The National Board of Review Names Licorice Pizza The Best of 2021


The National Board of Review just announced their picks for the best of 2021 and, while many thought they might go with West Side Story or The Power of the Dog, the NBR instead announced that their pick for Best Picture was Paul Thomas Anderson’s Licorice Pizza!

In fact, Power of the Dog went curiously unmentioned by the National Board of Review.  I wouldn’t read too much into that, though.  While the NBR is one of the more prominent of the precursors, they’re also not one of the most reliable.  If the Guilds ignore a film that was considered to be contender, that’s when you might want to start changing your predictions.

Anyway, here are the NBR winners:

Best Film: LICORICE PIZZA
Best Director: Paul Thomas Anderson, LICORICE PIZZA
Best Actor: Will Smith, KING RICHARD
Best Actress: Rachel Zegler, WEST SIDE STORY
Best Supporting Actor: Ciarán Hinds, BELFAST
Best Supporting Actress: Aunjanue Ellis, KING RICHARD
Best Original Screenplay: Asghar Farhadi, A HERO
Best Adapted Screenplay: Joel Coen, THE TRAGEDY OF MACBETH
Breakthrough Performance: Alana Haim & Cooper Hoffman, LICORICE PIZZA
Best Directorial Debut: Michael Sarnoski, PIG
Best Animated Feature: ENCANTO
Best Foreign Language Film: A HERO
Best Documentary: SUMMER OF SOUL (…OR, WHEN THE REVOLUTION COULD NOT BE TELEVISED)
​Best Ensemble: THE HARDER THEY FALL
Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography: Bruno Delbonnel, THE TRAGEDY OF MACBETH
NBR Freedom of Expression Award: FLEE

Top Films (in alphabetical order)
Belfast
Don’t Look Up
Dune
King Richard
The Last Duel
Nightmare Alley
Red Rocket
The Tragedy of Macbeth
West Side Story

Top 5 Foreign Language Films (in alphabetical order)
Benedetta
Lamb
Lingui, The Sacred Bonds
Titane
The Worst Person in the World

Top 5 Documentaries (in alphabetical order)
Ascension
Attica
Flee
The Rescue
Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain

Top 10 Independent Films (in alphabetical order)
The Card Counter
C’mon C’mon
CODA
The Green Knight
Holler
Jockey
Old Henry
Pig
Shiva Baby
The Souvenir Part II

Here Are The 9 Semi-Finalists For Best Foreign Language Film!


oscar trailer kitties

Speaking of Oscar predictions and betting pools, here’s the 9 semi-finalists for Best Foreign Language Film!  Obviously, I don’t know as much about these films as I do some of the other Oscar contenders.  I am a bit surprised to see that Elle did not make the cut, despite starring certain Oscar nominee Isabelle Huppert.

Here are the 9:

Australia, “Tanna,” Bentley Dean, Martin Butler, directors;
Canada, “It’s Only the End of the World,” Xavier Dolan, director;
Denmark, “Land of Mine,” Martin Zandvliet, director;
Germany, “Toni Erdmann,” Maren Ade, director;
Iran, “The Salesman,” Asghar Farhadi, director;
Norway, “The King’s Choice,” Erik Poppe, director;
Russia, “Paradise,” Andrei Konchalovsky, director;
Sweden, “A Man Called Ove,” Hannes Holm, director;
Switzerland, “My Life as a Zucchini,” Claude Barras, director.

I, Daniel Blake Wins At Cannes And Americans Ask, “Who Is Ken Loach And Who Does He Play For?”


The winners of this year’s Cannes Film Festival have just been announced!

As I look over these winners and think about the rather muted reviews that came out of Cannes this year, I have to ask: Is it just me or is 2016 shaping up to be a fairly blah year for the movies?

I mean, just think about last year at this time.  Everyone at the Cannes Film Festival was excited over Carol.  People were still talking about how much they loved Brooklyn and End of The Tour at Sundance.  Both Mad Max: Fury Road and Ex Machina were playing in theaters.  Inside Out was on the verge of being released and people were whispering that Straight Outta Compton might actually be a great movie.  There was a lot to be excited about!

