The National Board of Review just named Kenneth Lonergan’s Manchester By the Sea the Best Film of the year. They also gave awards to Casey Affleck for best actor and to Lonergan for his screenplay.
In a press release, NBR President Annie Schulhof said, “Manchester by the Sea is a masterful film which explores love, loss, and redemption in a deeply moving and completely original way. We are thrilled to award it our Best Film, as well as to honor Barry Jenkins’ singular directorial vision for Moonlight.”
So what does the NBR best film prize mean for Oscar prospects for the Lonergan film? Last night the drama about a tragedy-ridden handyman (Casey Affleck) who becomes further burdened when he’s given custody of his difficult nephew (Lucas Hedges), lost out in this category to Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight at the Gotham Awards. Today’s win for Manchester signals that these two films will face off this coming awards season.
Keep in mind that it’s too early in the season to make any sweeping generalizations, and the NBR often makes eccentric choices. Last year the NBR named Mad Max: Fury Road best film, and the previous year it was A Most Violent Year. Although Mad Max was nominated for an Oscar, A Most Violent Year never even cracked the list.
The NBR also named Amy Adams best actress for Arrival. It’s definitely the actress’s year. She’s equally impressive in Tom Ford’s Nocturnal Animals, and last night the 43-year-old was feted at the Gotham Awards for her career achievements and praised by none other than Cate Blanchett.
NBC’s Willie Geist is set to return as host of the gala, which will take place January 4, 2017 at Cipriani 42d Street.
The NBR love their celebrities, but this year the spotlight seems less on movie stars than on quality indie productions.
The red carpet is endless and the celebrating goes on for hours with lots of booze and food and limited press, so the speeches are often raunchy and unfiltered. Winners are announced in advance so there’s no stress and the glitterati can focus on partying.
Following is the National Board of Review’s complete list of winners:
Best Film: Manchester by the Sea
Best Director: Barry Jenkins, Moonlight
Best Actor: Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
Best Actress: Amy Adams, Arrival
Best Supporting Actor: Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water
Best Supporting Actress: Naomie Harris, Moonlight
Best Original Screenplay: Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea
Best Adapted Screenplay: Jay Cocks and Martin Scorsese, Silence
Best Animated Feature: Kubo and the Two Strings
Breakthrough Performance (Male): Lucas Hedges, Manchester by the Sea
Breakthrough Performance (Female): Royalty Hightower, The Fits
Best Directorial Debut: Trey Edward Shults, Krisha
Best Foreign Language Film: The Salesman
Best Documentary: O.J.: Made in America
Best Ensemble: Hidden Figures
Spotlight Award: Creative Collaboration of Peter Berg and Mark Wahlberg
NBR Freedom of Expression Award: Cameraperson
Hell or High Water
La La Land
Top 5 Foreign Language Films
Land of Mine
Top 5 Documentaries
The Eagle Huntress
Miss Sharon Jones!
Top 10 Independent Films
20th Century Women
Eye in the Sky
Hello, My Name is Doris
Morris from America