The 2018 Oscar Race has begun, and green catches the first gold.
The National Board of Review was the first (in what will be a long line of year-end critics groups) to announce its annual choices for the best achievements in filmmaking, naming Green Book the Best Film of 2018.
In addition, the Board also published a Top 10 for the best films of the year, listing them alphabetically. This excludes Green Book, which supercedes them all, so the NBR ends up citing 11 films total.
Awards were also given for Best Actor, Actress, and in a number of other familiar categories. (Complete list below.)
The NBR is a mysterious, eclectic group that often mixes expected citations with surprising snubs, ignoring some artier fair for more mainstream offerings. Green Book eptiomizes that tendancy, as it is decidely more “middle brow” than some of the artier choices likely to come from critics in New York, L.A., et al.
In addition to Best Film, Green Book‘s Viggo Mortensen was named Best Actor for his portrayal of the Italian hood who grows past his racial prejudices and ignorance.
Lady Gaga picked up Best Actress for A Star Is Born, Sam Elliott was named Best Supporting Actor for the same film, and their co-star Bradley Cooper was cited as Best Director. Cooper topped other filmmakers like Alfonso Cuaron for Roma and Ryan Coogler for Black Panther. All three of those films also made the Top 10.
Barry Jenkins, another likely Best Director contender, won Best Adapted Screenplay for If Beale Street Could Talk, which was also a Top 10 film choice. Regina King was named Best Supporting Actress for Beale as well.
Perhaps the artiest choices were First Reformed and Eighth Grade. Both low budget indies were listed in the Top 10, and their writer/directors were each honored. Legendary screenwriter and filmmaker Paul Schrader won Best Original Screenplay for First Reformed and Bo Burnham won Best Directorial Debut for Eighth Grade.
While many of the year’s most critically-acclaimed films did make the cut, the most glaring snubs from the Top 10 and all other categories were Damien Chazelle‘s Neil Armstrong moon mission drama First Man and Spike Lee‘s KKK true story BlackKklansman.
Chazelle’s follow-up to the lauded Oscar-winning La La Land failed to touchdown with audiences after a rapturous reception at film festivals. The snubs will likely continue as First Man remains a longshot to gain any traction throughout awards season. The complete blacklisting of BlackKlansman is a bit more of a surprise, especially its absence from the Top 10 where it lost out to, among others, A Quiet Place and Mary Poppins Returns.
Joining First Man and BlackKlansman in the snub category: Vice (the upcoming Dick Cheney biopic starring Christian Bale), Yorgos Lanthimos‘ The Favourite, and Clint Eastwood‘s The Mule (which has yet to open and wasn’t screened for voters). Hereditary, which has aspirations for lead actress Toni Collette, was ignored for both that category and the Board’s choices for the Top 10 Independent Films.
NATIONAL BOARD OF REVIEW
2018 Film Awards
Best Film: Green Book
Other Top Films (listed alphabetically)
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
Can You Ever Forgive Me?
If Beale Street Could Talk
Mary Poppins Returns
A Quiet Place
A Star Is Born
Best Director: Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born
Best Actress: Lady Gaga, A Star Is Born
Best Actor: Viggo Mortensen, Green Book
Best Supporting Actor: Sam Elliott, A Star Is Born
Best Supporting Actress: Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk
Best Original Screenplay: Paul Schrader, First Reformed
Best Adapted Screenplay: Barry Jenkins, If Beale Street Could Talk
Best Animated Feature: Incredibles 2
Breakthrough Performance: Thomasin McKenzie, Leave No Trace
Best Directorial Debut: Bo Burnham, Eighth Grade
Best Foreign Language Film: Cold War
Best Documentary: RBG
Best Ensemble: Crazy Rich Asians
William K. Everson Film History Award: The Other Side of the Wind and They’ll Love Me When I’m Dead
NBR Freedom of Expression Award: 22 July
NBR Freedom of Expression Award: On Her Shoulders
Top 5 Foreign Language Films 2018 (listed alphabetically)
Happy as Lazzaro
Top 10 Independent Films 2018 (listed alphabetically)
The Death of Stalin
Lean on Pete
Leave No Trace
The Old Man & the Gun
Sorry to Bother You
We the Animals
You Were Never Really Here
Honoring annual achievements in film since 1929, the National Board of Review is a “select group of film enthusiasts, filmmakers, professionals, academics, and students of varying ages and backgrounds” who watch over 250 films and participate in discussions with directors, actors, producers, and screenwriters before making and announcing their selections.
Click on links below for other Critics Group Awards and Guild Nominees that have been announced so far for the 2018 / 19 season:
San Francisco Film Critics Circle
Los Angeles Film Critics Association
Toronto Film Critics Association
Philadelphia Film Critics Circle
Chicago Film Critics Association
Golden Globe Nominations
AFI Film Awards
Detroit Film Critics Society
Atlanta Film Critics Circle
New York Film Critics Circle