Awards Season Rages On: National Board of Review Picks ‘Hugo’ and Scorsese

By  · Published on December 2nd, 2011

It is day four of awards season, and already some names are growing wearyingly familiar, and even the surprises don’t quite pop like they used to. On Monday evening, the Gothams announced their annual awards, followed swiftly by the Film Independent Spirit nominations announcement and the NYFCC’s winners, but director Martin Scorsese and his latest film, Hugo, were without some big awards love – until now. The National Board of Review has announced their best-of picks for the year, and Hugo has topped out as Best Film, with Scorsese grabbing Best Director. As the film opened just last week, here’s hoping that this NBR endorsement will pump up somewhat lackluster box office returns. Paired with a weekend box office free of new major releases, and maybe Hugo can swing up to the top of the heap.

As for the rest of the Board’s awards, there’s a bevy of names here that already seem like old hat – picks like Christopher Plummer for Beginners and The Artist, The Descendants, and The Tree of Life as a “top” films for the year – but there are still a few eyebrow-raisers, as our friends over at /Film note, J.C. Chandor picking up another award for his debut, Margin Call, continues to be surprising. Where is Sean Durkin and his own Sundance hit Martha Marcy May Marlene? And J. Edgar as one of the year’s best? And a Breakthrough to Felicity Jones and Rooney Mara, but no Elizabeth Olsen? Bizarre, really.

But there are some nice surprises here, as well, like Rango getting the Best Animated Feature win, or Shailene Woodley vaulting right into Best Supporting Actress territory. And a Spotlight to Michael Fassbender and a doc nod for Senna? Those are good things, appropriate awards that I hope to see much more of. Check out the full list of winners after the break.

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, The Descendants

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

Top Films (in alphabetical order): 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, Tree of Life, War Horse

Top 5 Foreign Language Films (in Alphabetical Order): 13 Assassins, Elite Squad: The Enemy Within, Footnote, Le Havre, Point Blank

Top 5 Documentaries (in Alphabetical Order): Born to be Wild, Buck, George Harrison: Living in the Material World, Project NimSenna

Top 10 Independent Films (in Alphabetical Order): 50/50, Another Earth, Beginners, A Better Life, Cedar Rapids, Margin Call, Shame, Take Shelter, We Need To Talk About Kevin, Win Win