NBR names “Hugo” Best Film, Rooney Mara and Felicity Jones Breakthrough Performers

December 1, 2011 | Posted By In Awards | 868 Views

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So early into the 2012 Award Season and already so many unexpected twists and turns. The National Board of Review, traditionally the first group to announce their winners but upstaged this year by the New York Film Critics, have released their list of the best movies and filmmakers of the year, and there are, once again, some surprises.

Martin Scorsese’s family-friendly 3D love letter to filmmaking, “Hugo”, takes Best Picture honors, with the director also taking Best Director, putting the film firmly into the hunt for a repeat at the Oscars. David Fincher’s highly anticipated and still barely-seen “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” also makes its first showing, listed in NBR’s Top 10 Films of the Year as well as a Breakthrough Performance award for star Rooney Mara. Mara will share the award with Felicity Jones, who lands another Breakthrough award (and another win over “Martha Marcy May Marlene”‘s Elizabeth Olsen) for “Like Crazy.” Jessica Chastain is left out in the cold this time around after dominating early, NBR instead choosing to give Best Supporting Actress to Shailene Woodley for “The Descendants.” Unable to choose between his four incredible performances this year, Michael Fassbender will get a special Spotlight Award for “Jane Eyre”, “X-Men: First Class”, “Shame” and “A Dangerous Method.”

Full list of winners and lists via press release below, thanks to Awards Daily.



2011 Gala to be held on
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
hosted by Natalie Morales

New York, NY – (December 1, 2011) – The National Board of Review has named HUGO the 2011 Best Film of the Year. Directed by Martin Scorsese, the film was released on November 23rd by Paramount Pictures.

Below is a full list of the awards given by the National Board of Review:

Best Film: Hugo
Best Director: Martin Scorsese, Hugo
Best Actor: George Clooney, The Descendants
Best Actress: Tilda Swinton, We Need to Talk About Kevin
Best Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer, Beginners
Best Supporting Actress: Shailene Woodley, The Descendants
Best Original Screenplay: Will Reiser, 50/50
Best Adapted Screenplay: Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon & Jim Rash
Best Animated Feature: Rango
Breakthrough Performance: Felicity Jones, Like Crazy
Breakthrough Performance: Rooney Mara, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Debut Director: J.C. Chandor, Margin Call
Best Ensemble: The Help
Spotlight Award: Michael Fassbender (A Dangerous Method, Jane Eyre, Shame, X-Men: First Class)
NBR Freedom of Expression: Crime After Crime
NBR Freedom of Expression: Pariah
Best Foreign Language Film: A Separation
Best Documentary: Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory
Special Achievement in Filmmaking: The Harry Potter Franchise – A Distinguished Translation from Book
to Film

Top Films
(in alphabetical order)

The Artist
The Descendants
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
The Ides of March
J. Edgar
Tree of Life
War Horse

Top 5 Foreign Language Films
(In Alphabetical Order)

13 Assassins
Elite Squad: The Enemy Within
Le Havre
Point Blank

Top 5 Documentaries
(In Alphabetical Order)

Born to be Wild
George Harrison: Living in the Material World
Project Nim

Top 10 Independent Films
(In Alphabetical Order)

Another Earth
A Better Life
Cedar Rapids
Margin Call
Take Shelter
We Need To Talk About Kevin
Win Win

“HUGO is such a personal film by Martin Scorsese,” said Annie Schulhof, NBR President. “It is a tribute to the early years of cinema that uses today’s cutting edge technology to bring the audience into a completely unique and magical world. It is visually stunning and emotionally engaging.”

A select group of knowledgeable film enthusiasts and professionals, academics, young filmmakers and students, the National Board of Review viewed over 250 films this year including studio, independent, foreign-language, animated and documentary selections. These screenings were frequently followed by in-depth discussions with filmmakers, directors, actors, producers, and screenwriters. Voting ballots were tabulated by the accounting firm of Lutz & Carr, LLP.

The National Board of Review honors diverse members of the film community at their annual Awards Gala, which also acts as a fundraiser for student grant philanthropy. Hosted by Natalie Morales, this year’s Gala will take place on January 10, 2012 at Cipriani’s 42nd St. in New York City.


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Linda is currently a Film Reporter at TheWrap. She studied Film & Digital Media at the University of California. She likes David Fincher, New York City, and cats. She founded Up&Comers in 2010. You can find more of her random ramblings, 140 characters at a time, on Twitter @lindazge.