The NBR always feels like the official start to Award's Season because it is the first batch of nominees/winners that actually encompasses the whole of film for the year and not just the independant or foreign films. Here we have a first 'critical' look at the year as a whole. The NBR has shown a specific taste in the past, some of it questionable, but the last few years they have tried to separate themselves from being considered as merely another Oscar prognosticator, and their choices of films like Her and A Most Violent Year as Best Film show that separation well. This year had a lot of interesting choices.
Manchester by the Sea
I half expected La La Land to start it's sweep here and yet, I kind of knew that it wouldn't. NBR rarely embraces the Oscar frontrunner, even when they were considered prognostacators. This choice is an interesting one because honestly, if La La Land were not in the picture, I feel like Manchester By the Sea would be the current Oscar frontrunner, with Silence coming up from behind.
Hell or High Water
La La Land
Notable snubs here include Jackie (which is looking locked for an Oscar BP nom) and Fences, which I thought would play better here. Films like Hail, Caesar! and Patriot's Day feel like lazy choices, and Hidden Figures had an interesting day yesterday (landing here and all over the Satellite noms).
Barry Jenkins, Moonlight
Bold choice. I'm still very skeptical of Jenkins landing that Oscar nom. I'm currently predicting him, and his chances look good, but this film is just so un-Oscary that I'm afraid we could be looking at that shocking snub everyone gets pissed about.
Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
I flip flop between Affleck and Washington when predicting that Oscar win...but I'm currently on the Affleck bandwagon. His critical slayage looks like it may be too much to ignore. He may wind up sailing right on through to that Oscar.
Amy Adams, Arrival
This feels out of nowhere...and I LOVE IT!!! Brilliant performance that I'm fearing Oscar with ignore, but this is just too delicious not to savour. My favorite performance of the year ATM. Just...beautiful!
Best Supporting Actor
Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water
I know some people who won't be happy about this...but Bridges is looking like a real thing this year.
Best Supporting Actress
Naomie Harris, Moonlight
I really thought Michelle Williams would take this.
Best Original Screenplay
Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea
I expect this to repeat with Oscar.
Best Adapted Screenplay
Jay Cocks and Martin Scorsese, Silence
As well as this.
Best Animated Feature
Kubo and the Two Strings
Unexpected choice. I don't think Kubo will make a real play for that Oscar, since Zootopia is VERY strong, but maybe this will wind up being the critical darling instead of The Red Turtle...
Breakthrough Performance (Male)
Lucas Hedges, Manchester by the Sea
Get those mentions...get that Oscar nom!
Breakthrough Performance (Female)
Royalty Hightower, The Fits
I should probably watch this one.
Best Directorial Debut
Trey Edward Shults, Krisha
Yet another win for Shults (he also won the Gotham).
Best Foreign Language Film
Didn't see this coming...but they have interesting tastes in this category, rarely going for a film that looks primed for Oscar attention. They didn't even have Toni Erdmann in their list of nominees.
Top 5 Foreign Language Films
Land of Mine
O.J.: Made in America
Yet another win for this one. Could we be seeing the frontrunner form before our very eyes?
Top 5 Documentaries
The Eagle Huntress
Miss Sharon Jones!
Interesting, indeed...I had written this film off completely, but maybe that was presumtious.
Creative Collaboration of Peter Berg and Mark Wahlberg
NBR Freedom of Expression Award
Top 10 Independent Films
20th Century Women
Eye in the Sky
Hello, My Name is Doris
Morris from America