National Board Of Review Names 'Hugo' Best Film, Martin Scorsese Best Director

Paramount’s Martin Scorsese film Hugo received a major shot in the arm for its Oscar hopes when the National Board of Review named it the 2011 Best Film of The Year and tapped Scorsese as Best Director. Today’s vote comes two days after the New York critics voted the Weinstein Co’s black-and-white silent pic The Artist as its top film and shut out Hugo altogether. “Hugo is such a personal film by Martin Scorsese,” said National Board president Annie Schulhof in a release announcing the winners. “It is a tribute to the early years of cinema that uses today’s cutting-edge technology to bring the audience into a completely unique and magical world. It is visually stunning and emotionally engaging.” The National Board also went with George Clooney (The Descendants) as Best Actor and Tilda Swinton (We Need To Talk About Kevin) as Best Actress, also different from the NYFCC, which went with Brad Pitt and Meryl Streep. Here’s the National Board’s full list:

Best Film: Hugo

Best Director: Martin Scorsese, Hugo

Best Actor: George Clooney, The Descendants

Best Actress: Tilda Swinton, We Need to Talk About Kevin

Best Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer, Beginners

Best Supporting Actress: Shailene Woodley, The Descendants

Best Original Screenplay: Will Reiser, 50/50

Best Adapted Screenplay: Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon & Jim Rash, The Descendants

Best Animated Feature: Rango

Breakthrough Performance: Felicity Jones, Like Crazy

Breakthrough Performance: Rooney Mara, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Debut Director: J.C. Chandor, Margin Call

Best Ensemble: The Help

Spotlight Award: Michael Fassbender (A Dangerous Method, Jane Eyre, Shame, X-Men: First Class)

NBR Freedom of Expression: Crime After Crime

NBR Freedom of Expression: Pariah

Best Foreign Language Film: A Separation

Best Documentary: Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory

Special Achievement in Filmmaking: The Harry Potter Franchise – A Distinguished Translation from Book to Film

Top Films
(in alphabetical order)
The Artist
The Descendants
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
The Ides of March
J. Edgar
Tree of Life
War Horse

Top 5 Foreign Language Films
(in Alphabetical Order)
13 Assassins
Elite Squad: The Enemy Within
Le Havre
Point Blank

Top 5 Documentaries
(in Alphabetical Order)
Born to be Wild
George Harrison: Living in the Material World
Project Nim

Top 10 Independent Films
(in Alphabetical Order)
Another Earth
A Better Life
Cedar Rapids
Margin Call
Take Shelter
We Need To Talk About Kevin
Win Win

    1. actually people need to stop whining about comedies NOT getting respect. two years ago “the hangover” received afi 10 best award, critics choice award AND golden globe best picture (comedy/musical).

      i just don’t think the two you mentioned are as beloved as the filmmakers and their studios would have you believe.

    2. Bridesmaids had a few good laughs and a great vomiting/bathroom scene…doesn’t come close to being a great film.

  1. Wow, first Jessica Chastain, now Shailene Woodley. Look out 2013 Oscars, Kim Kardashian is ripe for the picking.

    1. What exactly is your problem with Jessica Chastain ? She is classically trained (Juilliard), she has 5 (!) critically acclaimed performances this year, she has just wrapped her SECOND (!) film with Terrence Malick, and has already worked with actors like Helen Mirren, Ralph Fiennes, Vanessa Redgrave, Michael Shannon, Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, Al Pacino, although she only started features a few years ago.

      She DESERVED the NYFCC award and she DESERVES a lot more awards this season, not only because she had a stunning year, but because individually her performances are THAT great.

      Comparing Jessica Chastain to Kim Kardashian is like comparing Virginia Woolf to Stephenie Meyer.

      1. Uh, sorry Jessica’s team, not bitter- I just happen to think she’s incredibly overrated and not a particularly interesting or even good actress. We already have one Bryce Dallas Howard. Dot sure what the need for a new one is, especially when the original is no great shakes.

