2014 National Board of Review Awards Winners

The National Board of Review (NBR) Awards are significant in being among the first of the major critics' awards to be handed out over the next few months. They are often a bellwether for the year's Academy Award-nominated selections. This year the NBR screened over 272 films including studio, independent, foreign-language, animated, and documentary selections.

2014's Best Film honor goes to J.C. Chandor's A Most Violent Year, which also picked up awards for Best Actor (Oscar Isaac) and Best Supporting Actress (Jessica Chastain). "A Most Violent Year is an exhilarating crime drama with a compelling story, outstanding performances, and an elegant cinematic style," said NBR President Annie Schulhof. "J.C. Chandor has given us a new and provocative perspective on the American Dream."

I'm especially happy to see a number of of my film festival favorites among the honorees. Julianne Moore took home the Best Actress award for Still Alice, one of my Toronto International Film Festival Top 10. The NBR also selected it as one of the year's Top 10 Independent Films. Starred Up was also among the NBR's Top 10 Independent Films, with star Jack O'Connell given the Breakthrough Performance award (also for his work in Unbroken). That film was actually one of my favorites from the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival. Several other films which are among my year's favorites made NBR's Top 10 Films of 2014, including Boyhood, Gone Girl, and Fury (which also won Best Ensemble).

The NBR was founded as a clearing house for new movies, over a hundred years ago on January 25, 1909, just 13 years after the birth of cinema. Its stated purpose was to endorse films of merit and champion the new "art of the people," which was transforming America’s cultural life. Today, the organization is comprised of 110 members, many of whom are past recipients of the NBR student grant program which enables students and young filmmakers to finish their projects and exhibit their work.

The annual Awards Gala, which also acts as a fundraiser for student grant philanthropy, will be hosted by Lara Spencer on January 6, 2015 at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York City.

Here are the 2014 honorees:

Best Film:  A Most Violent Year

Best Director:  Clint Eastwood – American Sniper

Best Actor (TIE):  Oscar Isaac – A Most Violent Year; Michael Keaton – Birdman

Best Actress: Julianne Moore – Still Alice

Best Supporting Actor:  Edward Norton – Birdman

Best Supporting Actress:  Jessica Chastain – A Most Violent Year

Best Original Screenplay:  Phil Lord & Christopher Miller – The Lego Movie

Best Adapted Screenplay:  Paul Thomas Anderson – Inherent Vice

Best Animated Feature:  How to Train Your Dragon 2

Breakthrough Performance:  Jack O’Connell – Starred Up & Unbroken

Best Directorial Debut:  Gillian Robespierre – Obvious Child

Best Foreign Language Film:  Wild Tales

Best Documentary:  Life Itself

William K. Everson Film History Award:  Scott Eyman

Best Ensemble:  Fury

Spotlight Award:  Chris Rock for writing, directing, and starring in – Top Five

NBR Freedom of Expression Award:  Rosewater

NBR Freedom of Expression Award:  Selma

Top Films
American Sniper
Birdman
Boyhood
Fury
Gone Girl
The Imitation Game
Inherent Vice
The Lego Movie
Nightcrawler
Unbroken

Top 5 Foreign Language Films
Force Majeure
Gett: The Trial of Vivian Amsalem
Leviathan
Two Days, One Night
We Are the Best!

Top 5 Documentaries
Art and Craft
Jodorowsky’s Dune
Keep On Keepin’ On
The Kill Team
Last Days in Vietnam

Top 10 Independent Films
Blue Ruin
Locke
A Most Wanted Man
Mr. Turner
Obvious Child
The Skeleton Twins
Snowpiercer
Stand Clear of the Closing Doors
Starred Up
Still Alice



Author

Larry Richman

Larry Richman

For 20 years I was a professional in the entertainment industry, from commercial broadcast radio in America's fourth largest market to band management to record production. But my passion is independent film, and I spend much of the year traveling to film festivals to see indies and meet the actors, directors, and others responsible for creating them. I'm a writer, photographer, and videographer, currently serving as Senior Vice President for Media & Technology and Public Relations at PROnetworks as well as Editor at Larry411.com

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