National Board of Review Preview – Is it a Day Made for ‘Selma?’

NBR_logoTalk about kicking the season off with a bang, the precursors have officially kicked off with NYFCC announcing earlier today that “Boyhood” and its director Richard Linklater were the very best of the year.  Surprisingly, the group revived the works of Timothy Spall in “Mr. Turner” and Marion Cotillard in both “The Immigrant” and “Two Days, One Night.”  J.K. Simmons (“Whiplash”) and Patricia Arquette (“Boyhood”) won as expected.  Also receiving a resurgence was Wes Anderson and Hugo Guinness for “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” which won Best Screenplay.

The National Board of Review is a whole other ball game.  They have not missed a Best Picture nominee since “Quills” in 2000.  Before that, just two years prior with “Gods and Monsters” in 1998.  They allowed pundits and voters to accept Spike Jonze’s “Her” last year.  When it premiered at the New York Film Festival as its closer, many pundits (myself included) knew we saw something special but felt that there would be no way that Oscar would go for something like it.  Alas, NBR, LAFCA, and about a dozen other guilds chimed in and the film scored five nominations, and winning one for writer/director Jonze.  I can’t expect to get that two years in a row.

Some of the films I’m circling for citation are of course, “Boyhood,” which could/would be the beginning makings of a sweep.  “Selma” has a lot of support, and with an absence today, the film’s historical significance, and just being downright amazing, Ava DuVernay‘s epic could make a play.

If we’re looking for a Her-type win tomorrow, “Whiplash” somewhat fits that bill.  Skews younger, but people are really enjoying it at the moment.  I wouldn’t be shocked if that popped up.

Films that would be greatly impacted by a win: “Gone Girl” could sure use the support, and after just mere mention at the Hollywood Film Awards, it would firmly place itself back into the race.  Bennett Miller’s “Foxcatcher” is in desperate need of something that doesn’t just say “Ensemble” next to it.  “Unbroken” will be screening tonight but the first few that have weighed in on it, seem to be mixed.  It would need something like this to propel it forward.

On the acting fronts, there are dozens of choices.  NBR loves Clint Eastwood and his movies.  Bradley Cooper for “American Sniper” makes sense but so does Steve Carell, in a Jesse Eisenberg-winning sort of way.  I seem to leaning towards a jaw-dropping Ralph Fiennes win for “The Grand Budapest Hotel.”

Julianne Moore would prove her strength for “Still Alice” but anyone like Reese Witherspoon for “Wild” or Rosamund Pike for “Gone Girl” could make way.

J.K. Simmons will likely rape the season in a big way but NBR constantly throws out something that doesn’t catch fire.  Josh Brolin resembles something like that for “Inherent Vice” as does perhaps Tom Wilkinson for “Selma.”

Patricia Arquette could repeat another win but Emma Stone has the narrative and performance I think could resonate with NBR for “Birdman.”  Looking on the flip side of that, Laura Dern looks prime for the taking for her work in “Wild.”

Director is anyone’s guess.  Again, we have to circle around Eastwood but I’m feeling a James Marsh mention happening.

Your guesses are as good as mine.  Check them out below and make sure to put yours in the comment section:

BEST FILM: Selma
ALTERNATE: Gone Girl

BEST DIRECTOR: James Marsh for The Theory of Everything
ALTERNATE: Ava DuVernay for Selma

BEST ACTOR: Ralph Fiennes for The Grand Budapest Hotel
ALTERNATE: Steve Carell for Foxcatcher

BEST ACTRESS: Rosamund Pike for Gone Girl
ALTERNATE: Reese Witherspoon for Wild

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Josh Brolin for Inherent Vice
ALTERNATE: J.K. Simmons for Whiplash

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Laura Dern for Wild
ALTERNATE: Patricia Arquette for Boyhood

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Birdman
ALTERNATE: Love is Strange

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: The Theory of Everything
ALTERNATE: Wild

BREAKTHROUGH PERFORMANCE – MALE: Jack O’Connell for Starred Up, ’71, Unbroken
ALTERNATE: Eddie Redmayne for The Theory of Everything

BREAKTHROUGH PERFORMANCE – FEMALE: Gugu Mbatha-Raw for Belle, Beyond the Lights
ALTERNATE: Carrie Coon for Gone Girl

BEST DIRECTORIAL DEBUT: Dan Gilroy for Nightcrawler
ALTERNATE: Jennifer Kent for The Babadook

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE: The Boxtrolls
ALTERNATE: Big Hero 6

BEST DOCUMENTARYTales of the Grim Sleeper
ALTERNATE: The Overnighters

TOP FIVE DOCUMENTARIES

  • The Case Against 8
  • CITIZENFOUR
  • Elaine Stritch: Just Shoot Me
  • The Overnighters
  • Red Army

BEST FOREIGN FILM: Two Days, One Night (BELGIUM)
ALTERNATE: Wild Tales (ARGENTINA)

TOP FIVE FOREIGN FILMS

  • Wild Tales (ARGENTINA)
  • Ida (POLAND)
  • Force Majeure (SWEDEN)
  • Timbuktu (MAURITANIA)
  • Mommy (CANADA)

TOP TEN FILMS (really Top 11 – 2 through 11)

  • American Sniper
  • Birdman
  • Boyhood
  • Foxcatcher
  • The Imitation Game 
  • A Most Violent Year
  • Mr. Turner
  • The Theory of Everything
  • Whiplash
  • Wild

BEST ENSEMBLE: Into the Woods
ALTERNATE: Birdman

TOP TEN INDEPENDENT FILMS

  • Blue Ruin
  • Dear White People
  • A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
  • The Guest
  • Hide Your Smiling Faces
  • The Immigrant
  • Love is Strange
  • Nightcrawler
  • Obvious Child
  • Still Alice

Include your choices in the comments below!