'Zero Dark Thirty' Named 2012 Best Picture by National Board of Review

Zero Dark Thirty posterKathryn Bigelow's Zero Dark Thirty enjoys another day in the precursor spotlight as it was named Best Film of 2012 by the National Board of Review. Bigelow was also named Best Director and Jessica Chastain named Best Actress.

David O. Russell's Silver Linings Playbook also finally earned some respect with Bradley Cooper winning Best Actor over the likes of Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln) whose likelihood of winning the Oscar remains unfazed, and Russell winning for Best Adapted Screenplay.

Benh Zeitlin's Beasts of the Southern Wild won for best directorial debut and young Quvenzhané Wallis was named Breakthrough Actress. We can also now start taking Leonardo DiCaprio a little more seriously in the Best Supporting Actor category as he won for his role in Django Unchained.

There were also a couple of nice surprises such as Rian Johnson winning Original Screenplay for Looper and Ann Dowd getting a nice mention for her role in the sometimes overlooked Compliance.

For those of you rushing to move Zero Dark Thirty to the top of your Oscar Best Picture predictions, just know the org voted Hugo last year and before that The Social Network and Up in the Air. In 2008 and 2007 they matched with the Academy with Slumdog Millionaire and No Country for Old Men. Only 11 of their last 30 Best Film winners have gone on to win Oscar's Best Picture and only two of their last ten.

Overall, this is a list of winners to be looked at as just that, winners. The National Board of Review is more likely to help a film get a nomination, but don't look at a perceived "snub" or omission as a sign a film is losing favor in the race.

That said, here is the complete list of winners and the win for Zero Dark Thirty has been added to the Oscar Overture.

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

  • Quvenzhan√© 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

  • The Central Park Five

NBR Freedom of Expression Award

  • Promised Land
  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/HarryFuertes/ Harry Fuertes

    Like you said, I wouldn't take this too seriously. I still think Les Mis is the top with Zero Dark in 2nd and Lincoln in 3rd. But it's nice to see Silver Linings getting some deserved awards.

  • Eric

    Brad, when are you reviewing Zero Dark Thirty?

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/ Brad Brevet

      Next week probably, seeing it tonight.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Anthony_X/ Anthony_X

    I think Zero Dark Thirty will be the critics darling, but once the guilds season starts, Lincoln and Les Miserables will come back fighting. On the other hand, Argo is totally dead for the win. Zero Dark Thirty stole its thunder and it's obvious the critics prefer Bigelow's effort more thant Affleck's.

    Looper absolutely deserved it. I think it can crack in the Screenplay race. I wish it had a chance for Best Picture but its genre won't allow it. Too much bias in the Academy.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Criterion10/ Criterion10

    Well, while this race is clearly still very open, it's safe to say that Zero Dark Thirty will be a major contender. Maybe Megan Ellison will end up with an Oscar this year after all.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Aleonardis/ Aleonardis

    Zero Dark could be this years Social Network + a Directing win...

    It's REALLY awesome to see Perks and Looper getting love. If Looper got that original screenplay nom come Oscar morning I'd be a happy camper.

    • Cory

      I need to see Perks desperately before the year's out! Just dying to see it. I will not make a top ten list for this year until I see it.

  • The Dude

    It's always a good day when there's no love for the incredibly overrated Lincoln.

    • The Dude

      I'd rather watch War Horse again. Its unintentional humor is funnier than Lincoln's intentional humor.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Avatar/ Avatar

    I still believe that Jennifer Lawrence deserves that Oscar.

    • Julie

      Jennifer Lawrence vs Jessica Chastain (Academy Award for Best Actress)
      most probably...

  • Stiggy

    Do you guys rekon that the Golden Globes will only complicate things further with The Hobbit in contention?

    • Chris138

      Based on the early reviews, I don't think The Hobbit is getting any major nominations.

  • Disco Paco

    It looks like Amour has a lock on winning Foreign Film and Sugarman a nomination locked down. What is this special achievement bs for Affleck? Gimme a break. What's so special? Give it to Benh for Beasts or the Cloud Atlas trio or Lee for Pi. Now those are special achievements in filmmaking. Also, I have a feeling we'll see (for the first time) a Leo D. who is having fun and isn't thinking about acting while he's acting.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/maja/ maja

      I don't think that Amour is a lock for winning best Foreign Film. The Academy is notoriously unpredictable in their Best foreign film winners so I still think that one is up in the air.

