Tuesday, December 1, 2009

National Board of Review: Review

The National Board of Review announces its winners on Thursday. It's significant because the NBR are the first real organization to name winners (the Gothams don't count), and because the track record between NBR and Oscar is totally relevant-- the first one out usually makes it to end, and with very few exceptions, the winner of the NBR is best picture nominated. Here's a look back at the last 25 years of NBR history:

2008: Slumdog Millionaire (Oscar winner)
2007: No Country for Old Men (Oscar winner)
2006: Letters From Iwo Jima (Oscar nominee)
2005: Good Night, & Good Luck (Oscar nominee)
2004: Finding Neverland (Oscar nominee)
2003: Mystic River (Oscar nominee)
2002: The Hours (Oscar nominee)
2001: Moulin Rouge! (Oscar nominee)
2000: Quills
1999: American Beauty (Oscar winner)
1998: Gods & Monsters
1997: L.A. Confidential (Oscar nominee)
1996: Shine (Oscar nominee)
1995: Sense & Sensibility (Oscar nominee)
1994: Pulp Fiction (Oscar nominee)
1993: Schindler's List (Oscar winner)
1992: Howard's End (Oscar nominee)
1991: The Silence of the Lambs (Oscar winner)
1990: Dances With Wolves (Oscar winner)
1989: Driving Miss Daisy (Oscar winner)
1988: Mississippi Burning (Oscar nominee)
1987: Empire of the Sun
1986: A Room With a View (Oscar nominee)
1985: The Color Purple (Oscar nominee)
1984: A Passage to India (Oscar nominee)

Typically they go for the Best Picture bridesmaid, but they've been on a roll the last two years starting the runaway sweeps for Slumdog Millionaire and No Country For Old Men.

Types they go for:

-Clint Eastwood-- they love him adore him (picture wins for Letters From Iwo Jima and Mystic River); top ten placements (Changeling; Gran Torino; Million Dollar Baby); acting win (for Gran Torino), they kickstarted the Million Dollar Baby buzz a month before the film opened! Expect some love for the Nelson Mandela bio Invictus.

-Films About Art, Writing or Music-- they're big on films about the artistic process, or about artistic people (Finding Neverland, about J.M. Barrie and Peter Pan; Gods & Monsters, about film director James Whale; Quills, about the Marquis de Sade; The Hours, it's all certained around Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway; Shine.) Acting wins for Annette Bening (for Being Julia) and Jamie Foxx (for Ray.)

-Musicals-- they love 'em, even when they're not that good-- Moulin Rouge! won best picture; Chicago and The Phantom of the Opera all got much love-- could bode well for Nine, which speaking of...

-The Weinsteins-- the producers of Nine\ Oscar hoggers extroadainaire-- they love these brothers a lot (Pulp Fiction, The Hours), but pretty much all they're Oscar hopefuls factor into the NBR somewhere, be it acting, top ten placement, made up awards the NBR likes to do, etc... could also bode well for The Road and A Single Man.

-Gay Films-- the NBR always has a sweet spot of specialized gay films (Milk, Brokeback Mountain, Capote, My Beautiful Laundrette, Gods & Monsters have all been well loved)-- expect some love for A Single Man, Tom Ford's new film, being distributed by the Weinsteins.

-Being First-- they purposely are first and obviously revel in it-- sometimes there's surprises in store, but the movies with the buzz at the moment usually make it at the top-- I'm thinking of Precious, The Hurt Locker, Up in the Air, and A Serious Man-- I'd be very surprised if none of those didn't at least make their top ten-- I think all of them will.

We shall continue the conversation Thursday, December 3rd!


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