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Thursday, December 3, 2009

Up in the Air Wins National Board of Review

Up in the Air was the big winner today. Not only was it named the top film, but also won for adapted screenplay, supporting actress (Anna Kendrick), and best actor (George Clooney). Though, best actor was actually a tie with Morgan Freeman for Invictus. As for Avatar, The Lovely Bones, Nine, and Precious, they were nowhere to be seen. It's only one award, but not the way those films wanted to start the season. Here's the full list.

Best Film: Up in the Air

Top 10: (in alphabetical order)
An Education
(500) Days of Summer
The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
Invictus
The Messenger
A Serious Man
Star Trek
Up
Where the Wild Things Are


Best Director: Clint Eastwood, Invictus

Best Actor: (tie) Morgan Freeman, Invictus and George Clooney, Up In The Air

Best Actress: Carey Mulligan, An Education

Best Supporting Actor: Woody Harrelson, The Messenger

Best Supporting Actress: Anna Kendrick, Up In The Air

Best Original Screenplay: Joel & Ethan Coen, A Serious Man

Best Adapted Screenplay: Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner, Up In the Air

Thoughts:
I was actually 6/10 on the top 10 list. Not bad, but not great either. At least by my standards. I missed (500) Days, Basterds, The Messenger, and Star Trek. I'm really happy for (500) Days, which is arguably my favorite film of the year. Also think it's great to recognize a film like Star Trek, which was a great all around film.

I have no idea what happened to Nine or Precious. Those are two big Oscar contenders and both were shut out. I know I picked Nine yesterday as my best picture winner, but I can slowly see myself switching to Up in the Air. I'm still not going to change my mind yet, but the Oscars are about momentum. If Nine keeps slipping, then its status a Best Picture frontrunner will begin to slide. I still think this film has the cast and director to make it a contender. Also screened well. Same thing goes for Precious. And even Avatar to a certain extent. This is one award and this race is far from over. It's only the beginning.

As for the other major races, I'm extremely glad and excited for Anna Kendrick. As some of my hardcore readers know, I have been all about this girl since I saw Rocket Science two years ago. I thought she was going to be huge and if I was an agent at the time I would have tried to poach her from APA. I think she is that talented. Like I did two years ago with P.T. Anderson, I'm quietly pulling for her, but I promise it won't cloud my judgement when making predictions.

Clint winning for Best Director was big for Invictus. He's always a serious player in the Oscar field and this year is no different. He represents that old section of the Academy and that is the section that votes. I see a Clint vs. Jason Reitman battle this season. Reitman is young, but very respected in Hollywood. He really hasn't made a bad film yet. And his Dad, Ivan Reitman, is a damn good filmmaker, which makes him a second generation filmmaker and the Academy is always a sucker for legacies.

Another battle between Invictus and Up in the Air will probably be Best Actor. People have been talking about Morgan Freeman the whole year. And yes, he's playing a real person (Nelson Mandela). That helps. Especially recently with wins from Philip Seymour Hoffman playing Capote to Sean Penn playing Harvey Milk. The problem is that everyone loves George Clooney. I think actually Clooney's Oscar from a few years ago hurts him a little, but at least it was supporting. Same goes for Freeman actually who won the same Oscar the previous year. So, it could be argued that their Oscars cancel each other out.

Once the critic awards start getting handed out, these races will even take more shape. It's exciting and this year the Oscar season is a little longer. Yes, we're in March this year. It's a long derby and the NBR has kicked it off.