      • Disco Paco

        You're right.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Ian/ Ian

    Awesome to see Looper getting some recognition. It's still my favorite film of the year, and it won't sniff a single Oscar nomination.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/AS/ AS

    YES! A win for Django! Really hope this makes Django a more serious contender (how awesome would it be if Django all of sudden became the front runner.... well, in my dreams at least).

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Criterion10/ Criterion10

      I know we've had this conversation before, but do be careful what you say about Django until you've seen the film. As much as I loved Inglourious Basterds (and I know that you did too), it's always possible that Django could be a Golden Turkey. Let's not forget what happened this year with Dark Knight Rises, Prometheus, The Master, and many, many others (not that any of those were Golden Turkeys, just that they were disappointing).

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Fox/ Fox

        I enjoyed Prometheus. . .Also not a HUGE QT fan but Django looks pretty promising

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/AS/ AS

        Of course, but I have to get excited about SOMETHING. QT has never once let me down and I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. All of those other movies that disappointed me this year were NOT Tarantino films. After Stanley Kubrick died, it became all about QT for me. He's my guy, and while Anderson, Nolan, Fincher and Scorsese are all masters, no one touches QT (in my book.... and yes, "I actually have a book").

        P.S. QT did a fantastic interview with Howard Stern this morning. It's a MUST listen to:


        • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Criterion10/ Criterion10

          This is a very good interview thus far. Thank you for posting =)

          • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/AS/ AS

            Sure thing. His interviews with Stern are always terrific.

    • http://hypethemovies.wordpress.com Jordan B.

      As someone who greatly enjoys Tarantino's body of work -- even his self-proclaimed worst film, Death Proof -- I would love for Django to be a great film and be in the Oscar conversation, but alas, even if it is great, the film's odds of becoming the front runner in the Best Picture race are zero, zilch, nada.

      • DiscoPaco

        Inglorious Basterds was #3 favorite going into Oscar night behind Hurt Locker and Avatar in 2009. Although its chances of winning were zero. It always comes down to two films. I think that's the best a stylized exploitation film can hope for.

        • http://hypethemovies.wordpress.com Jordan B.

          That's true, but as you said, the chances of Basterds winning were zero, no matter its racetrack odds. Frankly, when I look back at that Oscar race, the two films that should have been 1-2 are Up and Inglourious Basterds -- but of course, the Academy was never going to give the award to an animated flick or to "a stylized exploitation film" (or a "historical revenge fantasy", as I like to call it).

          But truth be told, when I look between the two years (2009 and 2012), I believe that the field is stronger this year than it was 3 years ago. So really Django needs to be better than Basterds was in order to even make a splash of any kind in the Best Picture race, what with films like Zero Dark Thirty, Lincoln, Les Miz, and Argo in the field. No doubt Django will be audacious and much-talked-about upon release, but it will polarize people quite a bit, not to mention it doesn't exactly deal in the most conventional subjects as far as the Oscars go.

          One day, I hope the Academy will come around to QT, though they have already squandered what are like to be their two best opportunities to crown him (Pulp Fiction and Inglourious Basterds). I don't know if he can make movies better than those, as I consider both A-pluses in my book. Here's to hoping!

          • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Aleonardis/ Aleonardis

            I think QT said it best himself by the end of Basterds. "I think this just might be my masterpiece." I don't think He'll ever reach the heights of that movie.

            • http://hypethemovies.wordpress.com Jordan B.

              I just may agree with him in calling that his masterpiece. I go back and forth between Pulp and Basterds as my favorite QT films. Lately, I consider Basterds my favorite of the two, but both are truly magnificent films.

              • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/AS/ AS

                I love Basterds (and Pulp is my favorite of his) but I think Kill Bill is such an epic masterpiece. As much as I love Basterds, it's just not as ambitious as Bill. And I do think there's something to be said for ambition.

            • Arturo

              Looks like Zero Dark Thirty might be the surprise that I was speaking about that might make it a race.

          • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/AS/ AS

            Well, you talk about Basterds and Pulp as being better than his other films as a reason they were both nominated. I don't think this is the case at all. For the sake of argument, let's say those are his two best films; the Academy didn't honor them BECAUSE they were his best. Pulp was nominated because it was such a fresh and buzzed about film. It was the movie to talk about in 1994. I honestly think the only reason Basterds received recognition was because of the WWII aspect. Oscar loves a war film. QT might go on to make 5 movies better than Pulp and Basterds, but unless they tap into something the Academy responds to, he'll never win.

            • http://hypethemovies.wordpress.com Jordan B.

