The National Board of Review has tightened the Oscar race in favor of Martin Scorsese’s gangster drama, which has been named by the awards body as the best film of 2019. Scorsese and stars Robert De Niro and Al Pacino also share the group’s Icon Award for their Netflix collaboration, which has thus far emerged as an early frontrunner for the Best Picture Oscar.
NBR’s top 10 list also includes breakout contenders 1917, Dolemite Is My Name, Ford v Ferrari, Jojo Rabbit, Knives Out, Marriage Story, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Richard Jewell, Uncut Gems, and Waves, all of which appear unranked on the year-end collection recognizing the best movies released over the last 12 months.
On the acting side, Uncut Gems star Adam Sandler earned Best Actor, while Renée Zellweger’s Oscar chances increased further as her performance as Judy Garland in the Judy biopic was named the NBR’s best female performance of the year. Richard Jewell‘s Kathy Bates took a surprise victory for Best Supporting Actress over frontrunner Jennifer Lopez (Hustlers), while Best Supporting Actor winner Brad Pitt (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood) also continued his upward trajectory toward a likely Oscar nomination with NBR recognition.
Comprised of film enthusiasts, academics, and other industry professionals, the NBR was established in 1909 by theater owners who opposed the revoking of exhibition licenses by New York City officials. Recently, it has grown into a reliable forecaster of awards season tastes, with its choices generally aligned with the Academy’s. Still, the group has also served as a significant springboard for titles breaking into the race in recent years, as NBR chart-toppers Her and Mad Max: Fury Road received significant bumps on the precursor circuit ahead of multiple Oscar nods in 2014 and 2016, respectively.
Across the last 20 years, only two of the NBR’s top-film winners have missed out on a Best Picture Oscar nomination: 2000’s Quills and 2014’s A Most Violent Year. Last year, after bagging the coveted TIFF People’s Choice Award, Peter Farrelly’s Green Book landed atop the NBR’s list en route to winning Best Picture at the Oscars.
Check out the full list of 2019 NBR winners below.
Best Film: The Irishman
Best Director: Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood
Best Actor: Adam Sandler, Uncut Gems
Best Actress: Renée Zellweger, Judy
Best Supporting Actor: Brad Pitt, Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood
Best Supporting Actress: Kathy Bates, Richard Jewell
Best Original Screenplay: Josh Safdie, Benny Safdie, Ronald Bronstein, Uncut Gems
Best Adapted Screenplay: Steven Zaillian, The Irishman
Breakthrough Performance: Paul Walter Hauser, Richard Jewell
Best Directorial Debut: Melina Matsoukas, Queen & Slim
Best Animated Feature: How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
Best Foreign Language Film: Parasite
Best Documentary: Maiden
Best Ensemble: Knives Out
Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography: Roger Deakins, 1917
NBR Icon Award: Martin Scorsese, Robert De Niro, Al Pacino
NBR Freedom of Expression Award: For Sama
NBR Freedom of Expression Award: Just Mercy
Top Films (in alphabetical order)
Dolemite Is My Name
Ford v Ferrari
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Top 5 Foreign Language Films (in alphabetical order)
Pain and Glory
Portrait of a Lady on Fire
Top 5 Documentaries (in alphabetical order)
The Black Godfather
Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese
Top 10 Independent Films (in alphabetical order)
Give Me Liberty
A Hidden Life
The Last Black Man in San Francisco
The Peanut Butter Falcon