This year, however, it’s just like, “Who cares?”  Even the excitement that some people have for Nate Parker’s Birth of a Nation and Martin Scorsese’s Silence feels more obligatory than sincere.

(Did Sasha Stone go to Cannes this year?  I know I could check the Awards Daily web site but, as of late, reading Awards Daily has become almost as tedious as reading the Daily Kos.  But I mention Stone specifically because she epitomizes something that I’ve noticed about almost all of the big names in the online film community. They are currently more concerned with bitching about this meaningless and stupid election than in talking about movies.  Even when they do talk about movies, it’s always in relation to this election.  BLEH!  Political situations are only temporary.  Movies are forever.)

Anyway, just from what I did hear back from Cannes, I’m looking forward to seeing Personal Shopper, Elle, The Neon Demon, Toni Edrmann, and American Honey.  I doubt I’ll get a chance to see the Palme D’or winner because it’s a Ken Loach film and Ken Loach films rarely get much distribution in the U.S.

In fact, when Ken Loach won the Palme d’Or (and this is his second time to win), he immediately started trending on twitter.  In the UK, he was trending because people were saying, “Ken Loach won!”  In the US, he was trending because everyone who is not a member of Film Twitter was saying, “Who is Ken Loach and who does he play for?”

(As for how this will affect the upcoming Oscar race, it probably won’t.  With the exception of the year that Tree of Life won the Palme d’Or and then went on to to score a best picture nomination, Cannes is usually ignored by the Oscar voters.)

Anyway, here’s the winners!

COMPETITION

Palme d’Or: “I, Daniel Blake” (Ken Loach, U.K.)

Grand Prix: “It’s Only the End of the World” (Xavier Dolan, Canada-France)

Director (tie): Olivier Assayas, “Personal Shopper” (France), and Cristian Mungiu, “Graduation” (Romania)

Actor: Shahab Hosseini, “The Salesman” (Iran)

Actress: Jaclyn Jose, “Ma ‘Rosa” (Philippines)

Jury Prize: Andrea Arnold, “American Honey” (U.K.-U.S.)

Screenplay: Asghar Farhadi, “The Salesman” (Iran)

OTHER PRIZES

Palme d’Honneur: Jean-Pierre Léaud

Camera d’Or: “Divines” (Houda Benyamina, France-Qatar)

Short Films Palme d’Or: “Timecode” (Juanjo Jimenez, Spain)

Special Mention – Short Films Palme d’Or: “The Girl Who Danced With the Devil” (Joao Paulo Miranda Maria, Brazil)

Ecumenical Jury Prize: “It’s Only the End of the World” (Xavier Dolan, Canada-France)

UN CERTAIN REGARD

Un Certain Regard Prize: “The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki” (Juho Kuosmanen, Finland)

Jury prize: “Harmonium” (Koji Fukada, Japan)

Director: Matt Ross, “Captain Fantastic” (United States)

Screenplay: Delphine and Muriel Coulin, “The Stopover” (France)

Special Jury Prize: Michael Dudok de Wit, “The Red Turtle” (France-Japan)

DIRECTORS’ FORTNIGHT

Art Cinema Award: “Wolf and Sheep” (Shahrbanoo Sadat)

Society of Dramatic Authors and Composers Prize: “The Together Project” (Solveig Anspach)

Europa Cinemas Label: “Mercernary” (Sacha Wolff)

CRITICS’ WEEK

Grand Prize: “Mimosas” (Oliver Saxe)

Visionary Prize: “Album” (Mehmet Can Mertoğlu)

Society of Dramatic Authors and Composers Prize: “Diamond Island” (Day Chou)

FIPRESCI

Competition: “Toni Erdmann” (Maren Ade, Germany-Austria)

Un Certain Regard: “Dogs” (Bogdan Mirică, Romania-France)

Critics’ Week: “Raw” (Julia Ducournau, France-Belgium)