After two straight years of honoring prestige Netflix flicks, The National Board of Review has gone full Cinema by naming Paul Thomas Anderson‘s Licorice Pizza as the Best Film of 2021.
The auteur’s nostalgia trip back to 1970s L.A. also earned PTA Best Director and co-leads Alana Haim and Cooper Hoffman as the year’s Breakthrough Performances.
The Williams family tennis biopic King Richard also nabbed three awards: Best Actor for Will Smith, Best Supporting Actress Aunjanue Ellis (who plays Richard’s wife), and a spot on NBR’s Top 10 List of 2021.
Newcomer Rachel Zegler wowed NBR enough to earn Best Actress honors for her turn as Maria in Steven Spielberg‘s West Side Story, and Ciarán Hinds took Supporting Actor for his role in Kenneth Branagh‘s Belfast.
Other notable awards included Original Screenplay to Iranian neo-realist Asghar Farhadi for A Hero (it also won Best Foreign Language Film), and Joel Coen won Adapted Screenplay for The Tragedy of Macbeth. Coen’s DP Bruno Delbonnel also won for Best Cinematography, who filmed the Shakespearean classic in the old square Academy ratio of early cinema and in black-and-white.
Considering which films and artists have been receiving early awards season buzz, the biggest notable snub is the complete shutout of Jane Campion‘s acclaimed Western The Power of the Dog, which didn’t even land on NBR’s Top 10 List.
Here is the Board’s complete list of winners.
NATIONAL BOARD OF REVIEW
2021 Film Awards
Best Film: Licorice Pizza
Best Director: Paul Thomas Anderson, Licorice Pizza
Best Actor: Will Smith, King Richard
Best Actress: Rachel Zegler, West Side Story
Best Supporting Actor: Ciarán Hinds, Belfast
Best Supporting Actress: Aunjanue Ellis, King Richard
Best Original Screenplay: Asghar Farhadi, A Hero
Best Adapted Screenplay: Joel Coen, The Tragedy of Macbeth
Best Animated Feature: Encanto
Breakthrough Performance (tie): Alana Haim and Cooper Hoffman, Licorice Pizza
Best Directorial Debut: Michael Sarnoski, Pig
Best Foreign Language Film: A Hero (Iran)
Best Documentary: Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)
Best Ensemble: The Harder They FAll
Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography: Bruno Delbonnel, The Tragedy of Macbeth
NBR Freedom of Expression Award: Flee
Top 5 Foreign Language Films 2021 (listed alphabetically)
Lingui, The Sacred Bonds
The Worst Person in the World
Top 5 Documentaries 2021 (listed alphabetically)
Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain
Top 10 Independent Films 2021 (listed alphabetically)
The Card Counter
The Green Knight
The Souvenir Part II
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 2021 / 22 season: