National Board of Review backs ‘Zero Dark Thirty’

Thelma Adams
The Reel Breakdown

"I'll have what she's having." Only two days after the New York Film Critics Circle started off the awards season with Kathryn Bigelow's "Zero Dark Thirty" as their Best Picture, The National Board of Review seconded that emotion for the espionage thriller about the hunt for Osama bin Laden. The groups also dovetailed on best director (Bigelow) and best foreign language film ("Amour"). But that's where the similarity between the two groups ended. Oops! Not a single major award for Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln." Not quite the salute the NYFCC gave the White House biopic with three awards.

The National Board of Review then spread the wealth, embracing David O. Russell's "Silver Lingings Playbook" by giving Bradley Cooper Best Actor honors, snubbing Daniel Day Lewis. Jessica Chastain continued the "Zero Dark Thirty" rout with Best Actress and became the Oscar favorite in that category. Leonardo DiCaprio kept the bloody, bloody "Django Unchained" in play and cracked his whip at thoughts that the movie may be too rough for Oscar recognition. And Ann Dowd carved out a place at the table as Best Supporting Actress for the little indie, "Compliance."

[Related: 'Zero Dark Thirty' leads at the New York Film Critics Circle Awards with best picture and director, best screenplay goes to 'Lincoln']

Audience favorite "Silver Linings Playbook" got more encouragement for writer-director David O. Russell with a Best Adapted Screenplay win, while Rian Johnson was recognized for Best Original Screenplay for "Looper." For Best Animation, "Wreck-It Ralph" threw down for the win. Ben Affleck got the prettiest, if not the best, recognition for "Argo" in the category Special Achievement in Filmmaking.

"Beasts of the Southern Wild" caught the NBR's attention with nods for Quvenzhané Wallis as Breakthrough Actress and Benh Zeitlin for Best Directorial Debut. Tom Holland of "The Impossible" fought his way through tsunami devastation to achieve Breakthrough Actor. On the other side of the experience scale, the NBR honored the ubiquitous John Goodman with the Spotlight Award ("Argo," "Flight," "ParaNorman," "Trouble with the Curve.")

While otherwise shut-out, "Les Miserables" did score a Best Ensemble consolation prize and landed among the year's top films where "Lincoln" also found a lower berth. Completely unseen were such films as "The Master," "Life of Pi," "Flight," "Anna Karenina," "Hyde Park on Hudson," "The Hobbit" and "The Sessions."

The full list of National Board of Review winners is listed below. The group will fete the winners in Manhattan on the night of January 10th, 2013 at Cipriani 42nd Street and stars like Bradley Cooper, Jessica Chastain and Leonardo DiCaprio are expected to be in attendance.


Best Film:  "Zero Dark Thirty"
Best Director: Kathryn Bigelow, "Zero Dark Thirty"
Best Actor: Bradley Cooper, "Silver Linings Playbook"
Best Actress: Jessica Chastain, "Zero Dark Thirty"
Best Supporting Actor: Leonardo DiCaprio, "Django Unchained"
Best Supporting Actress: Ann Dowd, "Compliance"
Best Original Screenplay: Rian Johnson, "Looper"
Best Adapted Screenplay: David O. Russell, "Silver Linings Playbook"
Best Animated Feature: "Wreck-It Ralph"
Special Achievement in Filmmaking: Ben Affleck, "Argo"
Breakthrough Actor: Tom Holland, "The Impossible"
Breakthrough Actress: Quvenzhané Wallis,  "Beasts of the Southern Wild"
Best Directorial Debut: Benh Zeitlin, "Beasts of the Southern Wild"
Best Foreign Language Film:  "Amour"
Best Documentary: "Searching for Sugar Man"
William K. Everson Film History Award: "50 Years of Bond Films"
Best Ensemble: "Les Miserables"
Spotlight Award: John Goodman ("Argo", "Flight," "Paranorman," "Trouble with the Curve")
NBR Freedom of Expression Award: "Central Park Five"
NBR Freedom of Expression Award: "Promised Land"

Top Films
(in alphabetical order)
"Beasts of the Southern Wild"
"Django Unchained"
"Les Miserables"
"The Perks of Being a Wallflower"
"Promised Land"
"Silver Linings Playbook"

Top 5 Foreign Language Films

(In Alphabetical Order)
"The Intouchables"
"The Kid with a Bike"
"War Witch"

Top 5 Documentaries
(In Alphabetical Order)
"Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry"
"The Gatekeepers"
"The Invisible War"
"Only the Young"

Top 10 Independent Films
(In Alphabetical Order)
"End of Watch"
"Hello, I Must Be Going"
"Little Birds"
"Moonrise Kingdom"

"On the Road"


"Sleepwalk with Me"