National Board of Review: Oscar Potentials

The National Board of Review announced their awards for 2008:

– Best Picture – Slumdog Millionaire
– Best Actor – Clint Eastwood (Gran Torino)
– Best Original Screenplay – Gran Torino (Nick Schenk)
– Best Director – David Fincher (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button)
– Best Actress – Anne Hathaway (Rachel Getting Married)
– Best Supporting Actor – Josh Brolin (Milk)
– Best Supporting Actress – Penelope Cruz (Vicky Christina Barcelona)
– Best Foreign Language Film – Mongol
– Best Documentary – Man on Wire
– Best Animated Feature – WALL-E
– Best Ensemble Cast – Doubt

National Board of Review’s Top 10 (alphabetical order):
– Burn After Reading
– Changeling
– The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
– The Dark Knight
– Defiance
– Frost/Nixon
– Gran Torino
– Milk
– The Wrestler

Slumdog Millionaire continues its insane burst of Oscar buzz as it captured the National Board of Review Best Picture award.  I think it’s safe to say that this film will be a Best Picture nominee.

The most controversial award winners from the NBR were the ones involving Clint Eastwood’s Gran Torino.  Is this film really that good, or is the Board just showing their respects to the living legend?  According to some early reviews, Gran Torino isn’t good at all, but the NBR gave Eastwood the Best Actor award over steep competitors such as Sean Penn (Milk), Frank Langella (Frost/Nixon), and Mickey Rourke (The Wrestler).

Does the NBR mean anything to The Academy Awards?  Yes and no.  Last year the NBR did select No Country for Old Men as their Best Picture, which we know went on to take the Best Picture Oscar.  And the NBR’s Best Picture winners have all been at least nominated for The Academy’s Best Picture since 2000.  It is a great achievement to take the NBR’s Best Picture, and Slumdog Millionaire should stop being looked at as the “indie underdog” this year and more as a slight favorite.

Notable snubs from the NBR Top 10 are Revolutionary Road, The Reader, Doubt, Rachel Getting Married, Che, Happy-Go-Lucky, and The Visitor.  What does this mean?  Well, not TOO much but again being on the NBR’s Top 10 is better than not being on it.  Let this be a slight concern for the Kate Winslet double header (The Reader and Revolutionary Road) along with the A-list heavy Doubt and indie-potentials Happy-Go-Lucky  and The Visitor.


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