Film Review: The Panic In The Needle Park (dir by Jerry Schatzberg)


The 1971 The Panic in Needle Park tells the story of two young lover in New York City.

Helen (Kitty Winn) is an innocent runaway from Indiana who, when we first meet her, has just had a back alley abortion.  Her boyfriend, Marco (Raul Julia), doesn’t seem to be too concerned about her or anyone else for that matter.  Instead, it’s Marco’s dealer, Bobby (Al Pacino), who checks in on Helen and who visits her when she eventually ends up in the hospital.  It’s also Bobby who gives her a place to stay after she gets out of the hospital.

Bobby is a small-time dealer.  He’s not book smart but he knows how to survive on the streets and it’s hard not to be charmed by him.  He literally never stop talking.  As he explains it to Helen, he’s been in jail 8 times but he’s not a bad guy.  His brother, Hank (Richard Bright, who also co-starred with Pacino in The Godfather films), is a burglar and he legitimately is a bad guy but he and Bobby seem to have a close relationship.  Bobby also swears that he’s not a drug addict.  He just occasionally indulges.  It doesn’t take long to discover that Bobby isn’t being completely honest with either Helen or himself.

Together, Bobby and Helen ….

Well, they don’t solve crimes.  In fact, they really don’t do much of anything.  That’s kind of the problem with movies about drug addicts.  For the most part, drug addicts are boring people and there’s only so many times that you can watch someone shoot up before you lose interest.  Heroin may make the addicts feel alive but, with a few notable exception (Trainspotting comes to mind), it’s always been a bit of a cinematic dead end.  The film takes a documentary approach to Bobby and Helen’s descent into addiction and it’s not exactly the most thrilling thing to watch.

Bobby and Helen live in an area of New York that’s known as needle park, largely due to the fact that it’s full of addicts.  It’s a place where people sit on street corners and nod off and where everyone’s life is apparently fueled by petty crime.  An unlikable narcotics detective (Alan Vint) occasionally walks through the area and tries to talk everyone into betraying everyone else.  It turns out that being a drug addict is not like being in the mafia.  Everyone expects you to betray everyone else.

As I said, it’s a bit of a drag to watch but you do end up caring about Bobby and Helen.  They come across as being two essentially decent people who have gotten caught up in a terrible situation.  Even when they piss you off, you still feel badly for them because you know that they’ve surrendered control of their lives to their addictions.  It helps that they’re played by two very appealing actors.  This was only Al Pacino’s second film and his first starring role but he commands the screen like a junkie James Cagney.  Meanwhile, making her film debut, Kitty Winn gives a sympathetic and likable performance as Helen.  You watch Winn’s vulnerably sincere performance and you understand why Helen would have looked for safety with undeserving losers like Marco and Bobby and, as a result, you don’t hold it against her that she seems to be addicted not just to heroin but also to falling for the wrong men.  Helen does a lot of stupid things but you keep hoping that she’ll somehow manage to survive living in needle park.

Pacino, of course, followed-up The Panic In Needle Park with The Godfather.  As for Kitty Win, she won best actress at Cannes but the role didn’t lead to the stardom that it probably should have.  Her best-known role remains playing the nanny in The Exorcist.

Scenes That I Love: Michael Gets Revenge on Sollozzo in The Godfather (Happy birthday, Al Pacino!)


Since today is Al Pacino’s birthday, it only seems right to share a classic scene from The Godfather.

In the scene below, which is perfectly directed by Francis Ford Coppola, Michael proves that he truly is a Corleone.  Am I the only one who yelled, “Don’t forget to drop the gun!,” the first time that I saw this scene?

Amazingly enough, Coppola had to fight to cast Al Pacino as Michael.  The studio wanted him to go with a big star and Pacino had only made two previous films.  (Pacino was also felt to be too short and, oddly, too “Italian-looking” to play the role.)  The studio wanted Coppola to cast Robert Redford, Ryan O’Neal, Jack Nicholson, James Caan, or maybe even Warren Beatty in the role.  Fortunately, both Coppola and Marlon Brando fought for Pacino.  As Brando explained it, any son of his was going to be a brooder and that description fit Pacino perfectly.

Happy birthday, Al Pacino!  Here’s to many happy returns!

Here’s The Super Bowl Spot For Hunters!


Hunters is a show that I’m very much looking forward to.  Al Pacino hunting down Nazi war criminals?  Seriously, how can you not want to see that?  Here’s the Super Bowl spot for Hunters, which is definitely intriguing.  I like the contrast between the placid surface of suburbia and the truth lurking right underneath the surface.

