The National Board of Review is the next awards giving body to step into the breach, and they've done so with a big surprise, naming Martin Scorsese's Hugo the Best Film of 2011. The NBR, traditionally the first group to announce their awards for the year, comes on the heels of The New York Film Critics Circle, which named The Artist Best Picture on Tuesday after moving up their usual voting date by two weeks.
Scorsese also took home Best Director, while the group's Best Screenplay choice went to a real left-field contender, Will Reiser for 50/50. And yet, 50/50 failed to make the NBR's top 10 list, which includes The Artist, The Descendants, Drive, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, The Ides of March, J. Edgar, The Tree of LIfe and War Horse. Fair or not, the NBR has a reputation for bending over backwards for Clint Eastwood, so the inclusion of the middling J. Edgar isn't as surprising as it might seem. Not nearly as surprising, to me, as the Dragon Tattoo mention-- the NBR also has a reputation for being made of older and stodgy voters, and i would have thought David Fincher's crime drama would be too edgy for their tastes.
The acting prizes went to George Clooney as Best Actor for The Descendants, Tilda Swinton for We NEed To Talk About Kevin (another left-field choice), Christopher Plummer for Beginners and Shailene Woodley for The Descendants. All but Swinton were consider frontrunners for their respective acting Oscar races before these awards, and can probably enjoy a bit fo a bump thanks to this recognition.
For the full list of NBR winners visit Awards Daily or check out the list below.
Best Film: Hugo
Best Director: Martin Scorsese, Hugo
Best Actor: George Clooney, The Descendants
Best Actress: Tilda Swinton, We Need to Talk About Kevin
Best Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer, Beginners
Best Supporting Actress: Shailene Woodley, The Descendants
Best Original Screenplay: Will Reiser, 50/50
Best Adapted Screenplay: Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon & Jim Rash
Best Animated Feature: Rango
Breakthrough Performance: Felicity Jones, Like Crazy
Breakthrough Performance: Rooney Mara, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Debut Director: J.C. Chandor, Margin Call
Best Ensemble: The Help
Spotlight Award: Michael Fassbender (A Dangerous Method, Jane Eyre, Shame, X-Men: First Class)
NBR Freedom of Expression: Crime After Crime
NBR Freedom of Expression: Pariah
Best Foreign Language Film: A Separation
Best Documentary: Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory
Special Achievement in Filmmaking: The Harry Potter Franchise - A Distinguished Translation from Book to Film