              Well, I definitely did not talk about Basterds and Pulp as being better than his other films "as a reason they were both nominated." My line about the Academy squandering what I believe were likely their two best chances to award QT were simply an opinion of my own, and based on the Oscar races in those 2 years.

              When I look at 1994, I personally see 2 films as worthy Best Picture winners: Pulp and Shawshank. Forrest Gump, the eventual winner, is far less deserving than those two, and I think that the Academy could have very easily gone with Pulp Fiction. But instead, they opted for the uber sentimental crowd-pleaser, Gump.Pulp Fiction was far more deserving, which is what I mean when I say that the Academy squandered their opportunity in this instance. In fact, here, I agree with you. Pulp Fiction was buzzy, it was fresh, it's a movie that has been emulated time and time again since its release -- and it was also very good. It may well be his best film, but that isn't at all a reason I would cite for it being nominated. The Academy didn't have the foresight to use that as a reason.

              As far as 2009 goes, I mentioned already that I personally think the race for Best Picture should have been between Up and Inglourious Basterds. The Hurt Locker is a good, effective, thoughtful war drama, but it is by no means the best film of that year. Nor is Avatar, the probable second-place finisher that year. But I don't think you can say that Inglourious Basterds was nominated solely because it was a WWII movie. It had the 3rd most nominations that year (8 total), which means that it had to have been considered as a strong film, overall, by Academy members. If the WWI setting was the only reason for its nomination, it would have received a Best Picture nomination and almost nothing else. But instead, it received 7 other nominations, including noms in major categories like Director, Screenplay, Supporting Actor, and Editing.

              I agree with your final statement, though, that unless he makes something more Academy-friendly, he'll never win. Which is exactly why I don't think that Django has a chance of making a splash in the race. If it was a different year (and if it's a great film, which we don't yet know), it could, but with 4 or 5 other strong films (Les Miz, Lincoln, Zero Dark, Argo) that it would need to be as good as or better than, it simply won't happen. Those play to the Academy far better than QT ever has.

              • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/AS/ AS

                "and if it's a great film, which we don't yet know), it could." - Well, this kinda gets at my point which you responded to in your first paragraph. It feels like your saying that if a movie is actually GREAT, it has a better chance at getting nominated. I completely disagree with this. The Academy doesn't nominate movies because they are great films, so let's throw that myth out the window right now. They nominate them because there's something about them that 60 year-old white men responded to. I mean, you can go down the list an pull out bad film after bad film that's been nominated for BP and great film after great film that wasn't. Just look at last year: War Horse and Extremely Loud. Both terrible films, but they were both nominated while Drive, Shame and Dragon Tattoo were hung out to dry. If you're lucky you might get 1 or 2 truly great films nominated, but believe me, a film being "great" is no pre-requisite when it comes to the Academy.

                The WWII setting was definitely not the ONLY reason it was nominated. Certainly not. But you do have to look at Basterds and wonder why it was nominated when at the end of the day, it's completely in line with his other films. There is a reason Basterds was nominated while Kill Bill and Jackie Brown weren't. And I don't think it has anything to do with quality.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/HelloKitty/ Hello Kitty

    Tom Holland has been around forever. I guess no one noticed him before.

    • Caddie

      His name is so close to Tom Hollander that I get them confused. But Tom Holland is a kid, one of the boys who played Billy Elliot in the London stage version. Tom Hollander is the amusing grown up comedic actor who has brightened up innumerable films, eg Hanna, A Good Year.

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/HelloKitty/ Hello Kitty

        Thanks for cluing me in. I'd never heard of him.

  • Chris

    No The Master, Life of Pi, or Moonrise Kingdon in their top ten list either.

  • Arturo

    Wow, it does keep looking like Zero Dark Thirty is the surprise of the season and will might make it race.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/HelloKitty/ Hello Kitty

      Isn't it too soon for Bigalow to do a repeat of 2009?

      • http://hypethemovies.wordpress.com Jordan B.

        If so, then it would also be too soon for Hooper to pull a repeat of 2010.

        • Arturo

          Agree I don't see either winning best director this year, I think that's between Affleck and maybe Spielberg. I actually meant to erase the "will" from my sentence, ad say that Zero Dark thirty might make it a race. I still see Les Mis taking best pic.

  • Chris

    I'd love to see Looper score at least a Best Original Screenplay nom.

  • V

    I really fail to see what is so impressive about the screenplay for Looper. Came across as a generic, derivative time-travel plot out of a graphic novel/superhero book/dark anime. A good story, but awards worthy? Even an Oscar nom would be a huge disservice to all of the excellent sci fi movies overlooked by the Academy previously.