The first episode of Hunters will drop on February 21st!

Any Given Sunday (1999, directed by Oliver Stone)


With Any Given Sunday, Oliver Stone set out to make the ultimate football movie and he succeeded.

Any Given Sunday is not just the story of aging coach Tony D’Amato (Al Pacino).  It’s also the story of how third-string quarterback Willie Beamon (Jamie Foxx) allows celebrity to go to his head while the injured starter, Cap Rooney (Dennis Quaid), deals with his own mortality and how, at 38, he is now over-the-hill.  It’s also about how the team doctors (represented by James Woods and Matthew Modine) are complicit in pushing the players beyond their limits and how the owners (Cameron Diaz) view those players as a commodity to be traded and toyed with.  It’s about how the Sharks represent their home city of Miami and how cynical columnists (John C. McGinley plays a character that is obviously meant to be Jim Rome) deliberately set out to inflame the anger of the team’s fans.  It’s about how politicians (Clifton Davis plays Miami’s mayor and asks everyone to “give me some love”) use professional sports to further their own corrupt careers while the often immature men who play the game are elevated into role models by the press.  It’s a film that compares football players to ancient gladiators while also showing how the game has become big business.  In typical Oliver Stone fashion, it tries to take on every aspect of football while also saying something about America as well.

In the role on Tony D, Pacino famously describes football as being “a game of inches” but you wouldn’t always know it from the way that Oliver Stone directs Any Given Sunday.  As a director, Stone has never been one to only gain an inch when he could instead grab an entire mile.  (Stone is probably the type of Madden player who attempts to have his quarterback go back and throw a hail mary on every single play.)  Tony tells his players to be methodical but Stone directs in a fashion that is sloppy, self-indulgent, and always entertaining to watch.  One minute, Al Pacino and Jim Brown are talking about how much the game has changed and the next minute, LL Cool J is doing cocaine off of a groupie’s breast while images of turn-of-the-century football players flash on the screen.  No sooner has Jamie Foxx delivered an impassioned speech about the lack of black coaches in the league then he’s suddenly starring in his own music video and singing about how “Steamin’ Willie Beamon” leaves all the ladies “creamin’.”  (It rhymes, that’s the important thing.)  When Tony invites Willie over to his house, scenes of Charlton Heston in Ben-Hur are on TV.  Later in the movie, Heston shows up as the Commissioner and says, about Cameron Diaz, “she would eat her young.”

Any Given Sunday is Oliver Stone at both his best and his worst.  The script is overwritten and overstuffed with every possible sports cliché  but the football scenes are some of the most exciting that have ever been filmed.  Only Oliver Stone could get away with both opening the film with a quote from Vince Lombardi and then having a player literally lose an eye during the big game.  Stone himself appears in the commentator’s both, saying, “I think he may have hurt his eye,” while the doctor’s in the end zone scoop up the the torn out eyeball and put it into a plastic bag.  Only Stone could get away with Jamie Foxx vomiting on the field during every game and then making amazing plays while a combination of rap, heavy metal, and techno roars in the background.  Stone regulars like James Woods and John C. McGinely make valuable appearances and while Woods may be playing a villain, he’s the only person in the film willing to call out the coaches, the players, the owners, and the fans at home as being a bunch of hypocrites.  Stone’s direction is as hyper-kinetic as always but he still has no fear of stopping the action so that Foxx can see sepia-toned images of football’s past staring at him from the stands.  Stone directs like defensive lineman on steroids, barreling his way through every obstacle to take down his target.  No matter what, the game goes on.

Any Given Sunday is the ultimate football movie and more fun than the last ten super bowls combined.

Lisa Marie’s Oscar Predictions For December


Well, here we go!

This is my last set of Oscar predictions for the year.  With the critics groups and some of the guilds having now announced their picks for the best of 2019, the Oscar picture is now a lot more clear.  Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, Parasite, The Irishman, 1917, and Marriage Story all seem to be guaranteed to pick up a nomination.    

I am going to go out on a limb and predict that, despite being ignored at SAG and by the Golden Globes, Uncut Gems will get some nominations as well.  Right now, the film just seems to have momentum on its side.  Realistically, I’m not a 100% convinced that it’ll be nominated, not the way I am with some other films.  It’s divisive film and I’m sure that some people think that rewarding Adam Sandler will just lead to him using his newfound respect to get a theatrical release for the next Grown Ups sequel.  But I’m going to take a chance and go with it.

