leading performance in Nebraska with a Best Supporting Actor trophy and named Fruitvale Station‘s Octavia Spencer as its Best Supporting Actress (and in so doing blowing off 12 years A Slave‘s Lupita N’Yongo?).
Joel and Ethan Coen have won the NBR’s Best Original Screenplay award for Inside Llewyn Davis while The Wolf of Wall Street scribe Terrance Winter has won for Best Adapted Screenplay. Wolf wins something!
The Wind Rises, which I haven’t seen and will probably wind up ignoring because I hate animation, has won for Best Animated Feature. Fruitvale Station‘s Michael B. Jordan was celebrated as the org’s Male Breakthrough Performance, and Fruitvale‘s Ryan Coogler has won the NBR’s Best Directorial Debut award. Blue Is The Warmest Color‘s Adele Exarchopoulos has landed the org’s Female Breakthourgh Performance award, and rightly so.
Asghar Farhadi‘s mesmerizing The Past has won the NBR’s Best Foreign Language Film award. The Best Documentary award has gone to Sarah Polley‘s Stories We Tell.
The NBR has named recipients of what could respectfully be described as mild, half-hearted handjob awards — George Stevens Jr. winning the William K. Everson Film History Award, Prisoners wining their Best Ensemble award, Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio winning the NBR’s Spotlight award for Career Collaboration, Wadjada winning the NBR’s Freedom of Expression Award and Gravity winning the Creative Innovation in Filmmaking Award.