The 2014 National Board of Review Awards were mainly about A Most Violent Year – something that, quite frankly, not many saw coming. Taking the night’s highest honour, stars Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain were also recognised in their respective acting categories, even if Isaac found himself tied with Michael Keaton. The Birdman love was felt elsewhere, with Edward Norton momentarily stopping J.K. Simmons and the film also popping up in the group’s top ten of the year.
Boyhood was (for once) nowhere to be seen outside of the year’s best list and Selma also found itself shut out, though director Ava DuVernay was handed one of two Freedom of Expression awards. But for all the surprises (Fury for Best Ensemble? Giving The LEGO Movie Best Original Screenplay but not Best Animated Feature?), there’s a lot to celebrate here. You certainly can’t argue with a ceremony that honours Jack O’Connell’s incredible rise to stardom.
With the NBR firmly in A Most Violent Year’s camp it will be interesting to see if this gives the film a well-needed boost. But when last year’s top prize went to Spike Jonze’s Her (which went on to win one Oscar), it certainly isn’t something to put your money on.
Elsewhere the NBR maintain their love for Clint Eastwood, seeing American Sniper take its first award of the season, and Julianne Moore and Michael Keaton continue to be frontrunners.
Lastly, it’s interesting to note that all the documentaries listed made the Oscar shortlist, and it’s fantastic to see mention of Blue Ruin, The Skeleton Twins and Snowpiercer, even if just in the NBR’s top tens.
Check out the full list of winners below:
A Most Violent Year
Clint Eastwood – American Sniper
Oscar Isaac – A Most Violent Year
Michael Keaton – Birdman Or (The Unexpected Virtue Of Ignorance)
Julianne Moore – Still Alice
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR:
Edward Norton – Birdman Or (The Unexpected Virtue Of Ignorance)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:
Jessica Chastain – A Most Violent Year
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM:
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE:
How To Train Your Dragon 2
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY:
Phil Lord, Christopher Miller – The LEGO Movie
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY:
Paul Thomas Anderson – Inherent Vice
BEST DIRECTORIAL DEBUT:
Gillian Robespierre – Obvious Child
Jack O’Connell – Starred Up, Unbroken
WILLIAM K. EVERSON AWARD FOR FILM HISTORY:
Chris Rock – Top Five
NBR FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION:
TOP FILMS (IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER):
Birdman Or (The Unexpected Virtue Of Ignorance)
The Imitation Game
The LEGO Movie
TOP TEN INDEPENDENT FILMS (IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER):
A Most Wanted Man
The Skeleton Twins
Stand Clear Of The Closing Doors
TOP FIVE FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILMS (IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER):
Gett: The Trial Of Vivian Amsalem
Two Days, One Night
We Are The Best!
TOP FIVE DOCUMENTARIES (IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER):
Art And Craft
Keep On Keepin’ On
The Kill Team
Last Days In Vietnam