(Of course, Nightcrawler and Jake Gyllenhaal also had a lot of momentum a few years ago and ended up getting totally shut out of the Oscars.)

Below are my predictions for December.  If you want to see how my thinking has evolved, be sure to check out my predictions for January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, and November!

Best Picture

1917

Bombshell

The Irishman

JoJo Rabbit

Little Women

Marriage Story

Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

Parasite

Uncut Gems

Best Director

Bong Joon-ho for Parasite

Sam Mendes for 1917

The Safdie Brothers for Uncut Gems

Martin Scorsese for The Irishman

Quentin Tarantino for Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

Best Actor

Leonardo DiCaprio for Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

Adam Driver for Marriage Story

Taron Egerton for Rocketman

Joaquin Phoenix for Joker

Adam Sandler for Uncut Gems

Best Actress

Scarlett Johansson for Marriage Story

Luptia Nyong’o for Us

Saoirse Ronan for Little Women

Charlize Theron for Bombshell

Renee Zellweger for Judy

Best Supporting Actor

Willem DaFoe in The Lighthouse

Tom Hanks in A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood

Al Pacino for The Irishman

Joe Pesci for The Irishman

Brad Pitt for Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

Best Supporting Actress

Laura Dern in Marriage Story

Scarlett Johansson in JoJo Rabbit

Jennifer Lopez in Hustlers

Florence Pugh in Little Women

Margot Robbie in Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

 

The Oscar nominations will be announced on January 13th!

Happy New Year, everyone!

Oscar, in happier times

The Dallas-Ft. Worth Film Critics Association Names 1917 As The Best of 2019!


Reunion Tower (picture by Erin Nicole)

Here are the winners in Dallas!

BEST PICTURE

Winner: 1917

Runners-up: MARRIAGE STORY (2); PARASITE (3); THE IRISHMAN (4); ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD (5); JOJO RABBIT (6); LITTLE WOMEN (7); THE FAREWELL (8); THE TWO POPES (9); KNIVES OUT (10)

BEST ACTOR

Winner: Adam Driver, MARRIAGE STORY

Runners-up: Joaquin Phoenix, JOKER (2); Antonio Banderas, PAIN AND GLORY (3); Leonardo DiCaprio, ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD (4); Robert De Niro, THE IRISHMAN (5)

BEST ACTRESS

Winner: Scarlett Johansson, MARRIAGE STORY

Runners-up: Renée Zellweger, JUDY (2); Charlize Theron, BOMBSHELL (3); Saoirse Ronan, LITTLE WOMEN (4); Awkwafina, THE FAREWELL (5, tie); Lupita Nyong’o, US (5, tie)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Winner: Brad Pitt, ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD

Runners-up: Willem Dafoe, THE LIGHTHOUSE (2); Joe Pesci, THE IRISHMAN (3); Al Pacino, THE IRISHMAN (4); Shia LaBeouf, HONEY BOY (5)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Winner: Laura Dern, MARRIAGE STORY

Runners-up: Margot Robbie, BOMBSHELL (2); Florence Pugh, LITTLE WOMEN (3); Jennifer Lopez, HUSTLERS (4); Annette Bening, THE REPORT (5)

BEST DIRECTOR

Winner: Sam Mendes, 1917

Runners-up: Bong Joon-ho, PARASITE (2); Martin Scorsese, THE IRISHMAN (3); Quentin Tarantino, ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD (4); Noah Baumbach, MARRIAGE STORY (5)

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

Winner: PARASITE

Runners-up: PAIN AND GLORY (2); THE FAREWELL (3); LES MISÉRABLES (4); PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE (5)

BEST DOCUMENTARY

Winner: APOLLO 11

Runners-up: ONE CHILD NATION (2); AMERICAN FACTORY (3); HONEYLAND (4); FOR SAMA (5)

BEST ANIMATED FILM

Winner: TOY STORY 4

Runner-up: I LOST MY BODY

BEST SCREENPLAY

Winner: Noah Baumbach, MARRIAGE STORY

Runner-up: Steven Zaillian, THE IRISHMAN

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

Winner: Roger Deakins, 1917

Runner-up: Hong Kyung-pyo, PARASITE

BEST MUSICAL SCORE

Winner: Thomas Newman, 1917

Runner-up: Alexandre Desplat, LITTLE WOMEN

RUSSELL SMITH AWARD (best low-budget or cutting-edge independent film)

Winner: THE LIGHTHOUSE

The North Texas Film Critics Association Selects The Irishman As The Best of 2019!