        1. I think she is remarkably talented to begin with, then add the top-notch classical training (Juilliard), the wonderfully cinematic face, and we might just have THE actress of her generation. You are entitled to your opinion…and we are entitled to ours. So let’s just agree to disagree ! But for the record, the range she delivered this year, speaks for itself…especially ‘The Help’, where she showed such remarkable range with such limited screentime, that I firmly believe she SHOULD win the supporting actress Oscar, or at least emerge as a very strong contender.

          1. Lewis — I am decidedly NOT here to rap either Miss Chastain or Juilliard. Still, as a viewer with strong links into the industry, I feel compelled to point out that: A.) any INDIVIDUAL actor graduating from one of the “so-called” top schools today should be judged solely on his or her talent and not on the training completed. For instance, the N.Y.U. undergrad program has not been exemplary these past several years, while the grad program is still considered to be good (that does not equate with excellent, remember). So, saying that an actor deserves heightened consideration for his or her degree from Juilliard or Yale Drama is, in my view, bogus. Very few schools, also, give the actor solid classical training anymore nor do they train them in the business of “the business”. Again, excellent classical training does not insure any actor a job, but he or she well may carve out a fine (and long)career in New York and regional theatre! and
            B.) If you think that the major awards (those given real credence in the industry) will place Miss Chastain into the supporting actress category over Olivia Spencer (for The Help), better think again. I thought Chastain was terrific in The Help, but in a head-to-head, Spencer will prevail.

            Another film sure to show up in many categories (not necessarily the acting ones, granted) is War Horse. It doesn’t even open until today! The supporting categories this year are also incredibly strong!

  2. I don’t get it…again…’Hugo’ as best film? Scorsese’s a great director and the movie was good, but best film? I must have seen a different version…b/c what I saw was a very good children’s film. But not one that will be remembered once it leaves theatres.

  3. Wow…no Midnight in Paris? No Moneyball? Ides of March and J. Egar were so-so and really do not belong on this list. I loved Hugo…but Best picture? This really shows what a weak for film 2011 was.

  4. I hope Hugo takes Best Film, Best Director, Cinematography, and Special Effects awards, along with Acting awards for Ben Kingsley and Sacha Baron Cohen. We went last night to a 3D showing and were blown away. What a spectacular tribute to the birth of filmmaking. The movie gives so much deference to the art of film and the legends of film that I’m surprised it’s not receiving more respect from Hollywood. This is the kind of film that will make the average moviegoer respect Hollywood films again. It’s a masterpiece rich in humility, heartwarming, and dedicated to lifting up the pioneers of film excellence. Loved the film and great to see such talented young actors bringing down the house and holding their own with the acting greats featured here.

  5. I think The Muppets deserve to be there over J. Edgar and Ides of March. (DEFINITELY Midnight in Paris and Bridesmaids was ok too)

      1. Amen to that! Also, Oscars going to undeserving performances, too! For me, perhaps the two prime examples of this were the Best Acting awards to John Wayne for True Grit and to Julie Christie for Darling! Convinced that I had to be wrong about the latter, I went to see that movie three times. I maintain to this day that there’s no way Christie should have won. One factor may have been that, at that particular time in film history, it seemed that the American critics awarded an automatic 50 of a possible 100 points if the movie “made it across the pond”!
        Then, to award Wayne’s performance over Jon Voigt’s in Midnight Cowboy … gross injustice! Elizabeth Taylor for Butterfield 8? I think not … but it seemed to be a consolation prize for her having lost for prior very fine work. Garland not winning for A Star Is Born? Genevieve Page and Shirley MacLaine not winning more than once in all those nominations? Kirk Douglas not winning? AND, perhaps the two worst “overlookings”: no supporting awards to either Agnes Moorehead or Thelma Ritter! Hey, this list can go on for reams!

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