Those crazy scalawags over on the National Board of Review — who are to the movie awards what New Hampshire is to election season, only a lot less rebellious or inclined to carry a shotgun — have announced the first big awards of the season. The National Board of Review awards don’t mean a lot, in and of themselves, but they set the tone for the rest of the awards season, at least until another awards announcement comes along and sets the tone again.
In other words, you’ll forget about these right after you read them, or soon thereafter. The big pick was Up in the Air as best film, which is well on its way to going down on Oscar. And if our review is any indication, Oscar is gonna like it. Eastwood got best director for Invictus, while Clooney and Morgan Freeman split the award for best actor, basically pitting Invictus vs. Up in the Air for the rest of the awards season.
And after looking over there top ten films of the year, I’m starting to think that the Academy picked a shit year to widen the Best Picture nominees to ten. There are definitely 10 really good films this year, but as much as I loved Star Trek and, though (500) Days of Summer was my personal favorite movie of the year, I’m not so sure either should be part of an Oscar discussion. Same goes, really, for An Education, which was something of a disappointment (outstanding performances, aside).
Anyway, here’s what we got — essentially a bellwether for all the films you’re going to be sick to death of hearing about by February.
Best Film: Up in the Air
Ten Best Films (in alphabetical order)
(500) Days Of Summer
The Hurt Locker
A Serious Man
Where the Wild Things Are
Director: Clint Eastwood, Invictus
Actor: George Clooney, Up in the Air
Morgan Freeman, Invictus
Actress: Carey Mulligan, An Education
Supporting Actor: Woody Harrelson, The Messenger
Supporting Actress: Anna Kendrick, Up in the Air
Foreign Language Film: A Prophet
Documentary: The Cove
Animated Feature: Up
Ensemble Cast: It’s Complicated
Breakthrough Performance by an Actor: Jeremy Renner, The Hurt Locker
Breakthrough Performance by an Actress: Gabourey Sidibe, Precious
Spotlight Award for Best Directorial Debut: Duncan Jones, Moon; Oren Moverman, The Messenger; Marc Webb, (500) Days of Summer
Original Screenplay: Joel and Ethan Coen, A Serious Man
Adapted Screenplay: Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner, Up in the Air
Special Filmmaking Achievement Award: Wes Anderson, The Fantastic Mr. Fox
Top Ten Independent Films (in alphabetical order)
In the Loop
Me and Orson Welles