The North Texas Film Critics Association announced their picks for the best of 2019 earlier today.  Speaking as a North Texas film critic, I’m a bit annoyed that I wasn’t consulted but oh well!  (To quote King of the Hill, “North Texas?  More like South Oklahoma!”)  Here are their winners:

BEST FILM

Winner: THE IRISHMAN

Runners-up: 1917; PARASITE; THE FAREWELL; MARRIAGE STORY; JOJO RABBIT; THE PEANUT BUTTER FALCON; A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD; ONCE UPON A TIME…IN HOLLYWOOD; FORD V FERRARI; JOKER

BEST ACTOR

Winner: Joaquin Phoenix, JOKER

Runners-up: Robert De Niro, THE IRISHMAN; Adam Driver, MARRIAGE STORY; Adam Sandler, UNCUT GEMS and Leonardo DiCaprio, ONCE UPON A TIME…IN HOLLYWOOD

BEST ACTRESS

Winner: Charlize Theron, BOMBSHELL

Runners-up: Scarlett Johansson, MARRIAGE STORY; Renée Zellweger, JUDY; Awkwafina, THE FAREWELL and Lupita Nyong’o, US

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Winner: Tom Hanks, A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD

Runners-up: Joe Pesci, THE IRISHMAN; Brad Pitt, ONCE UPON A TIME…IN HOLLYWOOD; Al Pacino, THE IRISHMAN and Song Kang-Ho, PARASITE

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Winner: Zhao Shuzhen, THE FAREWELL

Runners-up: Laura Dern, MARRIAGE STORY; Scarlett Johansson, JOJO RABBIT; Kathy Bates, RICHARD JEWELL and Annette Bening, THE REPORT

BEST DIRECTOR

Winner: Sam Mendes, 1917

Runners-up: Martin Scorsese, THE IRISHMAN; Quentin Tarantino, ONCE UPON A TIME…IN HOLLYWOOD; Noah Baumbach, MARRIAGE STORY and Lulu Wang, THE FAREWELL

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

Winner: PARASITE (South Korea)

Runners-up: PAIN AND GLORY (Spain) and LES MISÉRABLES (France)

BEST DOCUMENTARY

Winner: APOLLO 11

Runners-up: AMERICAN FACTORY; ONE CHILD NATION; DAVID CROSBY: REMEMBER MY NAME and ROLLING THUNDER REVUE: A BOB DYLAN STORY

BEST ANIMATED FILM

Winner: TOY STORY 4

Runners-up: ABOMINABLE and HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON: THE HIDDEN WORLD

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

Winner: Roger Deakins, 1917,

Runner-ups: Jarin Blaschke, THE LIGHTHOUSE; Rodrigo Prieto, THE IRISHMAN; Hoyte Van Hoytema, AD ASTRA; Robert Richardson, ONCE UPON A TIME…IN HOLLYWOOD and Phedon Papamichael, FORD V FERRARI

BEST NEWCOMER

Winner: Roman Griffin Davis was awarded Best Newcomer for JOJO RABBIT

GARY MURRAY AWARD (Best Ensemble)

Winner: KNIVES OUT

Here Are The SAG Nominations!


The SAG nominations were announced this morning.

For those of you keeping track of precursors and using them to shape your own predictions, the SAG nominations are usually a pretty big deal.  It’s rare that every film that gets a best ensemble nomination also gets a best picture nominations.  (In the past, The Big Sick, Trumbo, and Beasts of No Nation all got ensemble noms without also getting a best picture nomination.)  But, at the same time, the SAG is full of Academy members (the Actor’s Division is the largest part of the Academy) so their nominations are definitely a good sign of the way the winds are blowing.

So, a look at the nominations below — very bad news for Adam Sandler.  I have a hard time seeing how he can get an Oscar nomination without also a Golden Globe or SAG nomination.  Good news for Christian Bale, who is rapidly becoming the male Meryl Streep as far as automatic nominations are concerned.  Good news for Bombshell.  Good news for me, because I predicted that the liberals in Hollywood would embrace Bombshell for the same reason that they embraced films like Vice and The Big Short (i,e., “honoring Jay Roach and Adam McKay movies to own the cons”).  Potentially bad news for Kathy Bates, who received a Golden Globe nomination for her performance in Richard Jewell but not one from SAG.  Bad news for 1917, which was totally rejected by the SAG.  Potentially good news for Joker, which may have missed out on Ensemble but still picked up nominations for Joaquin Phoenix and the stunts crew.

