National Board of Review Chooses ‘Her’ as Best Film, Will Forte and Octavia Spencer Land Wins

her-joaquin-phoenix-02-600-370The National Board of Review came through today and put some great highlights on some terrific films and performances from the year.  Very shockingly, but completely warranted, Spike Jonze’s Her won Best Film along with Best Director.  Only two films in my lifetime have been cited by NBR and have missed Best Picture for the Oscars.  Did the Joaquin Phoenix film just land itself in the race?  I think it may have.

The folks over at Paramount Pictures and Walt Disney Pictures must be glowing this morning.  Bruce Dern of Alexander Payne’s Nebraska won the Best Actor prize while Emma Thompson won Best Actress for her portrayal as P.L. Travers in Saving Mr. Banks.  Dern’s co-star Will Forte won Best Supporting Actor while the beautiful Octavia Spencer landed herself back in the Oscar race winning Best Supporting Actress as the grief-stricken mother in Fruitvale Station.  Paramount’s other Oscar hopeful The Wolf of Wall Street won the Adapted Screenplay prize with The Coen Brothers’ Inside Llewyn Davis winning Original Screenplay.

Hayao Miyazaki’s The Wind Rises added another trophy to its mantle winning Animated Feature while Sarah Polley’s Stories We Tell repeated yesterday’s NYFCC win with Best Documentary.  The Top Ten named films was a very interesting selection of films.


  • 12 Years a Slave
  • Fruitvale Station
  • Gravity
  • Inside Llewyn Davis
  • Lone Survivor
  • Nebraska
  • Prisoners
  • Saving Mr. Banks
  • The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
  • The Wolf of Wall Street

Ommitted from the lineup was Paul Greengrass’ Captain Phillips which went ignored today along with Lee Daniels’ The Butler and August: Osage County, both Weinstein films.  Also ignored today was Stephen Frears’ Philomena, Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine, and J.C. Chandor’s All is Lost.  Big miss was David O. Russell’s American Hustle which just won the New York Film Critics Circle award for Best Picture, Screenplay, and Supporting Actress.

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Check out the full list of winner below and Oscar Predictions will be updated throughout the evening to reflect the past two days.  Also, don’t forget to join our Fantasy Awards League.  Lots of points up for the grabbing.

Best Film:  HER

Best Director: Spike Jonze, HER

Best Actor: Bruce Dern, NEBRASKA

Best Actress: Emma Thompson, SAVING MR. BANKS

Best Supporting Actor: Will Forte, NEBRASKA

Best Supporting Actress: Octavia Spencer, FRUITVALE STATION

Best Original Screenplay: Joel and Ethan Coen, INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS

Best Adapted Screenplay: Terence Winter, THE WOLF OF WALL STREET

Best Animated Feature: THE WIND RISES

Breakthrough Performance: Michael B. Jordan, FRUITVALE STATION
Breakthrough Performance: Adele Exarchopoulos, BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR

Best Directorial Debut: Ryan Coogler, FRUITVALE STATION

Best Foreign Language Film:  THE PAST

Best Documentary: STORIES WE TELL

William K. Everson Film History Award: George Stevens, Jr.

Best Ensemble:  PRISONERS

Spotlight Award: Career Collaboration of Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio

NBR Freedom of Expression Award: WADJDA

Creative Innovation in Filmmaking Award: GRAVITY

Top Films
(in alphabetical order)


Top 5 Foreign Language Films
(In Alphabetical Order)


Top 5 Documentaries
(In Alphabetical Order)


Top 10 Independent Films
(In Alphabetical Order)


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About Clayton Davis

Clayton Davis is the esteemed Editor and Owner of Born in Bronx, NY to a Puerto Rican mother and Black father, he’s been criticizing film and television for over a decade. Clayton is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association where he votes and attends the kick off to the awards season, the Critics Choice Awards. He’s also an active member of New York Film Critics Online, International Press Academy, Black Reel Awards, and the Broadcast Television Journalists Association. Clayton has been quoted and appeared in various outlets that include The New York Times,, Variety, Deadline, Los Angeles Times, Bloomberg Television, AOL, Huffington Post, Bloomberg Radio, The Wrap, Slash Film, and the Hollywood Reporter.
  • Odin the Wanderer


  • moviewatcher

    Can we talk about two shameful snubs?

    CAPTAIN PHILLIPS and BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR in all top 10s they’re eligible for?

