Matt Damon praised Sylvester Stallone’s moxie, Robert De Niro praised Matt Damon’s abs and Stallone outdid them both by shouting “Yo, Adrian” in his best Rocky mumble, but nine-year-old newcomer Jacob Tremblay of Room won the night at the National Board of Review’s 2015 awards presentation in New York Tuesday. Composed beyond reason, the kid, who shared a Best Breakthrough Award with Abraham Attah (Beasts of No Nation) thanked his agents (“I think we make a great team”) before pausing to take in the room and closing with a perfectly delivered “The mind…of me…right now…is so blown.”
Since the awards were previously announced, surprises were nil, but this early entry in the awards season drew its typically high-powered turnout. Harvey Weinstein schmoozed with Damon, Kristen Stewart shared a table with Maggie Gyllenhaal and Peter Sarsgaard, and Samuel L. Jackson responded onstage to his recent Twitter feud with Donald Trump with a blunt “I’d say f**k him but this is a polite crowd.”
Damon, who’d been introduced by De Niro (“There’s something about the gravity on Mars that makes you appear totally ripped”), accepted the Best Actor award for The Martian by noting that his last NBR win was 18 years ago for writing Good Will Hunting. He took the opportunity to thank Stallone for setting the writer/actor precedent with Rocky.
Stallone, in turn, praised his Creed director Ryan Coogler, who’d never directed a film when he pitched Stallone on a Rocky sequel. “You are the future,” Stallone said in his acceptance speech, “and I’m the past. (You’re) what I want to be when I come back in the next life.”
As previously announced, Mad Max: Fury Road was named Best Picture, Brie Larson was Best Actress for Room and Ridley Scott was Best Director for The Martian. Here’s the complete list of winners.