Oscar Watch: A Most Violent Year

The Best Picture race took yet another turn today when the National Board of Review named JC Chandor’s early 80s set New York City crime thriller A Most Violent Year as its choice for film of the year. Chandor is the well-regarded director of both Margin Call and All is Lost. The picture stars Oscar Isaac, Jessica Chastain, Albert Brooks, and David Oyelowo. Critical reception has been outstanding as it rates 93% on Rotten Tomatoes at press time.

How significant is a National Board of Review victory? Let’s go the stats as only two NBR winners in the last 25 years have not been nominated for Picture at the Oscars (1998’s Gods and Monsters and 2000’s Quills).

I have yet to include Year among my nine predicted nominees in past blog posts. That is highly likely to change when I do my next round of predictions (probably next week). While its nomination seems forthcoming, a win seems out of reach. Only eight of the last 25 years NBR winners have gone onto win the big prize and Year definitely seems well behind Boyhood, Birdman, The Imitation Game, and Selma (and maybe some others).

As for other nominations, JC Chandor has improved his opportunity for a directing nod, as have Oscar Isaac for Actor and Jessica Chastain for Supporting Actress. Chastain seems the most probable right now, due to the more crowded fields in the other categories. In fact, one of Isaac’s main competitors is his Violent costar Oyelowo (whose nod seems assured for Selma). The film could also sneak into the Original Screenplay derby, which is also a packed race.

Any way you look at it – A Most Violent Year improved its Academy opportunities today with the NBR’s activity.


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