The national board of reviews do awards in a way that don't mirror the Oscars, so they leave some mystery while also being an incredibly strong precursors.
I love how National Board of Review essentially makes a top 10 list, but only tells us who's #1, while giving us ten more top films...but in alphabetical order.
The 2008 NBR best film winner Slumdog Millionaire.
Only twice in the past two years has the NBR winner not received a best picture nod...2000's winner Quills and 1998's winner Gods and Monsters.
Slumdog was way high on my Oscar best picture predictions (#2), and a potential winner. I think the NBR recognition only supports the fact that it will get an Oscar best picture nod, but I think Curious Case of Benjamin Button will still be the film that walks away with the ultimate prize at the end of awards season.
The NBR's top 10 Films for this year are (in alphabetical order of course are)...Burn After Reading, Changeling, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Dark Knight, Defiance, Frost/Nixon, Gran Torino, Milk, Wall-e, The Wrestler.
Notable exclusions that didn't make the list include: Revolutionary Road, Doubt, Australia, and The Reader.
The biggest surprise to me is the exclusion of Revolutionary Road and Doubt. Sure they still have a chance to get into the best picture race, but there chances got slimmer. The inclusion of The Dark Knight seems to me to help it's chances of getting in with critical support as a reasonable consideration for best picture.
A big suprise to me was the Best Actor pick...the NBR chose...
Clint Eastwood as the Best Actor of 2008 for his performance in Gran Torino.
Four of the past 5 years NBR winner has gone on to win the Oscar...my most recent Oscar Best Actor prediction placed Clint in the 6 spot, just missing the nod...but perhaps I need to re-think that, in fact, this makes me think I may need to reconsider Gran Torino's role at the Oscars completely, especially since they awarded Gran Torino best Original Screenplay of the year.The NBR Selected Anne Hathaway as best Actress for her performance in Rachel Getting Married.
The last time that the NBR's best Actress pick did not go on to an Oscar nod was in 1990 when they awarded Mia Farrow for her performance in Alice. I do have Anne Hathaway in my top 5, but her questionable position is certainly has an increased chance for a nod. Although, I don't expect Hathaway to sweep the critics awards like Mirren did in 2006/2007.
Best Supporting Actor recognition went to Josh Brolin in Milk and Best Supporting Actress Honors went to Penelope Cruz in Vicky Christina Barcelona.
The National Board of Review has frequently been a poor Oscar precursor for these categories, but that is partially do to the fact they often award actors and actresses who have played multiple supporting roles in the same year (for example: Joaquin Phoenix for Gladiator, The Yards, Quills, or Julianne Moore for an Ideal Husband, A Map of the World, Cookie's Fortune, & Magnolia).
I would expect that Josh Brolin and Penelope Cruz both have excellent chances for picking up more precursor love this season, including Oscar nods...although wins might be less likely.
The complete list of NBR winners can be found on their site. Congrats to the winner's a let Award season begin!