National Board of Review Names ‘The Irishman’ the Year’s Best Film

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The National Board of Review has named Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman” the best film of 2019. Scorsese and two of the film’s stars, Robert De Niro and Al Pacino, will also receive the organization’s inaugural Icon Award.

The NBR’s Top 10 list consisted of “1917,” “Dolemite Is My Name,” “Ford v Ferrari,” “Jojo Rabbit,” “Knives Out,” “Marriage Story,” “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood,” “Richard Jewell,” “Uncut Gems” and “Waves.”

Quentin Tarantino was named the year’s best director for “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood,” while Melina Matsoukas won the Best Directorial Debut award for “Queen & Slim.”

Also Read: ‘The Irishman’ Re-Review: Does Martin Scorsese’s Epic Feature Play Better on the Small Screen?

Acting awards went to Adam Sandler for “Uncut Gems,” Renee Zellweger for “Judy,” Brad Pitt for “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood” and Kathy Bates for “Richard Jewell.” That latter film’s star, Paul Walter Hauser, won the Breakthrough Performance award.

“Parasite” was named the year’s best foreign-language film, “Maiden” the best documentary and “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” the best animated feature.

Presumed Oscar contenders missing from the NBR list included “The Two Popes,” “Little Women,” “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” “Joker” and “The Farewell” (which did appear on the list of best independent films), while the list gave a boost to “Dolemite Is My Name,” “Knives Out,” “Richard Jewell” and particularly Adam Sandler and “Uncut Gems.”

Also Read: ‘Marriage Story’ Dominates Gotham Awards 2019: The Complete Winners List

The organization’s love affair with Scorsese extended to the point where it put “Rolling Thunder: A Bob Dylan Film by Martin Scorsese” on its list of the year’s best documentaries, even though the film is a largely fictionalized chronicle that uses the documentary form to bend the truth.

Last year, the NBR had only four of the eight Oscar Best Picture nominees on its Top 10 list, missing “BlacKkKlansman,” “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “The Favourite” and “Vice.”

But it did match the Academy on “Black Panther,” “Roma” and “A Star Is Born” – and its choice for the year’s best film, “Green Book,” went on to win the Oscar for Best Picture. It was the first time in a decade, since “Slumdog Millionaire” in 2008, that the NBR had chosen the eventual Best Picture winner.

Also Read: ‘The Irishman’ Film Review: Martin Scorsese’s Gangster Epic Is Melancholic and Bittersweet

Over the last 10 years, a little over half of the films on the NBR list have ended up with Best Picture nominations. But only one NBR winner in the last 18 years, 2014’s “A Most Violent Year,” failed to land an Oscar nomination for Best Picture.

While the National Board of Review is often mistakenly considered a critics’ organization, the group is made up of, in its own words, “knowledgeable film enthusiasts and professionals, academics, young filmmakers and students” in the New York area. Much of its relatively high profile comes from the fact that it is one of the first groups to pick the year’s best films. (The more prestigious New York Film Critics Circle will make its own picks on Wednesday, as will the American Film Institute.)

The NBR was established in 1909 by theater owners protesting the New York mayor’s attempt to block the exhibition of motion pictures in the city. It has been picking the best films since 1930.

The winners will be recognized at the NBR Awards Gala on Jan. 8, 2020, at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York City.

The winners:

Best Film: “The Irishman”
Best Director: Quentin Tarantino, “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood”
Best Actor: Adam Sandler, “Uncut Gems”
Best Actress: Renée Zellweger, “Judy”
Best Supporting Actor: Brad Pitt, “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood”
Best Supporting Actress: Kathy Bates, “Richard Jewell”
Best Original Screenplay: Josh Safdie, Benny Safdie, Ronald Bronstein, “Uncut Gems”
Best Adapted Screenplay: Steven Zaillian, “The Irishman”
Breakthrough Performance: Paul Walter Hauser, “Richard Jewell”
Best Directorial Debut: Melina Matsoukas, “Queen & Slim”
Best Animated Feature: “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World”
Best Foreign Language Film: “Parasite”
Best Documentary: “Maiden”
Best Ensemble: “Knives Out”
Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography: Roger Deakins, “1917”
NBR Icon Award: Martin Scorsese, Robert De Niro, Al Pacino
NBR Freedom of Expression Award: “For Sama”
NBR Freedom of Expression Award: “Just Mercy”

Top 10 Films (in alphabetical order)
“Dolemite is My Name”
“Ford v Ferrari”
“Jojo Rabbit”
“Knives Out”
“Marriage Story”
“1917”
“Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood”
“Richard Jewell”
“Uncut Gems”
“Waves”

Top 5 Foreign Language Films (in alphabetical order)
“Atlantics”
“Invisible Life”
“Pain and Glory”
“Portrait of a Lady on Fire”
“Transit”

Top 5 Documentaries (in alphabetical order)
“American Factory”
“Apollo 11”
“The Black Godfather”
“Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese”
“Wrestle”

Top 10 Independent Films (in alphabetical order)
“The Farewell”
“Give Me Liberty”
“A Hidden Life”
“Judy”
“The Last Black Man in San Francisco”
“Midsommar”
“The Nightingale”
“The Peanut Butter Falcon”
“The Souvenir”
“Wild Rose”

Read original story National Board of Review Names ‘The Irishman’ the Year’s Best Film At TheWrap

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