‘Licorice Pizza’ and Paul Thomas Anderson Named Best Film and Director by National Board of Review

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Big news for Paul Thomas Anderson’s awards campaign as his film “Licorice Pizza” was named the best picture of the year by the National Board of Review. The MGM and United Artists Releasing movie also picked up prizes for directing, and shared the breakthrough performance award for newcomers Alana Haim and Cooper Hoffman.

Another newcomer having a great day is Latina Rachel Zegler, who won best actress for her turn in Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story.” She is just the second Latina to ever win the category since Fernanda Montenegro in “Central Station” (1998).

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Will Smith has kicked off his awards race in a big way by being named best actor for “King Richard,” while his co-star Aunjanue Ellis nabbed supporting actress.

Veteran actor Ciaran Hinds picked up what’s sure to be the first of many prizes of the season for his performance in Kenneth Branagh’s “Belfast.”

Streamers Amazon Studios and Apple Original Films had a strong day with “A Hero” winning original screenplay and foreign language, while “The Tragedy of Macbeth” took home adapted screenplay and achievement in cinematography.

Notable absences include Aaron Sorkin’s “Being the Ricardos” from Amazon, Ridley Scott’s “House of Gucci” from MGM/UAR, Jane Campion’s “The Power of the Dog” and Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “Tick, Tick … Boom!” from Netflix.

Over the last 30 years, the winner of best film has gone on to receive an Oscar nomination for best picture, with exceptions once every decade — 2014’s “A Most Violent Year,” 2000’s “Quills” and 1998’s “Gods and Monsters.” In the 1980s, there were technically two misses with 1987’s “Empire of the Sun” and 1983’s “Betrayal,” which tied with “Terms of Endearment.” NBR’s most recent best film selections were Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman,” Peter Farrelly’s “Green Book” and George Miller’s “Mad Max: Fury Road.” Last year, Spike Lee’s “Da 5 Bloods” won the top prize but was only able to muster a single Oscar nom, for original score (Terence Blanchard).

Below is the full list of winners.

Best Film: “Licorice Pizza” (MGM/United Artists Releasing)
Best Director: Paul Thomas Anderson, “Licorice Pizza” (MGM/United Artists Releasing)
Best Actor: Will Smith, “King Richard” (Warner Bros)
Best Actress: Rachel Zegler, “West Side Story” (20th Century Studios)
Best Supporting Actor: Ciarán Hinds, “Belfast” (Focus Features)
Best Supporting Actress: Aunjanue Ellis, “King Richard” (Warner Bros)
Best Adapted Screenplay: Joel Coen, “The Tragedy of Macbeth” (Apple Original Films/A24)
Best Original Screenplay: Asghar Farhadi, “A Hero” (Amazon Studios)
Breakthrough Performance: Alana Haim and Cooper Hoffman, “Licorice Pizza” (MGM/United Artists Releasing)
Best Directorial Debut: Michael Sarnoski, “Pig” (Neon)
Best Animated Feature: “Encanto” (Walt Disney Pictures)
Best Foreign Language Film: “A Hero” (Amazon Studios) – Iran
Best Documentary: “Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)” (Searchlight Pictures)
NBR Freedom of Expression Award: “Flee” (Neon & Participant)
Best Ensemble: “The Harder They Fall” (Netflix)
Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography: Bruno Delbonnel, “The Tragedy of Macbeth” (Apple Original Films/A24)

Top Films (in alphabetical order):

  • “Belfast” (Focus Features)

  • “Don’t Look Up” (Netflix)

  • “Dune” (Warner Bros)

  • “King Richard” (Warner Bros)

  • “The Last Duel” (20th Century Studios)

  • “Nightmare Alley” (Searchlight Pictures)

  • “Red Rocket” (A24)

  • “The Tragedy of Macbeth” (Apple Original Films/A24)

  • “West Side Story” (20th Century Studios)

Top 5 Foreign Language Films (in alphabetical order):

  • “Bendetta”

  • “Lamb”

  • “Lingui, The Sacred Bonds”

  • “Titane”

  • “The Worst Person in the World”

Top 5 Documentaries (in alphabetical order):

  • “Ascension” (MTV Documentary Films)

  • “Attica” (Showtime)

  • “Flee” (Neon & Participant)

  • “The Rescue” (National Geographic)

  • “Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain” (Focus Features)

Top 10 Independent Films (in alphabetical order):

  • “The Card Counter” (Focus Features)

  • “C’mon C’mon” (A24)

  • “CODA” (Apple Original Films)

  • “The Green Knight” (A24)

  • “Holler” (IFC Films)

  • “Jockey” (Sony Pictures Classics)

  • “Old Henry” (Shout! Factory)

  • “Pig” (Neon)

  • “Shiva Baby” (Utopia)

  • “The Souvenir Part II” (A24)

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