‘Slumdog,’ ‘Torino’ win big at NBR

Posted by · 11:19 am · December 4th, 2008

Clint Eastwood in Gran TorinoThe National Board of Review has announced its list of winners for the 2008 awards season and Fox Searchlight’s “Slumdog Millionaire” is the big champ, taking down three awards including Best Film and a tie for Best Adapted Screenplay with Eric Roth’s “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.”  Dev Patel also won the award for Breakthrough Performance by an Actor.

That tie for adapted screenplay does little to separate those two competitors at this point, both in that category and in the big race, which most concede is neck-and-neck at the moment.  David Fincher also took the NBR’s Best Director award.

The immediate point of interest is the love for “Gran Torino.”  Clint Eastwood seized the Best Actor trophy, perhaps the first in an upcoming slew of awards for the actor’s swan song performance, perhaps simply indicative of the NBR’s affinity for Warner Bros. product.  Nick Schenk won the award for Best Original Screenplay, which will lead many to think this film is a major Oscar player.  Hmm…

Another interesting tid-bit: Paramount Vantage was virtually shut out of the proceedings, with only a single mention for “Defiance” in the NBR top ten.  Nothing for “Revolutionary Road.”  But it is worth pointing out that “There Will Be Blood” was completely shut out of the group’s awards last year, and we all know how that turned out.

I think calling Viola Davis’s admittedly stunning performance in “Doubt” a “breakthrough” is a bit of a stretch considering how long the actress has been in the game, but the definition of that award shifts from year to year it seems.

And finally, after James Franco slipped into the Indie Spirit Award nominations for his supporting performance in “Milk,” Josh Brolin walks away with the win today in the same category.  Who knows how it will turn out for Oscar?  My bet is still on Brolin, who had a banner year with his performance here and in “W,” not to mention the left-over goodwill for his work in multiple films last year.

(Full list of winners after the jump.)

Best Film: “Slumdog Millionaire”
Best Director: David Fincher, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
Best Actor: Clint Eastwood, “Gran Torino”
Best Actress: Anne Hathaway, “Rachel Getting Married”
Best Supporting Actor: Josh Brolin, “Milk”
Best Supporting Actress: Penelope Cruz, “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”
Best Foreign Film: “Mongol”
Best Documentary: “Man on Wire”
Best Animated Feature: “WALL-E”
Best Ensemble Cast: “Doubt”
Breakthrough Performance by an Actor: Dev Patel, “Slumdog Millionaire”
Breakthrough Performance by an Actress: Viola Davis, “Doubt”
Best Directorial Debut: Courtney Hunt, “Frozer River”
Best Original Screenplay: Nick Schenk, “Gran Torino”
Best Adapted Screenplay (tie): Simon Beaufoy, “Slumdog Millionaire” and Eric Roth, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”

The top ten (in alphabetical order):
“Burn After Reading”
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
“The Dark Knight”
“Gran Torino”
“The Wrestler”

Top five foreign films (in alphabetical order):
“Edge of Heaven”
“Let the Right One In”
“Roman de Gare”
“A Secret”
“Waltz with Bashir”

Top five documentary films (in alphabetical order):
“American Teen”
“The Betrayal”
“Dear Zachary”
“Encounters at the End of the World”
“Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired”

Top Ten Independent Films
“Frozen River”
“In Bruges”
“In Search of a Midnight Kiss”
“Mr. Foe”
“Rachel Getting Married”
“Snow Angels”
“Son of Rambow”
“Wendy and Lucy”
“Vicky Cristina Barcelona”
“The Visitor”

William K. Everson Film History Award:
Molly Haskell, Andrew Sarris
Spotlight Award: Melissa Leo, “Frozen River,” Richard Jenkins, “The Visitor”
The BVLGARI Award for NPR Freedom of Expression: “Trumbo”

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74 responses so far

  • 1 12-04-2008 at 3:49 pm

    Brian Kinsley said...

    The more we debate who from Milk gets a supporting actor nom, the more I feel it pushes closer to pole position at SAG Ensemble.

  • 2 12-04-2008 at 4:27 pm

    Aaron said...

    I agree with somene earlier that Anne Hathaway is the dark horse of the best actress race. With Variety’s iffy review and Entertainment Weekly’s flat out bash of Meryl Streep in Doubt, I think the great Streep might be a little too vulnerable.

    Kate Winslet still stands a chance, but with the lukewarm responses to both of her films–and the category confusion–it could be troublesome for her….

    …watch out for Anne Hathaway–it’s a career defining performance, in the veins of Halley Berry in Monster’s Ball, Charlize Theron in Monster, and Reese Witherspoon in Walk the Line. She’s one everyone needs to watch.

  • 3 12-04-2008 at 5:04 pm

    Patrick said...

    Aaron, you are so right.

  • 4 12-04-2008 at 5:26 pm

    KING 1 said...

    I agree with Aaron too…but Melissa Leo could definately take it…i’m predicting her….

  • 5 12-04-2008 at 5:52 pm

    Billyboy said...

    Yes, Aaron has a point… I wouldn’t mind some trailers with “Academy Award winner Anne Hathaway” in it…

  • 6 12-04-2008 at 6:00 pm

    Hardy said...

    Lukewarm reception? Maybe for The Reader but not for Revolutionary Road.

  • 7 12-04-2008 at 6:04 pm

    Chris said...

