The National Board of Review have just announced the winners of their 2015 awards, which is significant as it is the first of the trifecta of critics circles to announce their winners, with New York and LA coming up shortly, maybe in the next week (I know that New York announce their winners on Sunday, not sure about LA). I don’t really care for the critics awards, with the Oscars, Globes and BAFTAs being more my cup of tea. However, they can be important in shaping those awards, so I’m just to going to note down a few quick thoughts on a few major categories.
Best Picture: Mad Max: Fury Road– If previous winners have taught us anything, it tells us that if you win at NBR, you’re not going to win Best Picture. This tradition will be continued, but it does massively help George Miller’s film pick up a Best Picture nomination, and there is definitely space for it to sneak into the line-up. An interesting winner, but will it be it’s only win of the season, aside from technical categories?
Best Director: Ridley Scott (The Martian)- Scott now looks a safe bet to pick up a Best Director nomination at the Oscars, as this win shows he has critical support, rather than just ‘it’s his turn’. I can really see a narrative forming, and he may soon be a frontrunner.
Best Actor: Matt Damon (The Martian)- Sigh. Damon is currently just on the fringes of getting a place in my Best Actor Oscar predictions, and he really needs a couple more wins to get in. It’s disappointing that groups like NBR are going for this type of performance, as it’s good no great, and there are better options out there and more deserving winners.
Best Actress: Brie Larson (Room)- It’s probably a safe bet to say that Larson is, not only a lock for an Oscar nomination, but is also clearly out front to win. She’s extremely likable, has a baity role and gives, so I’m told, a dynamite performance. This is her first of many, and I’m pleased for her.
Best Supporting Actor: Sylvester Stallone (Creed)- In the words of Michael Scott: “IT’S HAPPENING! EVERYBODY STAY CALM!”. It looks like Rocky is about to make his triumphant return to the Oscars, 39 years after Stallone’s double nomination for the 1976 Best Picture winning Rocky. I’ve just put him into my predictions, after previously shrugging it off. If he gets some major precursor nominations or wins, he can definitely go all the way and win it. Believe the hype.
Best Supporting Actress: Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hateful Eight)- This is an interesting pick, as the film only screened a couple of days ago. It can definitely lead to her going all the way, as there are issues with Mara and Vikander concerning category placement and Winslet and Fonda are previous winners. She can definitely win at the Globes, and from there anything can happen.
Best Original Screenplay: Quentin Tarantino (The Hateful Eight)- More support for The Hateful Eight, and it looks like their nomination in this category is secure across the board. Spotlight is still the frontrunner, but Tarantino is definitely in with a shout.
Best Adapted Screenplay: Drew Goddard (The Martian)- Another win for The Martian, but this is a nomination that will struggle to be repeated at the Oscars. It may have trouble displacing Steve Jobs, Room, Brooklyn, Carol and Anomalisa, but this helps massively, and with Anomalisa‘s miss in this category at the Annie Awards, it could sneak in.
Best Animated Feature: Inside Out– If Inside Out continues to win these awards, it’ll be unstoppable. Anomalisa and the rest need to get some wins under their belts, otherwise it’s Inside Out’s to lose. It’s top 10 spot also helps it’s Best Picture chances.
Best Breakthrough Performance: TIE- Abraham Attah (Beasts of No Nation) and Jacob Tremblay (Room)- Conversation between NBR members: Hmm, I wonder whether we should pick Attah or Tremblay? Why not both?! Very pleased with this outcome, both are terrific talents.
Best Ensemble: The Big Short– With SAG firmly in it’s sights, The Big Short is getting stronger and stronger. It won’t challenge Spotlight to win, but a nomination would be deserving.
Overall, the blockbuster bias is a bit disappointing, but some results are pleasing, and the majority of people are pleased with the outcome. It’s nice to see those that probably won’t be winning any major awards getting recognition here, massively helping their respective pursuits for an Oscar nomination.
Full nominations: http://www.awardscircuit.com/2015/12/01/99794/