As awards season approaches, the recently announced National Board Of Review award winners are certainly interesting. The film organisation named Mad Max: Fury Road their best film of 2015 yesterday (1 December), as well as hailing Brie Larson and Matt Damon as the best actors of the year and Ridley Scott the best director.
Given the awards buzz surrounding both indie movie Room - which stars Larson - and Scott's tentpole blockbuster The Martian - which stars Damon - their accolades aren't all that surprising. What is a bit of a curveball however is that George Miller's opera-like action film Fury Road walked away with the highest prize of the evening. Despite its endlessly positive reviews and huge fanbase of the back of the new film, many believed it wasn't the type of film that could win such awards due to its quirkiness. But that theory might prove to be wrong in the coming months.
The NBR also named their 10 top films of the last 12 months, consisting of, (minus Mad Max), Bridge of Spies, Creed, The Hateful Eight, Inside Out, The Martian, Room, Sicario, Spotlight and Straight Outta Compton. Previously Oscar-tipped movies and several that are currently in contention, including Steve Jobs, Suffragette, Joy, The Revenant, Carol, Brooklyn and The Danish Girl did not receive any nods.
Whilst it's not a given that different associations will be influenced by awards given before their own ceremonies, there is usually a trend amongst them, with the same films or actors coming out on top.
Tuesday's winners were chosen by about 120 film fans from New York, who cast their votes via email or fax, and the organisation has a mixed track record of predicting Oscars success. Last year, the NBR offered a left-field pick by awarding J.C. Chandor's A Most Violent Year with the top three accolades; best picture, actor for Oscar Isaac and supporting actress for Jessica Chastain, only to see the picture get shut out completely at the Academy Awards.
But the gala proved to kick off a trail of wins for eventual best actress Julianne Moore for her performance in Still Alice. It will be interesting to see which ones were 'predicted' this year. The honourees are set to pick up their statues at the NBR dinner on 5 January 2016 in New York at Cipriani 42nd Street.
Full list of winners here:
Best Film - Mad Max: Fury Road
Best Director - Ridley Scott (The Martian)
Best Actor - Matt Damon (The Martian)
Best Actress - Brie Larson (Room)
Best Supporting Actor - Sylvester Stallone (Creed)
Best Supporting Actress - Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hateful Eight)
Best Foreign Language Film - Son Of Saul
Best Animated Feature - Inside Out
Best Documentary - Amy
Best Original Screenplay - Quentin Tarantino (The Hateful Eight)
Best Adapted Screenplay - Drew Goddard (The Martian)
Best Directorial Debut - Jonas Carpignano (Mediterranea)
Best Ensemble - The Big Short
Breakthrough Performance - Abraham Attah (Beasts Of No Nation) / Jacob Tremblay (Room)
William K. Everson Award For Film History - Cecilia De Mille Presley
Spotlight Award - (For Outstanding Collaborative Vision) - Sicario
NBR Freedom of Expression Award - Beasts of No Nation & Mustang
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