Anyway, here are the SAG film nominees:

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role:

Christian Bale (“Ford v Ferrari”)
Leonardo DiCaprio (“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”)
Adam Driver (“Marriage Story”)
Taron Egerton (“Rocketman”)
Joaquin Phoenix (“Joker”)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role:

Cynthia Erivo (“Harriet”)
Scarlett Johansson (“Marriage Story”)
Lupita Nyong’o (“Us”)
Charlize Theron (“Bombshell”)
Renée Zellweger (“Judy”)

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role:

Jamie Foxx (“Just Mercy”)
Tom Hanks (“A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”)
Al Pacino (“The Irishman”)
Joe Pesci (“The Irishman”)
Brad Pitt (“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role:

Laura Dern (“Marriage Story”)
Scarlett Johansson (“Jojo Rabbit”)
Nicole Kidman (“Bombshell”)
Jennifer Lopez (“Hustlers”)
Margot Robbie (“Bombshell”)

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture:

“Bombshell” (Lionsgate)
“The Irishman” (Netflix)
“Jojo Rabbit” (Fox)
“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” (Sony)
“Parasite” (Neon)

Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture:

“Avengers: Endgame”
“Ford v Ferrari”
“The Irishman”
“Joker”
“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”

Here Are The 2019 Nominations of the San Diego Film Critics Society!


On December 6th, the San Diego Film Critics Society announced their nominees for the best of 2019 and here they are!

Best Picture
1917
THE IRISHMAN
JOKER
MARRIAGE STORY
ONCE UPON A TIME… IN HOLLYWOOD

Best Director
Noah Baumbach, MARRIAGE STORY
Sam Mendes, 1917
Benny Safdie, Josh Safdie, UNCUT GEMS
Martin Scorsese, THE IRISHMAN
Quentin Tarantino, ONCE UPON A TIME… IN HOLLYWOOD

Best Actor
Christian Bale, FORD V FERRARI
Adam Driver, MARRIAGE STORY
Eddie Murphy, DOLEMITE IS MY NAME
Joaquin Phoenix, JOKER
Adam Sandler, UNCUT GEMS

Best Actress
Awkwafina, THE FAREWELL
Scarlett Johansson, MARRIAGE STORY
Lupita Nyong’o, US
Saoirse Ronan, LITTLE WOMEN
Renée Zellweger, JUDY

Best Supporting Actor
Willem Dafoe, THE LIGHTHOUSE
Al Pacino, THE IRISHMAN
Joe Pesci, THE IRISHMAN
Brad Pitt, ONCE UPON A TIME… IN HOLLYWOOD
Wesley Snipes, DOLEMITE IS MY NAME

Best Supporting Actress
Laura Dern, MARRIAGE STORY
Thomasin McKenzie, JOJO RABBIT
Florence Pugh, LITTLE WOMEN
Zhao Shuzhen, THE FAREWELL
Octavia Spencer, LUCE

Best Comedic Performance
Daniel Craig, KNIVES OUT
Eddie Murphy, DOLEMITE IS MY NAME
Sam Rockwell, JOJO RABBIT
Wesley Snipes, DOLEMITE IS MY NAME
Taika Waititi, JOJO RABBIT

Best Original Screenplay
Noah Baumbach, MARRIAGE STORY
Bong Joon Ho, Jin Won Han, PARASITE
Rian Johnson, KNIVES OUT
Benny Safdie, Josh Safdie, UNCUT GEMS
Quentin Tarantino, ONCE UPON A TIME… IN HOLLYWOOD

Best Adapted Screenplay
Greta Gerwig, LITTLE WOMEN
J.C. Lee, Julius Onah, LUCE
Todd Phillips, Scott Silver, JOKER
Taika Waititi, Christine Leunens, JOJO RABBIT
Steven Zaillian, THE IRISHMAN

Best Documentary
APOLLO 11
THE BIGGEST LITTLE FARM
LOVE, ANTOSHA
ONE CHILD NATION
THEY SHALL NOT GROW OLD

Best Animated Film
ABOMINABLE
HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON: THE HIDDEN WORLD
I LOST MY BODY
MISSING LINK
TOY STORY 4

Best Foreign-language Film
THE FAREWELL
PAIN & GLORY
PARASITE
PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE
TRANSIT

Best Costume Design
Ruth E. Carter, DOLEMITE IS MY NAME
Julian Day, ROCKETMAN
Jacqueline Durran, LITTLE WOMEN
Arianne Phillips, ONCE UPON A TIME… IN HOLLYWOOD
Anna Robbins, DOWNTON ABBEY