    @ Scott Ward: I wasn’t talking about Oscar, but about awards in general. Clooney did after all win some of them, and deservedly so. Obviously if Clooney had won the Oscar that would have been “odd”, but nobody complained about him taking some precursors whereas now people start kicking and screaming where Ledger didn’t win. Seriously, there’s more to come and he’ll surely get his fair recognition.

  • 8 12-04-2008 at 6:56 pm

    Patrick said...

    I haven’t felt so outraged (about Heath and Sean) since…….last year when Daniel Day-Lewis lost to Clooney.

  • 9 12-04-2008 at 7:44 pm

    Stylee said...

    How does Wall-E two mentions helps the movie gain momentum towards a Best Picture Nom???

  • 10 12-04-2008 at 8:11 pm

    Zan said...

    How did Clooney deserve any? I can count at least 5 or 6 better lead performances from last year.

  • 11 12-04-2008 at 9:14 pm

    James said...

    He was solid and they probably felt guilty for a lack of 2000 love, perhaps. Idk, I’m shooting for the moon here :P.

    “as for Brolin in Milk: he’s good, but as far as I’m concerned, Franco is the standout supporting role. I just felt Dan White was way underwritten. I’d nominate both personally, but if i had to choose i’d choose Franco.”

    I completely agree JAB. I’m not discrediting Brolin in anyway, but I very much feel that his role is like that of Vera Farmiga’s in The Departed. It was criminally underappreciated, because she gave life to a thankless role, just as he did. But it just doesn’t feel like something they would nominate by itself. I have him as my #5 right now, and think if he scores the nom, it’ll be partially due to W. and NCFOM.

    Also, I agree with you Brian about the ensemble. It would be worthy of the win, definitely.

    I wonder if Doubt continues its downward spiral, if Hoffman will begin to fade. I’ve been skeptical of his nom from the get-go.

  • 12 12-04-2008 at 9:15 pm

    head_wizard said...

    Not a bad list, I don’t get the Changeling love. And surprised by Revolutionary Road not being in the top ten. And I really don’t get the Broslin love( I think Emile Hirsh was better) and why Cruz is worthy but it was somewhat expected. But Slumdog winning is fine by me and still need to see Grand Toro and TCCOBB

  • 13 12-04-2008 at 9:22 pm

    Patrick F. said...

    I wish I was as articulate as Aaron on the Hathaway thing. Ever since I saw her in The Princess Diaries, I thought “She has the Julia Roberts effect.” meaning, it’s not that she’s an incredible actor as much as she is an entertaining one. She does interesting things, has interesting facial features, and she’s just interesting to watch, to the point that she makes piffle like Get Smart and Havok incredibly watchable. The Actors branch really like actresses that are fun to watch. How else do yo explain Sally Field winning twice?

    I’ve always suspected, once they were given the chance to award Hathaway , they would, and in a big way. I just didn’t think it would happen so soon. but the Monster/Walk The Line Paralells are right on.

    As far as Eastwood winning, I’ve been preparing myself for this for months, much in the same way that a death row inmate prepares one for the chair. Aside from a reprieve from the Governator, there’s nothing we can do to stop it.

  • 14 12-04-2008 at 9:32 pm

    JAB said...

    james, i’m glad you agree with me, but i have to differ in opinion a little. Vera Farmiga did bring life to that role that could have easily gone to somebody like Scarlet Johannson or Eva Mendes so they could deliver a subpar performance in a relatively unimportant role. But in Josh Brolin’s case, he was spot on in a crucially important role, that really could and should have had more to it.

  • 15 12-04-2008 at 9:50 pm

    Patrick said...

    So…is it geezers and babes again?

  • 16 12-04-2008 at 9:56 pm

    Aaron said...

    I agree, Patrick, I feel this Eastwood win for best actor is a foreboding for things to come. I believe he will win out of the great amount of respect he obviously has from the Academy. When I first saw the Gran Torino trailer, needless to say I was unimpressed. Actually, to be honest, I laughed when I saw Clint’s classic “crunched up, angry” face…how many times have we seen it and I still can’t take it seriously?

    I’m just worried about Meryl Streep and Kate Winslet. This year, particularly, there seems to be just this overwhelming hype for one or the other to win! Has anyone thought that this could eventually be detrimental for them? I just feel like they have so many expectations to live up to, and even for actors as good as them, anyone can fail to live up to the hype. Which is why I could see Anne Hathaway snag the award—and I wouldn’t be angry for I thought she gave a majestic, mature performance. It’s one of the few that have remained with me throughout the season…

    …and, on a sidenote, with all this Clint Eastwood lovefest going on, it got me to thinking that maybe we shouldn’t discard Angelina just yet. With all this hoopla surrounding him, I feel like it could really benefit her. You know nearly EVERY single academy voter will be popping Changeling into their DVD players this winter simply because it’s a Clint Eastwood film. She gives an impressive performance, and I wouldn’t be surprised at all if her name popped up on the final five ballot…

  • 17 12-05-2008 at 3:15 am

    interstellar said...

    well, I like the results.

    but hathaway…!

  • 18 12-05-2008 at 9:38 am

    Patrick said...

    Aaron….that would be unfortunate. Kristin Scott-Thomas, Sally Hawkins or Melissa Leo may be left out if that scenario plays out. Unfortanate.

  • 19 1-09-2009 at 8:23 am

    Bethany said...

    Gran Torino was fabulous. I will truly miss Eastwood when his old ass kicks the bucket. Hopefully he dies in a fashion much like his movies. Long, masterful, intellectual, hilarious, and sweet.