Killers of the Flower Moon

‘The Holdovers,’ ‘The Iron Claw” and ‘Poor Things’ have strong showings with the awards season table setter

“Killers of the Flower Moon” has been named best picture by the National Board of Review, the organization announced on Wednesday.

Co-distributed by Apple Original Films and Paramount Pictures, the crime epic also nabbed prizes for director Martin Scorsese and actress Lily Gladstone. Scorsese’s win for directing is notable, as he is now tied with legendary filmmaker David Lean with four wins, the most of any director in NBR history. Interestingly, NBR has the least translation to an Oscar winner of all the major categories, the last being Scorsese for “The Departed” (2006).

Over the last 30 years, the winner of NBR’s best film has typically gone on to receive an Oscar nomination for best picture, except for once every decade — 2014’s “A Most Violent Year,” 2000’s “Quills” and 1998’s “Gods and Monsters.” In the 1980s, there were technically two misses with 1987’s “Empire of the Sun” and 1983’s “Betrayal,” which tied with “Terms of Endearment.”

NBR’s most recent best film selections have inspired choices such as Spike Jonze’s “Her” (2013), George Miller’s “Mad Max: Fury Road” (2015) and last year’s blockbuster Tom Cruise-led sequel “Top Gun: Maverick” from Joseph Kosinski.

Read: Variety’s Awards Circuit for the latest Oscars predictions in all categories.

The big acting winners included Paul Giamatti taking the best actor prize for “The Holdovers.” Two NBR best actor winners in the last decade have translated to Oscar winners — Casey Affleck for “Manchester by the Sea” (2016) and Will Smith for “King Richard” (2021). For NBR winners becoming eventual nominees, only three men have been snubbed by the Academy — Oscar Isaac for “A Most Violent Year” (2014), Tom Hanks for “The Post” (2017) and Adam Sandler for “Uncut Gems” (2019).

Gladstone’s big lead actress prize for “Killers” follows wins at the New York Film Critics Association. The awards have shown more precedents for women as three NBR lead actress recipients have moved onto the Dolby Theatre stage — Brie Larson in “Room” (2015), Renée Zellweger in “Judy” (2019) and last year’s winner Michelle Yeoh from “Everything Everywhere All at Once.” For nominees, four have missed out on an Oscar mention in the last dozen years — Lesley Manville for “Another Year” (2010), Tilda Swinton for “We Need to Talk About Kevin” (2011), Emma Thompson for “Saving Mr. Banks” (2013) and Rachel Zegler for “West Side Story.”

The supporting categories went to Mark Ruffalo for his turn as a slick lawyer in “Poor Things” and Da’Vine Joy Randolph as a cafeteria worker and grieving mother in Alexander Payne’s “The Holdovers.” Coincidentally, their movies took both screenplay prizes.

The last two times all four NBR acting winners received Oscar noms were in 2020 and 2009.

The non-profit organization, which encompasses film enthusiasts from New York City as well as critics, academics and consumer members, also named its top 10 movies of the year. Unsurprising, the list included movies such as “Barbie,” “Maestro” and “Oppenheimer,” which bode well for each of their awards campaigns. One surprising inclusion was Hayao Miyazaki’s animated entry “The Boy and the Heron.” Interesting, Miyazaki didn’t take home the animated prize — instead, it went to Sony Pictures’ blockbuster sequel “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse.”

Sean Durkin’s dour but powerful drama “The Iron Claw” also showed up in the top 10 films of the year, and triumphed as the best ensemble of 2023.

Some of the notable omissions include Cord Jefferson’s dramedy “American Fiction,” Ava DuVernay’s “Origin” and Blitz Bazawule’s “The Color Purple” — all films that explore the Black experience.

But don’t write those movies off — take “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” (2003) and Guillermo del Toro’s “The Shape of Water,” which failed to make NBR’s top 10 lists. Both went on to win best picture at the Oscars.

The honorees will be feted at the NBR Awards Gala, hosted by Willie Geist (Host, NBC News’ Sunday TODAY with Willie Geist and co-host, MSNBC’s Morning Joe) on Jan. 11 at Cipriani 42nd Street, in New York City.

See the full list of winners below.

Best Film: “Killers of the Flower Moon” (Apple Original Films/Paramount Pictures)

Best DirectorMartin Scorsese — “Killers of the Flower Moon” (Apple Original Films/Paramount Pictures)

Best ActorPaul Giamatti, “The Holdovers” (Focus Features)

Best ActressLily Gladstone, “Killers of the Flower Moon” (Apple Original Films/Paramount Pictures)

Best Supporting ActorMark Ruffalo, “Poor Things” (Searchlight Pictures)

Best Supporting ActressDa’Vine Joy Randolph, “The Holdovers” (Focus Features)

NBR Icon Award: Bradley Cooper

Best Original Screenplay“The Holdovers” (Focus Features) — David Hemingson

Best Adapted Screenplay“Poor Things” (Searchlight Pictures) — Tony McNamara

Breakthrough PerformanceTeyana Taylor, “A Thousand and One” (Focus Features)

Best Directorial Debut: Celine Song, “Past Lives” (A24)

Best Animated Feature: “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” (Sony Pictures)

Best International Film“Anatomy of a Fall” (Neon)

Best Documentary“Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie” (Apple Original Films)

Best Ensemble“The Iron Claw” (A24)

Outstanding Achievement in Stunt Artistry: Director Chad Stahelski and Stunt Coordinators Stephen Dunlevy & Scott Rogers, “John Wick: Chapter 4” (Lionsgate)

Outstanding Achievement in CinematographyRodrigo Prieto, “Barbie” (Warner Bros.) and “Killers of the Flower Moon” (Apple Original Films/Paramount Pictures)

NBR Freedom of Expression Awards:

Top Films (in alphabetical order):

  • “Barbie”
  • “The Boy and the Heron”
  • “Ferrari”
  • “The Holdovers”
  • “The Iron Claw”
  • “Maestro”
  • “Oppenheimer”
  • “Past Lives”
  • “Poor Things”

Top 5 International Films (in alphabetical order):

  • “La Chimera” (Neon)
  • “Fallen Leaves” (Mubi)
  • “The Teachers’ Lounge” (Sony Pictures Classics)
  • Tótem
  • “The Zone of Interest” (A24)

Top 5 Documentaries (in alphabetical order):

  • 20 Days in Mariupol
  • 32 Sounds
  • The Eternal Memory
  • The Pigeon Tunnel
  • A Still Small Voice

Top 10 Independent Films (in alphabetical order):

  • All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt
  • All of Us Strangers
  • BlackBerry
  • Earth Mama
  • Flora and Son
  • The Persian Version
  • Scrapper
  • Showing Up
  • Theater Camp
  • A Thousand and One

Reference

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