The National Board of Review has announced its 2014 honorees, and its selection for the best film of the year could shake up the Oscars race.
"A Most Violent Year" took home the top prize, winning the Best Film award, as well as picking up prizes for its lead actor, Oscar Isaac, and supporting actress, Jessica Chastain. Other notable honorees include Clint Eastwood, who won Best Director ("American Sniper"); Michael Keaton ("Birdman"), who tied with Isaac for the Best Actor award; Julianne Moore ("Still Alice"), who claimed Best Actress; and Edward Norton ("Birdman"), who snagged the Best Supporting Actor prize.
In an interview with Variety, National Board of Review president Annie Schulhof explained why the organization decided to hail "A Most Violent Year," a film that so far has earned critical raves, but hasn't made much noise in awards season prognostications.
"We're quirky and we have a different take," Schulhof told Variety. " ... This is what the group felt is the best movie. I think it's a terrific film. [Director] J.C. Chandor several years ago was our directorial debut [award winner] for 'Margin Call.' It's a period crime drama. It's got a compelling story. It's got an elegant cinematic style."
And while Schulhof stopped short of saying that NBR's selection could change the Academy Awards race, she did note that because the organization announces its awards earlier than others, it may have a hand in steering the conversation.
"I see us as giving rise to other films and performance that may not be in the mix right now," she told Variety.
The full list of 2014 National Board of Review honorees:
Best Film: A Most Violent Year
Best Director: Clint Eastwood – American Sniper
Best Actor (TIE): Oscar Isaac – A Most Violent Year; Michael Keaton – Birdman
Best Actress: Julianne Moore – Still Alice
Best Supporting Actor: Edward Norton – Birdman
Best Supporting Actress: Jessica Chastain – A Most Violent Year
Best Original Screenplay: Phil Lord & Christopher Miller – The Lego Movie
Best Adapted Screenplay: Paul Thomas Anderson – Inherent Vice
Best Animated Feature: How to Train Your Dragon 2
Breakthrough Performance:Jack O'Connell – Starred Up & Unbroken
Best Directorial Debut: Gillian Robespierre – Obvious Child
Best Foreign Language Film: Wild Tales
Best Documentary: Life Itself
William K. Everson Film History Award: Scott Eyman
Best Ensemble: Fury
Spotlight Award: Chris Rock for writing, directing, and starring in – Top Five
NBR Freedom of Expression Award: Rosewater
NBR Freedom of Expression Award: Selma
The Imitation Game
The Lego Movie
Top 5 Foreign Language Films:
Gett: The Trial of Vivian Amsalem
Two Days, One Night
We Are the Best!
Top 5 Documentaries:
Art and Craft
Keep On Keepin' On
The Kill Team
Last Days in Vietnam
Top 10 Independent Films:
A Most Wanted Man
The Skeleton Twins
Stand Clear of the Closing Doors
[via: National Board of Review, Variety]