    • Joshua Black

      I thought Captain Phillips was entertaining, but its already not on my top 10 of the year and I have many films yet to see, then again, what do I know, my current #1 is the Devil’s Knot – I was a blubbering mess who had never heard of this story before – but the critics hated it (seems heartless, IMHO). I saw the Devil’s Knot the same day as Fruitvale at San Sebastian FF and thought it far superior with similar themes of injustice…

      • moviewatcher

        Wait… is Devil’s Knot even going to be released in 2013? I think its limited release is in January, so you should put that on your 2014 list. I go by US release dates though, and that may not be your system.

        • Joshua Black

          checked IMDB, you are right, it was released in Toronto this past September though and I live in Canada, maybe I should use the US release calendar though so my list are comparable to most.

  • Joey Magidson

    Overall they outdid themselves this year…

  • Alex

    The race is looking really interesting! I think the Captain Phillips snub is more than fair.

  • r0ckmypants

    So nice to see Much Ado and The Place Beyond the Pines on the Indie list.

  • Jamie Teller

    The Top 10 list was pretty satisfactory. Really glad about Prisoners and Her. Glad they didn’t go for some of the more predictable choices. I don’t think Fruitvale Station was THAT great, but I can deal with it.

    The Independent Films list is more disappointing, having Much Ado and PBtP (neither of which I liked) in lieu of Spring Breakers and Upstream Color. And the Breakthrough award for Exarchopoulos…nah. I don’t see it. At least they didn’t put Blue on the Foreign Films list.

    • Pkumar

      I agree – Fruitvale Station seemed like a film school project at best. Octavia spencer for supporting? what? All she did in the movie was ask people to pray every 5 seconds. what a joke in that realm. Plus, that movie made up many events to portray Oscar Grant as a sympathetic character which in reality was not, and even the way they depicted the actual final event in the movie was straight up propaganda if you actually read what happened – Coogler has a long way to go to become a quality director. I hope this is not some PC creeping in. – End of Fruitvale Station Rant.
      But I am happy for the “Her” love – it is one of the best films of the year, and am glad that Spike Jonze got some director love – he really provides a great flow to the movie, and a lot of stylistic cues and choices he made heighten the film’s quality to another level. Not bad for his first solo screenwriting effort – it should be easily nominated for original screenplay.

      Frances Ha should have been listed in the Independent Films list – very disappointed it didn’t make it to NBR’s list. and their top 10 has some really questionable choices – Secret Life is not that good, and WOWS is overhyped (saw it on Monday eve in the city), no where near as good as Casino or Goodfellas.

      • Jamie Teller

        The NBR always has a couple of bizarre choices. A few examples:
        – Promised Land
        – J. Edgar
        – Defiance
        – The Bucket List
        – The Devil Wears Prada (granted, it was a weak year, but they didn’t pick Children of Men)

  • Joshua Black

    who makes up this org & aren’t they historically not taken that seriously? Also, how can Her win best film but fail to make their top 10? It doesn’t do Her any favors to not be on their top 10 list if each publication of their top 10 doesn’t explain it/publish it as a top 11, any thoughts? I’m very much rooting for Her because I’ve loved Spike’s other 3 efforts btw….

    • moviewatcher

      At NBR, the Best Film is never in their top 10. So, in essence, they always give out their top 11. It’s crazy, I know.

  • Manning Franks

    The race for the Oscars has just gotten VERY interesting.

  • Anthony Moseley

    I’m still not completely sold on Her. It looks like a good movie from the trailers, but it still has that “quirky for the sake of quirky” vibe to it. It’s kind of how I feel about Wes Anderson films. I like every film he’s ever done, but I never really thought that any of them were Best Picture worthy. I’m sure I’ll like Her, but there’s something about those kind of “quirky” films that I’ve always found a little pretentious.

    Really surprised to see Forte get the Best Supporting Actor win though. I thought for sure Jared Leto was going to rack up in that category.

    • Pkumar

      Her is worth the hype – I saw it at the NYFF and it still sits with me today. It’s a fantastic creative film. Innovative in its approach to universal themes. Beautifully shot, with an excellent score by Arcade Fire and brilliant acting to this generation’s Marlon Brando – Joaquin phoenix, plus ScarJo helps make the relationship believable – she deserves a nomination or recoginition on the national stage here in the US. And Spike Jonze should get a director nom as well as a writing nom – Her is the best picture of the year, glad NBR recognized the film and its director/writer.

      Loved Nebraska but don’t think Forte was as good as Squibb and Dern. Leto was good in Dallas Buyers Club. Tom Hanks is great as Walt Disney in Saving Mr. Banks. I thought Fassbender was too much of a one note villain in 12 years a slave. But Nebraska is definitely worthy of awards and nominations.

  • Ryan

    Loving the wins for Her and Nebraska. I have not yet seen them, but if these are the sort of pleasant surprises to be seen throughout the awards season, we are in for one interesting year.