National Board of Review 2018 Winners: Green Book Takes Best Film

A more obvious bunch of winners for the National Board of Review than the Gotham Awards this year.

Green Book
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The National Board of Review has announced their film award winners for 2018, and fresh off of a surprising night at the Gotham Awards, NBR took a more traditional route with their winners.

Green Book took home Best Film and Best Actor for Viggo Mortensen. This was the first real chance for the film to take home some prizes, and it didn’t let itself down. Green Book has been bouncing around my list of Best Picture nominees, and if it does well with the New York and LA critics, as well as the Golden Globes, it could easily leap ahead in the Best Picture race.

A Star is Born was the big winner today with three awards: Best Director for Bradley Cooper, Best Actress for Lady Gaga, and a bit of a surprise, Best Supporting Actor for Sam Elliott. If Beale Street Could Talk received two wins: Supporting Actress for Regina King and Adapted Screenplay. Paul Schrader, fresh off a Gotham win last night, was your winner for Best Original Screenplay. No surprise that Pixar’s Incredibles 2 was named the Best Animated Feature. Poland’s Cold War won Best Foreign Language Film, and a shocker in Documentary Feature was RBG over Won’t You Be My Neighbor.

In addition to the single winners here, NBR always releases a list of films in separate categories that they have rated as best of the year. The independent films were The Death of Stalin, Lean on Pete, Leave No Trace, Mid90s, The Old Man and the Gun, The Rider, Searching, Sorry to Bother You, We the Animals, and You Were Never Really Here.

The top five docs, plus RBG, were Crime + Punishment, Free Solo, Minding the Gap, Three Identical Strangers, and Won’t You Be My Neighbor. Top five foreign films plus Cold War were Burning, Custody, Happy as Lazzaro, Shoplifters, and The Guilty.

For the overall best films of the year, plus Green Book, they selected A Quiet Place, A Star is Born, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, Black Panther, Can You Ever Forgive Me, Eighth Grade, First Reformed, If Beale Street Could Talk, Mary Poppins Returns, and Roma.

Overall, this is a pretty good list, and pretty close to where NBR lands every year. They love the big directors like the Coen Brothers, and like some of the more mainstream hits, like A Quiet Place, Mary Poppins, and Black Panther.

The omissions, though, are a little head-scratching. There was seriously no place to award The Favourite, First Man, BlacKkKlansman, or Vice? All four are likely Best Picture nominees, or close to it, and could have capitalized on some wins here, or at least a mention in the top ten films. I could have sworn either Mahershala Ali, Timothee Chalamet, or Richard E. Grant were going to take Supporting Actor, but nope, here comes Sam Elliott. Also, Glenn Close or Olivia Colman seemed like a better bet than Lady Gaga for Actress.

We’ll see if the next batch of regional critic awards, the New York Film Critics Circle Awards, fall in line with NBR or go their own way.