There's actually a good bit to talk about, so let's bypass the usual caveats (the NBR are not real critics, studio whores, like to spread the wealth, less reliable than other precursors, et cetera) and here are the award winners (via Awards Daily):
Best Film: NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MENOkay, so some notes on these:
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 Foreign Film: THE DIVING BELL AND THE BUTTERFLY
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
Top Ten Films:
(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
-- The big news is good news: No Country For Old Men deserves all the praise it gets, and if the Coen brothers want to end up on the Oscar shortlist again, this is a big first step towards doing so.
-- I see ten movies in the "Top Ten" besides that actual Best Picture, No Country For Old Men. Have the NBR always done this? It's a pretty cheap way to squeeze an eleventh movie onto the list, don't you think? Better send a Christmas card, The Bucket List.
-- It's generally not the case that all five eventual Best Picture Oscar nominees show up in the top ten, but if you had to choose five from this list, my guesses would be No Country For Old Men, Atonement, Michael Clayton, Sweeney Todd, and either Juno or The Kite Runner. Maybe Into The Wild. It's a strong-looking field.
-- As for the actors, the best news as far as I'm concerned is seeing George Clooney take the Best Actor prize. He gives an incredible performance, by far the best work he's ever done, but the nature of the role (and the performance, really) made me think it would be a tough sell for Oscar. His win here gives me hope that he can make it. Also fantastic news is Julie Christie winning for Away From Her. So well deserved.
-- Supporting awards for Amy Ryan and Casey Affleck are huge, because once the real critics' awards start rolling in, I still think Javier Bardem and Cate Blanchett are going to steamroll, so it's good for Ryan and Affleck to get their names out there.
-- Fantastic showing for Lars and the Real Girl, though aside from Original Screenplay (where it holds an excellent chance at a nomination), I can't see where it would show up on the Oscar list.
-- The absence of Once, Zodiac, and Away From Her in the top 10 (top 11) is disappointing, though not shocking. The absence of American Gangster anywhere is troubling but not unwelcome for someone like me who liked it but didn't love it yet who still predicted it to land big nominations. That flick needs Golden Globe nominations and it needs them fast. The absence of There Will Be Blood, The Savages, Eastern Promises, and Charlie Wilson's War herald a loooong awards season for those movies and their partisans.
Next up on the precursor calendar are the Golden Globes, so I suppose I should be better prepared for those.