This afternoon, the National Board of Review bestowed its 2017 honors and it marks the first significant critics group to do so. The NBR has a history and habit of making some outside the box choices in years past for various categories. That didn’t necessarily hold true today, for the most part.
By far and wide, the big winner of the day was Steven Spielberg’s The Post, which just recently screened and has yet to have its review embargo lifted. The Watergate era drama won Best Film along with Actor (Tom Hanks) and Actress (Meryl Streep). Buzz for the pic has already vaulted it into contention and today basically solidifies its inclusion into Best Picture at the Oscars. In this decade, only 2014’s A Most Violent Year was victorious and didn’t land an Academy nod.
Streep looks on her way to her 21st nomination and Hanks is looking better for his sixth. In the Suporting races, Willem Dafoe for The Florida Project and Laurie Metcalf in Lady Bird heard their names called. Both look safe for Oscar attention.
Additionally, the NBR names their ten other favorite features of the year. That list include likely Oscar nominees Call Me by Your Name, Dunkirk, Lady Bird, and Phantom Thread (which took Original Screenplay). There were sleeper-ish picks such as The Disaster Artist (which won Adapted Screenplay), The Florida Project, and Get Out. And then there were the aforementioned outside the box choices – Baby Driver, Downsizing, and Logan. Any of that trio being included in the big race would be a surprise.
In my view, there are three glaring omissions for pictures that are more likely to have Oscar shine its light on them: The Shape of Water, Darkest Hour, and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. To a lesser degree of surprise, we didn’t see Mudbound, I, Tonya, Last Flag Flying, Detroit, Blade Runner 2049, Battle of the Sexes, or The Big Sick.
In other categories, Oscar front runner Coco took Animated Feature, Jane won Documentary, and Israel’s Foxtrot was honored in the Foreign Language race.
Bottom line: The Post ramped up its awards season viability today in a massive way.