The National Board of Review has announced their 2010 winners, and David Fincher's 'The Social Network' leads the way with Best Feature, Best Director, Best Actor (Jesse Eisenberg) and Best Adapted Screenplay. Check out the full list below, and commentary after the jump.
Best Film: The Social Network
Best Director: David Fincher, The Social Network
Best Actor: Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network
Best Actress: Lesley Manville, Another Year
Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale, The Fighter
Best Supporting Actress: Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom
Best Foreign Language Film: Of Gods and Men
Best Documentary: Waiting for "Superman"
Best Animated Feature: Toy Story 3
Best Ensemble Cast: The Town
Breakthrough Performance: Jennifer Lawrence, Winter's Bone
Debut Directors: Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington, Restrepo
Spotlight Award: Sylvain Chomet and Jacques Tati, The Illusionist
Best Original Screenplay: Chris Sparling, Buried
Best Adapted Screenplay: Aaron Sorkin, The Social Network
Special Filmmaking Achievement Award: Sofia Coppola for writing, directing, and producing Somewhere
William K. Everson Film History Award: Leonard Maltin
NBR Freedom of Expression: Fair Game, Conviction, Howl
Production Design Award: Dante Ferretti, Shutter Island
More after the jump ...
The first (presumed) major awards announcement of the season is finally upon us. Sorry Gothams, Satellites and Indie (studio-sponsored) Spirits, but it is the NBR that everyone looks to as the official gunshot kicking off the awards countdown. A gun generally firing blanks to be sure, but that is only in our cynicism of their awards reflecting a celebrity party list more than an astute opinion on the year's best. Nevertheless, as with many of the precursors leading up to the 2010 Oscar nominations, it is the numbers to pay attention to.
Last year's big winner was 'Up In The Air' taking home four awards from the group including Picture, Actor (George Clooney tied with Morgan Freeman), Supporting Actress (Anna Kendrick) and Adapted Screenplay; the most awards given to one film from the group since 1988's 'Mississippi Burning'. This year David Fincher's 'The Social Network' matches that feat with awards including Best Picture, Director, Actor (Jesse Eisenberg) and Adapted Screenplay (Aaron Sorkin).
This is a good news and bad news situation for the film. Good in that it will be a likely nominee for Best Picture, which just about everyone assumed anyway. 2000's choice for 'Quills' was the last NBR winner not to have a shot at gold. The bad news is that since 1999 only three of NBR's choices ('American Beauty', 'No Country for Old Men', 'Slumdog Millionaire') have actually won the Oscar. Does that feed into the idea that 'The King's Speech' is the favorite in some circles (though the complete shutout here is quite stunning) or can we simply say that two of the last three years, an NBR Best Film has won the Oscar?
Perhaps the best bit of news amongst the Social Network victors is the nod to Jesse Eisenberg, whom many critics have had hovering around the #5 slot on their Oscar predix for Best Actor. 8 of the last 11 NBR winners in that category (including both Clooney and Freeman from '09) have gone on to an Oscar nomination. With eventual competition likely to be pretty stiff with Colin Firth, James Franco, Robert Duvall and Jeff Bridges (to name just a few), a nomination could be a victory for Eisenberg, who is on his way to being this year's Jeremy Renner.
In a race that may be destined to come down to Christian Bale vs. Geoffrey Rush, Bale has received the first push with a victory in the Best Supporting Actor category for his tremendous performance in David O. Russell's 'The Fighter'. Nine of the last ten NBR winners have been nominated. Not since the 1-2 punch of Jim Broadbent ('Iris') and Chris Cooper ('Adaptation') in 2001-02 has their winner translated into an Oscar though.
Over to the ladies' side, the NBR has given a major push for Lesley Manville in Mike Leigh's 'Another Year' and Jacki Weaver for 'Animal Kingdom' for Best Lead and Supporting Actress, respectively. Just earlier in the week I had said that this is precisely the kind of support they need for voters to sit up and take notice. Manville could be in the catbird seat for a nomination too if the NBR continues their trend. For 19 straight years, their choice for Best Actress has received an Oscar nomination. Miss Weaver may need some more help, as their Supporting Actress choice is only a 50/50 proposition since 2000. However, it is 3-for-3 since 2007.
David Fincher, who has already been inked in as this year's Oscar winner by some, still faces NBR's weakest numbers over the past decade with only four of their last ten choices even getting an Oscar nod. Of those four to get the nomination, three of them (Steven Soderbergh, Ang Lee & Martin Scorsese) were victorious. The one loser? David Fincher for 'The Curious Case for Benjamin Button'. I think it is still safe to ink him in for a nomination. Maybe only use pencil on that victory right now though.
Other winners include: 'Buried' (Original Screenplay), 'Toy Story 3' (Animated Feature), 'Of Gods and Men' (Foreign Film), 'Waiting for "Superman"' (Documentary), 'The Town' (Ensemble), Jennifer Lawrence 'Winter's Bone' (Breakthrough Performance), Dante Ferretti 'Shutter Island' (Production Design), Sebastian Junger & Tim Hetherington 'Restrepo' (Debut Directors), Sylvain Chomet & Jacques Tati 'The Illusionist' (Spotlight Award) and Sofia Coppola for writing, producing and directing 'Somewhere' (Special Filmmaking Achievement Award)
Their top films (in ABC order) were:
Top 11 Films (after Best Picture)
Another Year, The Fighter, Hereafter, Inception, The King's Speech, Shutter Island, The Town, Toy Story 3, True Grit, Winter's Bone
Top 10 Independent Films
Animal Kingdom, Buried, Fish Tank, The Ghost Writer, Greenberg, Let Me In, Monsters, Please Give, Somewhere, Youth in Revolt
Top 5 Foreign Films
I Am Love, Incendies, Life Above All, Soul Kitchen, White Material
Top 5 Documentary Films
A Film Unfinished, Inside Job, Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work, Restrepo, The Tillman Story
Every Thursday this feature will update you on all the awards, big and small, and gauge what their impact will have on the overall rankings of the major Oscar categories.