OSCARS: Predictions for the National Board of Review and the Important Week Ahead

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National Board of Review

If there was an official “starting pistol” to the awards season, this week would be the time to listen for the big bang.  For the next several months, we’ll be analyzing (likely either under or over) different groups and guilds, all leading to the coveted Oscar ceremony that will take place on March 4, 2018.

Thus far, the Producers Guild of America (or PGA) announced their nominations for Documentary Feature while the Independent Spirit Awards unveiled their nominees, leading Film Twitter and pundits to write off certain films and performances before a single ballot has gone out.  SAG voting opened on Nov. 16 while on the 24th, the HFPA received their ballots and are beginning the process leading to the Golden Globes.

On Monday, Nov. 27, the Gothams will take place where Universal’s “Get Out” leads the charge.  On Tuesday, Nov. 28, all eyes will be on the National Board of Review revealing their winners of 2017.  It’s worth noting that they will be doing this without seeing Rian Johnson’s “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” and possibly Michael Gracey’s “The Greatest Showman.”  Same goes for the New York Film Critics Circle who will reveal their winners on Thursday, Nov. 30.  In between, the Directors Guild of America’s (DGA) voting opens for the over 16,000 membership.

The week will close on Friday, Dec. 1 with the Broadcast Film Critics Association (Critics Choice) and the PGA receiving their ballots for their year-end prizes.

Looking back to last year, Barry Jenkins, the acclaimed director of the Oscar-winning “Moonlight” pulled off the rare “trifecta” – winning NBR, NYFCC, and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association.  This was only the sixth time where all three groups agreed on the same director (This was covered extensively in a piece from December 2016).

  • 2016 – Barry Jenkins, “Moonlight” (won Best Picture)
  • 2010 – David Fincher, “The Social Network” (won Adapted Screenplay)
  • 2005 – Ang Lee, “Brokeback Mountain” (won Best Director)
  • 2000 – Steven Soderbergh, “Erin Brockovich” and “Traffic” (won Best Director, Supporting Actor)
  • 1998 – Curtis Hanson, “L.A. Confidential” (won Adapted Screenplay, Supporting Actress)
  • 1994 – Quentin Tarantino, “Pulp Fiction” (won Original Screenplay)

Breaking down the statistic even further, all six director’s films won major Oscars on the night.  We bring this up because, with the year seemingly wide open, and “frontrunner-less” in several categories, this could easily be a race where different names and films pop up all over the place.

NBR seems to define itself differently every decade.  Since the 1990’s – where the internet has taken a huge part in the Oscar landscape, all their Best Picture winners go on to be nominated at the Oscars with the exception of one each decade.  Assuming the same trend continues, they already missed their one exception already (2014’s “A Most Violent Year”).

They seem like traditionalist most of the time, but the group has embraced modern, cool choices like “Mad Max: Fury Road” and “Her.”  They aren’t afraid to adopt the weird or uncomfortable as seen by their picks like “Quills” and “Manchester by the Sea.”  They could set into motion many distinctive narratives.

Down below, are the likely interpretations of the year and what the Oscars say about it:

Year of the Women
“Battle of the Sexes” (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
“Lady Bird” (A24)
“Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri” (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
“Wonder Woman” (Warner Bros.)

Year of Politics
“Darkest Hour” (Focus Features)
“The Post” (20th Century Fox)

Year of the Comedy
“The Big Sick” (Amazon Studios)
“The Disaster Artist” (A24)
“I, Tonya” (NEON)

Year of Diversity
“Coco” (Pixar)
“Get Out” (Universal Pictures)
“Mudbound” (Netflix)

Year of Patriotism
“Dunkirk” (Warner Bros.)
“Last Flag Flying” (Amazon Studios)
“Stronger” (Lionsgate)

Year of Science and Fantasy
“Blade Runner 2049” (Warner Bros.)
“The Shape of Water” (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
“War for the Planet of the Apes” (20th Century Fox)

Year of Civil Rights and Inclusion
“Call Me by Your Name” (Sony Pictures Classics)
“Detroit” (Annapurna Pictures)

Undefined Narrative
“The Florida Project” (A24)
“mother!” (Paramount Pictures)
“Phantom Thread” (Focus Features)

Obviously, the way in which they reward the films says more than just a “BEST FILM” prize and some of the films listed above can belong to more than one narrative.

