For the second year in a row, The National Board of Review has chosen a Netflix movie as the year’s best film.
Following the citation of Martin Scorsese‘s The Irishman as the top motion picture of 2019, the NBR named Spike Lee‘s Da 5 Bloods the Best Film of 2020. Lee (a one-time Scorsese-protégé) was named Best Director, and the cast honored as Best Ensemble.
The late-January announcement is another off-schedule entry in the COVID-hijacked Awards Season of 2020. Normally the first or second awards group out of the gate in early December, the National Board of Review waited nearly two months this year before making their choices.
The NBR is a mysterious, eclectic group that often mixes expected citations with surprising snubs, ignoring some artier fair for more mainstream offerings.
To that end: movies they snubbed from their Top 10.
Listed alphabetically, the Board’s Top 10 of 2020 is as notable for the movies it ignored as the ones it chose. Movies that didn’t make the cut include Oscar contenders Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Mank, and The Trial of Chicago 7 (all streaming on Netflix). In their places, the voting body opted for surprises like George Clooney‘s The Midnight Sky and indie debut The Forty-Year-Old Version (two films also streaming on Netflix). Amazon hopefuls like One Night In Miami… and Borat Subsequent Moviefilm were also snubbed.
Riz Ahmed and Paul Raci continue to position themselves as surprise Awards Season favorites (Raci especially) for their Lead and Supporting turns in Amazon’s Sound of Metal. In the actress categories, Carey Mulligan and Youn Yuh-jung added awards to their growing piles, Mulligan as Actress for Promising Young Woman and Youn as Supporting Actress for Minari.
Other NBR lists include Top 5’s for Foreign-Language and Documentary Films, and a separate Top 10 List for the best Independent Films of the year.
NATIONAL BOARD OF REVIEW
2020 Film Awards
Best Film: Da 5 Bloods
Best Director: Spike Lee, Da 5 Bloods
Best Actor: Riz Ahmed, Sound of Metal
Best Actress: Carey Mulligan, Promising Young Woman
Best Supporting Actor: Paul Raci, Sound of Metal
Best Supporting Actress: Youn Yuh-jung, Minari
Best Original Screenplay: Lee Isaac Chung, Minari
Best Adapted Screenplay: Paul Greengrass & Luke Davies, News of the World
Best Animated Feature: Soul
Breakthrough Performance: Sidney Flanigan, Never Rarely Sometimes Always
Best Directorial Debut: Channing Godfrey Peoples, Miss Juneteenth
Best Foreign Language Film: La Llorona
Best Documentary: Time
Best Ensemble: Da 5 Bloods
Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography: Joshua James Richards, Nomadland
NBR Icon Award: Chadwick Boseman
NBR Freedom of Expression Award: One Night in Miami…
NBR Spotlight Award: Radha Blank for writing, directing, producing and starring in The Forty-Year-Old Version
Top 5 Foreign Language Films 2020 (listed alphabetically)
The Mole Agent
Night of the Kings
Top 5 Documentaries 2020 (listed alphabetically)
All In: The Fight for Democracy
Dick Johnson is Dead
The Truffle Hunters
Top 10 Independent Films 2020 (listed alphabetically)
Never Rarely Sometimes Always
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 2020 / 21 season:
Critics Choice Awards Nominations
Screen Actors Guild Awards Nominations
Golden Globe Nominations
National Society of Film Critics
Oklahoma Film Critics Circle
Chicago Film Critics Association
Los Angeles Film Critics Association
New York Film Critics Circle
Boston Society of Film Critics