Wednesday, December 05, 2007

NBR You Ready?

Here we go, kids. Movie awards season. But Lord, how did I manage to get through most of today without blogging about the National Board of Review, the first of many (many, many) precursors to the Academy Awards?

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 MEN
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
ATONEMENT
THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM
THE BUCKET LIST
INTO THE WILD
JUNO
THE KITE RUNNER
LARS AND THE REAL GIRL
MICHAEL CLAYTON
SWEENEY TODD
Okay, so some notes on these:

-- 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.

4 comments:

adam k. said...

I don't think Lars has a good chance of a screenplay nomination at all. I'd say it's quite the longshot, having to get past Michael Clayton, Juno, Ratatouille, The Savages, Before the Devil Knows You're Dead and Knocked Up.

But this certainly helps.

Joe R. said...

I have to disagree. Knocked Up is DOA, having been overshadowed by first Superbad and now Juno.

And it doesn't have to get past Michael Clayton, Juno, Before The Devil... or The Savages -- it has to get past everything else. Right now I think it stands a better shot than Ratatouille.

adam k. said...

I agree that it stands a better chance than Knocked Up... that will be a globe film, if anything.

But I'd still put it in 6th, behind the others... particularly after those screenplay wins for Ratatouille and The Savages.

But in any case, 3 of the nominees here will be women! At least it seems like it. And that'll be exciting.

Joe R. said...

Yeah, that's super cool, definitely.