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Up in the Air Takes Its First Meaningless Award

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | December 4, 2009 |

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | December 4, 2009 |

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)
An Education
(500) Days Of Summer
The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
The Messenger
A Serious Man
Star Trek
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)
District 9
Goodbye Solo
In the Loop
Me and Orson Welles
Two Lovers

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.