Down below are the official predictions for the National Board of Review.  NYFCC predictions will be up on Wednesday.

Chime in with your own in the comments below!

BEST FILM: “Lady Bird” (A24)
ALTERNATE: “Dunkirk” (Warner Bros.)

BEST DIRECTOR: Christopher Nolan, “Dunkirk”
ALTERNATE: Dee Rees, “Mudbound”

BEST ACTOR: Daniel Day-Lewis, “Phantom Thread”
ALTERNATE: Gary Oldman, “Darkest Hour”

BEST ACTRESS: Emma Stone, “Battle of the Sexes”
ALTERNATE: Sally Hawkins, “The Shape of Water”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Willem Dafoe, “The Florida Project”
ALTERNATE: Bryan Cranston, “Last Flag Flying”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Laurie Metcalf, “Lady Bird”
ALTERNATE: Allison Janney, “I, Tonya”

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Greta Gerwig, “Lady Bird”
ALTERNATE: Jordan Peele, “Get Out”

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Dee Rees, “Mudbound”
ALTERNATE: Aaron Sorkin, “Molly’s Game”

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE: “Loving Vincent”
ALTERNATE: “Coco”

BREAKTHROUGH MALE PERFORMANCE: Timothee Chalamet, “Call Me by Your Name”
ALTERNATE: Daniel Kaluyya, “Get Out”

BREAKTHROUGH FEMALE PERFORMANCE: Tiffany Haddish, “Girls Trip”
ALTERNATE: Brooklynn Prince, “The Florida Project”

BEST DIRECTORIAL DEBUT: Jordan Peele, “Get Out”
ALTERNATE: Margaret Betts, “Novitiate”

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: “First They Killed My Father” (Cambodia)
ALTERNATE: “The Square” (Sweden)

BEST DOCUMENTARY: “Jane”
ALTERNATE: “Cries from Syria”

BEST ENSEMBLE: “Mudbound”
ALTERNATE: “The Shape of Water”

NBR FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION: “Strong Island”
ALTERNATE: “Long Strange Trip”

TOP 10 FILMS

  • “Battle of the Sexes”
  • “Blade Runner 2049”
  • “Call Me by Your Name”
  • “Darkest Hour”
  • “The Disaster Artist”
  • “Dunkirk”
  • “Get Out”
  • “Stronger”
  • “Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri”
  • “Wonder Woman”

TOP FOREIGN FILMS

  • “BPM (Beats Per Minute)”
  • “The Divine Order”
  • “First They Killed My Father”
  • “The Square”
  • “Tom of Finland”

TOP DOCUMENTARIES

  • “11/8/16”
  • “California Typewriter”
  • “Cries from Syria”
  • “Jane”
  • “Long Strange Trip”

TOP INDEPENDENT FILMS

  • “Beatriz at Dinner”
  • “Crown Heights”
  • “The Florida Project”
  • “Good Time”
  • “I, Tonya”
  • “Ingrid Goes West”
  • “Lady Bird”
  • “Marjorie Prime”
  • “Novitiate”
  • “The Rider”

Share your NATIONAL BOARD OF REVIEW predictions in the comments!

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THE OSCAR PREDICTIONS
:

MOTION PICTURE | DIRECTOR |
LEAD ACTOR | LEAD ACTRESS | SUPPORTING ACTOR | SUPPORTING ACTRESS | 
ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY | ADAPTED SCREENPLAY | ANIMATED FEATURE |
PRODUCTION DESIGN | CINEMATOGRAPHY | COSTUME DESIGN | FILM EDITING | MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING | SOUND MIXING | SOUND EDITING | VISUAL EFFECTS |
ORIGINAL SCORE | ORIGINAL SONG |
FOREIGN LANGUAGE | DOCUMENTARY FEATURE |