The National Board Of Review goes completely outside the box with their pick for the best film of the year with J.C. Chandor’s “A Most Violent Year”. Giving Jessica Chastain the win for Best Supporting Actress leaves speculation up for whether this support comes in the wake of “Interstellar” demanding Chastain not lobby for Chandor’s film over Nolan’s or whether “A Most Violent Year” actually is an Oscar Best Picture contender, but regardless of the reasoning, this pick will definitely not go unnoticed. Many of their picks are spot on, with Julianne Moore’s performance in “Still Alice” being acknowledged as one of the best of her careers, while Edward Norton is almost a shoe-in for a nomination for his role in “Birdman”. “How To Train Your Dragon 2” is likely to get a nomination in the Best Animated Feature category as well, but it is strange that Best Original Screenplay was given to “The Lego Movie” yet it did not win in the Animated section. “Life Itself” is also almost guaranteed an Oscar nomination for Best Documentary.

Having not seen “American Sniper” yet, I cannot say to what level Clint Eastwood is at, but from pure word of mouth, I do not see that Oscar nomination in his future. Oscar Isaac in the Best Actor category is also a situation that will likely not occur, unfortunately, but you will likely see Michael Keaton gracing that category. NBR’s Best Adapted Screenplay in Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Inherent Vice” does have me hoping for that representation at the Oscars, but again, word of mouth is not working in its favor. You cannot deny, however, that the Academy does hold PTA in high regards. Besides “A Most Violent Year,” no real surprises here. Take notice that all the picks for Best Documentary of the year are still in Oscar contention, providing a potential look at the nominations in that category.

Here is the official list:

Best Film:  “A Most Violent Year”
Best Director:  Clint Eastwood – “American Sniper”
Best Actor (TIE):  Oscar Isaac – “A Most Violent Year”; Michael Keaton – “Birdman”
Best Actress: Julianne Moore – “Still Alice”
Best Supporting Actor:  Edward Norton – “Birdman”
Best Supporting Actress:  Jessica Chastain – “A Most Violent Year”
Best Original Screenplay:  Phil Lord & Christopher Miller – “The Lego Movie”
Best Adapted Screenplay:  Paul Thomas Anderson – “Inherent Vice”
Best Animated Feature:  “How to Train Your Dragon 2”
Breakthrough Performance:  Jack O’Connell – “Starred Up” & “Unbroken”
Best Directorial Debut:  Gillian Robespierre – “Obvious Child”
Best Foreign Language Film:  “Wild Tales”
Best Documentary:  “Life Itself”
William K. Everson Film History Award:  Scott Eyman
Best Ensemble:  “Fury”
Spotlight Award:  Chris Rock for writing, directing, and starring in – “Top Five”
NBR Freedom of Expression Award:  “Rosewater”
NBR Freedom of Expression Award:  “Selma”

Top Films
“American Sniper”
“Gone Girl”
“The Imitation Game”
“Inherent Vice”
“The Lego Movie”

Top 5 Foreign Language Films
“Force Majeure”
“Gett: The Trial of Vivian Amsalem”
“Two Days, One Night”
“We Are the Best!”

Top 5 Documentaries
“Art and Craft”
“Jodorowsky’s Dune”
“Keep On Keepin’ On”
“The Kill Team”
“Last Days in Vietnam”

Top 10 Independent Films
“Blue Ruin”
“A Most Wanted Man”
“Mr. Turner”
“Obvious Child”
“The Skeleton Twins”
“Stand Clear of the Closing Doors”
“Starred Up”
“Still Alice”

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