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Equipoise
12-06-2006, 03:51 PM
This will be a non-story to most people, but to anyone who follows Awards Season and/or are Clint Eastwood fans, they'll be interested. The NBR is usually the first "real" kickoff to the Awards Season. At the very least, its list of the Top 10 often indicates several titles that you'll be hearing often in the next few months.

Letters From Iwo Jima is Clint Eastwood's answer to his own (excellent though little-seen) Flags of Our Fathers, only this time from the Japanese point of view. In recent years Eastwood has released other movies at the end of the year that had gotten little prior publicity, but then went on to be nominated (and win) lots of awards. A few years ago his Million Dollar Baby came out of nowhere and ended up winning Best Picture. Mystic River didn't win Best Picture, but it came out of nowhere and did very well. Now we have Iwo Jima suddenly exploding with buzz. (oh god that sounded terrible, but I don't know how to fix it)

I don't even know what the NBR is, but I have a soft spot for them because in 2001 they had the cheek to name Moulin Rouge as Best Picture, which put it on enough people's radars that it eventually ended up getting an Academy Award nomination. It had been released earlier in the year (it kicked off Cannes) and was pretty much forgotten by all except ardent fans. The NBR award suddenly brought it back into people's minds and they took another look at it. Since it and Fellowship of the Ring were my two favorite films that year, I was delighted.

National Board of Review names 'Iwo Jima' best film
First award in kudos race goes to Eastwood epic

By VARIETY STAFF
'Letters from Iwo Jima'
Clint Eastwood's 'Letters from Iwo Jima' has topped the National Board of Review's list of films
for 2006.
Clint Eastwood's "Letters From Iwo Jima" has won the National Board of Review's top prize, taking
home the first award in the kudos race for 2006.

The top 10 from the National Board of Review:

"Letters From Iwo Jima"

"Babel"

"Blood Diamond"

"The Departed"

"The Devil Wears Prada"

"Flags Of Our Fathers"

"The History Boys"

"Little Miss Sunshine"

"Notes on a Scandal"

"The Painted Veil"


I'm thrilled to see Blood Diamond and Little Miss Sunshine on that list. So far I've seen 6 of the 10, but the other 4, Iwo Jima, History Boys, Notes on a Scandal and The Painted Veil, haven't opened yet.

More NBR awards are here (http://www.nbrmp.org/awards/). Among other things, they named Cars as the Best Animated Film, An Inconvenient Truth as Best Documentary, Martin Scorsese as best director, and Volver (yay!) as Best Foregn Film. And check out those Acting awards! Hooray for Catherine O'Hara!

MovieMogul
12-06-2006, 04:17 PM
The NBR is the oldest motion picture award-giving body next to the Oscars (dating back to the 30s), but they're also the most controversial. Unlike the other major award-giving bodies (the NY or LA film critics, the Golden Globes, SAG/DGA/WGA, etc.), nobody knows quite for sure who is on the NBR or how one earns a space. From various accounts, it's a mixed bag of film industry professionals and/or academics and/or journalists and/or fans. But nobody knows for sure.

The Top 10 is also controversial because it's often been claimed that they tactically name a cross-section of studio films so they have as many different celebrities in attendance. Their choices are often eclectic, sometimes just bad, but often putting some films in high relief so they might get additional attention as the award season progresses (as Equipoise stated).

Here are the NBR Best Picture winners for the last 10 years, in bold (with the Oscar winner of that same year in italics):

Good Night and Good Luck / Crash
Finding Neverland / Million Dollar Baby
Mystic River / LOTR: The Return of the King
The Hours / Chicago
Moulin Rouge! / A Beautiful Mind
Quills / Gladiator
American Beauty / same
Gods and Monsters / Shakespeare in Love
L.A. Confidential / Titanic
Shine / The English Patient

Of these NBR winners, 8 out of 10 went on to become Best Picture Oscar nominees.

Equipoise
12-06-2006, 04:27 PM
Thanks for the info about the NBR, and for that list. I just read that Return of the King wasn't even on NBR's Top 10 list that year. Their track record for nominations is decent, wins, not so good. But it's all fun anyway.


Here are some more NBR results:

Top Five Foreign Films:
VOLVER

(and, in alphabetical order)

CURSE OF THE GOLDEN FLOWER

DAYS OF GLORY

PAN'S LABYRINTH

WATER


Top Five Documentary Films
AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH

(and, in alphabetical order)

51 BIRCH STREET

IRAQ IN FRAGMENTS

SHUT UP & SING

WORDPLAY


Top Independent Films
(in alphabetical order)

AKEELAH AND THE BEE

BOBBY

CATCH A FIRE

COPYING BEETHOVEN

A GUIDE TO RECOGNIZING YOUR SAINTS

HALF NELSON

THE ILLUSIONIST

LONESOME JIM

SHERRYBABY

10 ITEMS OR LESS

THANK YOU FOR SMOKING

MovieMogul
12-06-2006, 06:22 PM
I would be inclined to say that all the attention for Letters may also vault former nominee Ken Watanbe into the ranks of the Best Actor contenders (along with O'Toole, Whitaker, Di Caprio, Smith & Gosling).