Awards season has officially kicked off today with The National Board of Review naming their top picks for 2015. Their choice for Best Film is a rather interesting one, proclaiming George Miller’s adrenaline-fueled (and critically-acclaimed) action opus Mad Max: Fury Road to be the best of the best.
Why is that an interesting choice? For one, action films are not usually the prime go-to movies for critics when it comes time to name the best of the year, but what’s more is that it’s the only award the group gave it.
Meanwhile, they showered much more attention on Sir Ridley Scott’s sci-fi drama The Martian, giving it Best Director, Best Actor and Best Adapted Screenplay. Quentin Tarantino’s latest, The Hateful Eight, is also looking in good shape for the coming award season, claiming Best Original Screenplay for the man himself and Best Supporting Actress for Jennifer Jason Leigh.
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What’s most surprising of all is not what they did include, but rather what was unexpectedly left out. The most noticeable omissions, even from their Top Ten list, are Carol and Brooklyn, two films that have been critically lauded ever since they first started screening and both of which were expected to easily earn a spot somewhere in their awards.
You may also notice Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s The Revenant and David O. Russell’s Joy missing, but it’s unclear as to whether the group was unable to screen these in time, or simply didn’t like them. However, as I pointed out last year, the NBR can be a little off from the rest of the groups, so I wouldn’t count any of these out of the race quite yet.
As far as Best Picture goes, the group has a history of choosing films that typically tend not to go on to win Best Picture (you’d have to jump back seven years to find the last one that did), so in case you were thinking that this gives Mad Max: Fury Road a big boost for the award, you might not want to get your hopes quite so high, though I certainly wouldn’t count the film out for some technical awards.
Tomorrow sees the New York Film Critics Circle announce their winners, so be sure check back as we plunge further into awards season. In the meantime, please see below for a complete list of today’s winners:
Best Film: Mad Max: Fury Road
Best Director: Ridley Scott – The Martian
Best Actor: Matt Damon – The Martian
Best Actress: Brie Larson – Room
Best Supporting Actor: Sylvester Stallone – Creed
Best Supporting Actress: Jennifer Jason Leigh – The Hateful Eight
Best Original Screenplay: Quentin Tarantino – The Hateful Eight
Best Adapted Screenplay: Drew Goddard – The Martian
Best Animated Feature: Inside Out
Breakthrough Performance: Abraham Attah – Beasts of No Nation & Jacob Tremblay – Room
Best Directorial Debut: Jonas Carpignano – Mediterranea
Best Foreign Language Film: Son of Saul
Best Documentary: Amy
William K. Everson Film History Award: Cecilia De Mille Presley
Best Ensemble: The Big Short
Spotlight Award: Sicario, for Outstanding Collaborative Vision
NBR Freedom of Expression Award: Beasts of No Nation & Mustang
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