Next Oscar season already has one noteworthy date on the books. The National Board of Review has reserved January 8, 2019, for its annual film awards gala in New York.
As it has for more than a decade, the event will be held at Cipriani 42nd Street. Willie Geist, host of NBC’s Sunday Today and co-host of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, will return for a fifth straight year as host. NBR President Annie Schulhof said Geist’s “continual support of the NBR as well as his passion for film make him the perfect choice to lead us through what is always an incredible evening.”
The NBR doesn’t hand out any prizes for technical or craft feats, focusing instead on acting, screenplay, directing and best picture, as well as giving select honors for overall excellence. Last January, The Post was named Best Film of the Year, with its co-stars Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep winning Best Actor and Best Actress.
Those awards had no correlation with the eventual Oscar winners two months later, though Jordan Peele took the Best Directorial Debut award from NBR, presaging his Oscar screenplay win.
The 108-year-old NBR has been handing out film awards since 1929, the same year as the first Academy Awards ceremony. The organization convenes a group of people it describes as “film enthusiasts, filmmakers, professionals and academics of varying ages and backgrounds” to watch more than 250 current films. After discussions with directors, actors, producers and writers, the group announces its selections in early December. With the winners known going in, the January gala doesn’t bring a high degree of suspense. But because the event is not televised and held in Manhattan, it usually produces a strong turnout and yields memorable speeches and displays of camaraderie among filmmakers and actors.