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Her Movie
Joaquin Phoenix in “Her” | Warner Bros.

The National Board of Review has just named “Her” the Best Film of the Year and helmer Spike Jonze  Best Director.

The top Acting prize went to Bruce Dern, a sentimental favorite for his masterful turn in Alelxander Payne’s moody black-and-white film, “Nebraska.” His co-star Will Forte received the Best Supporting Actor win.

In a nice surprise, Emma Thompson was named best actress for her portrayal of cranky P.L. Travers in “Saving Mr. Banks,” about the struggles the British-bred Australian-born writer had with Walt Disney who endeavored for 20 years to bring her masterpiece “Mary Poppins” to the screen. Thompson has been tireless in giving interviews and promoting the film, and it’s beginning to pay off.

Michael B. Jordan
Michael B. Jordan | Paula Schwartz Photo

Octavia Spencer, who won the supporting Oscar for “The Help” two years back, has received that accolade again by the NBR for the Weinstein film, “Fruitvale Station,” which also got a Best Directing Debut Honor for the film’s young director, Ryan Coogler. Michael B. Jordan, who stars as Oscar Grant, received the breakthrough performance win for his portrayal; the film focuses on the last day of Grant’s life before he is killed by white police officers. Director and star received the same honors Monday at the Gotham Independent Film Awards.

The patron saints of the New York independent film scene, Joel and Ethan Coen, received the Best Original Screenplay win for “Inside Llewyn Davis,” and the Best Adapted Screenplay win went to Terence Winter for “The Wolf of Wall Street.”

The awards season is picking up speed, and it will be an interesting ride with the love being spread around to lots of different movies.

From the presss release: “Spike Jonze is one of the most talented and visionary filmmakers working today,” said Annie Schulhof, NBR President. “In HER, he explores the age-old themes of love and human connection in a completely fresh and innovative way. It is an outstanding achievement that is sure to become a new classic.”

A select group of knowledgeable film enthusiasts and professionals, academics, young filmmakers and students, the National Board of Review viewed over 250 films this year, including studio, independent, foreign-language, animated and documentary selections.  These screenings were frequently followed by in-depth discussions with filmmakers, directors, actors, producers, and screenwriters. Voting ballots were tabulated by the accounting firm of Lutz & Carr, LLP.

The National Board of Review honors diverse members of the film community at their annual Awards Gala, which also acts as a fundraiser for student grant philanthropy.  Hosted by Lara Spencer, this year’s gala will take place on January 7, 2014 at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York City.

Ryan Coogler
Ryan Coogler | Paula Schwartz Photo

Below is a full list of the awards given by the National Board of Review:

  • 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)

  • 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

Top 5 Foreign Language Films (In Alphabetical Order)

  • Beyond the Hills
  • Gloria
  • The Grandmaster
  • A Hijacking
  • The Hunt

Top 5 Documentaries (In Alphabetical Order)

  • 20 Feet from Stardom
  • The Act of Killing
  • After Tiller
  • Casting By
  • The Square

Top 10 Independent Films (In Alphabetical Order)

  • Ain’t Them Bodies Saints
  • Dallas Buyers Club
  • In a World…
  • Mother of George
  • Much Ado About Nothing
  • Mud
  • The Place Beyond the Pines
  • Short Term 12
  • Sightseers
  • The Spectacular Now
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