Best Editing
Andrew Buckland, Michael McCusker & Dirk Westervelt, FORD V FERRARI
Jennifer Lame, MARRIAGE STORY
Fred Raskin, ONCE UPON A TIME… IN HOLLYWOOD
Benny Safdie, Ronald Bronstein, UNCUT GEMS
Thelma Schoonmaker, THE IRISHMAN

Best Cinematography
Jarin Blaschke, THE LIGHTHOUSE
Roger Deakins, 1917
Hoyte Van Hoytema, AD ASTRA
Rodrigo Prieto, THE IRISHMAN
Phedon Papamichael, FORD V FERRARI

Best Production Design
Dennis Gassner, 1917
Jess Gonchor, LITTLE WOMEN
Clay A. Griffith, DOLEMITE IS MY NAME
Barbara Ling, ONCE UPON A TIME… IN HOLLYWOOD
Bob Shaw, THE IRISHMAN
Donal Woods, DOWNTON ABBEY

Best Visual Effects
1917
AD ASTRA
THE AERONAUTS
AVENGERS: ENDGAME
THE IRISHMAN

Best Use of Music
JOJO RABBIT
JOKER
ONCE UPON A TIME… IN HOLLYWOOD
ROCKETMAN
YESTERDAY

Best Ensemble
DOWNTON ABBEY
THE IRISHMAN
KNIVES OUT
MARRIAGE STORY
ONCE UPON A TIME… IN HOLLYWOOD

Breakthrough Artist
Jessie Buckley, JUDY, WILD ROSE
Julia Butters, ONCE UPON A TIME… IN HOLLYWOOD
Roman Griffin Davis, JOJO RABBIT
Kelvin Harrison Jr., LUCE, WAVES
Florence Pugh, LITTLE WOMEN, MIDSOMMAR

The National Board of Review Selects The Irishman and Adam Sandler


The National Board of Review, which is generally considered to be the first major precursors of the Awards Season, announced their picks for the best of 2019 earlier today and it was a good day for both The Irishman and Adam Sandler.

I haven’t seen Uncut Gems yet but, from a historical point of view, I’d love to see Adam Sandler pick up an Oscar nomination because that would seriously be the plot twist that, just a few months ago, no one saw coming.

Here are the National Board of Review’s selections!

  • Best Film:  THE IRISHMAN
  • Best Director:  Quentin Tarantino, ONCE UPON A TIME…IN HOLLYWOOD
  • Best Actor:  Adam Sandler, UNCUT GEMS
  • Best Actress: Renée Zellweger, JUDY
  • Best Supporting Actor: Brad Pitt, ONCE UPON A TIME…IN HOLLYWOOD
  • Best Supporting Actress:  Kathy Bates, RICHARD JEWELL
  • Best Original Screenplay:  Josh Safdie, Benny Safdie, Ronald Bronstein, UNCUT GEMS
  • Best Adapted Screenplay:  Steven Zaillian, THE IRISHMAN
  • Breakthrough Performance: Paul Walter Hauser, RICHARD JEWELL
  • Best Directorial Debut:  Melina Matsoukas, QUEEN & SLIM
  • Best Animated Feature:  HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON: THE HIDDEN WORLD
  • Best Foreign Language Film: PARASITE
  • Best Documentary:  MAIDEN
  • Best Ensemble:  KNIVES OUT
  • Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography: Roger Deakins, 1917
  • NBR Icon Award: Martin Scorsese, Robert De Niro, Al Pacino
  • NBR Freedom of Expression Award:  FOR SAMA
  • NBR Freedom of Expression Award:  JUST MERCY

Top Films (in alphabetical order)

  • 1917
  • Dolemite is My Name
  • Ford v Ferrari
  • Jojo Rabbit
  • Knives Out
  • Marriage Story
  • Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood
  • Richard Jewell
  • Uncut Gems
  • Waves

Top 5 Foreign Language Films (in alphabetical order)

  • Atlantics
  • Invisible Life
  • Pain and Glory
  • Portrait of a Lady on Fire
  • Transit

Top 5 Documentaries (in alphabetical order)

  • American Factory
  • Apollo 11
  • The Black Godfather
  • Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese
  • Wrestle

Top 10 Independent Films (in alphabetical order)

  • The Farewell
  • Give Me Liberty
  • A Hidden Life
  • Judy
  • The Last Black Man in San Francisco
  • Midsommar
  • The Nightingale
  • The Peanut Butter Falcon
  • The Souvenir
  • Wild Rose