Thursday, December 3, 2009

The National Board of Review's Decision

Up in the Air is the Best Film of 2009, or so says the National Board of Review. The National Board of Review is made up of a long list of cinephiles, in which their job descriptions are too difficult to put tabs on. What the Review does is at the end of each year they name the best in film from that past year. As with most of these things, it's often seen as a precursor to the Oscars, but in recent years it seems the Review have played in a different realm of reality than the Academy.

This year, the NBR was all about Jason Reitman's (Juno) latest, Up in the Air, starring George Clooney. As mentioned, the film brought home awards for Best Film, Best Supporting Actress for Anna Kendrick, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Actor for George Clooney, of course in a tie with Morgan Freeman for Clint Eastwood's Invictus where Freeman portrayed Nelson Mandela. Speaking of Invictus, Eastwood's film also managed to wind up in the NBR's Top 10 List of the Best Films of '09, as well Eastwood surprisingly nabbed the Best Director award for Invictus, which I thought was for sure going to go to Reitman and his film. Oh, well. By the way, here's the NBR's list of the Ten Best Films of 2009, in no particular order:

An Education
(500) Days of Summer
The Hurt Locker
Inglorious Basterds
The Messenger
A Serious Man
Star Trek
Where the Wild Things Are

I was really pleasantly satisfied with this list of winners. I loved (500) Days of Summer, and I really hope this can launch it back into the Oscar race, and I don't think that this hurts the Oscar chances for Star Trek either (hey, I'm gonna be banging the drum for its Oscar campaign all the way up till the nominations are announced). Of course, I'm not going to lie I was surprised to find Where the Wild Things Are on the list, after the mixed critical reception the film received. As well, both The Lovely Bones and Nine got no love, which has me wondering about their Oscar chances, but the biggest snub of all came in the form of the exclusion of Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire.

The only award for Precious went to Gabourey Sidibe for Breakthrough Performance by an Actress. I've gotta admit I was shocked here. While I haven't seen Precious -- and to be honest I don't really want to, I don't think it looks like my cup of tea at all, even though all the critics are hailing it as the best film of the year, but back on track --the film has been chatted up for nearly the past two months as being the frontrunner for the Academy Awards, but then again, last year's winner, Slumdog Millionaire was excluded from this list as well, and look how that turned out.

And that's about it, other than some love for the Coen Brothers A Serious Man for Best Original Screenplay, and Carey Mulligan predictably brought home Best Actress for An Education, but nothing else. As I said earlier, the NBR rarely lines up with the Oscars, so I wouldn't buy into this list too much, but it is a fairly solid list all the same. What this list really wants me to do is see Up in the Air when it finally reaches Alabama and get my own viewpoint on it to see if it deserves all this hype. At the current moment, from all I've seen, I think it does, but I have to see the film to know for sure.

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