Anyone who truly reads my Oscar coverage each year (which is in the tens) knows how much I love the National Board of Review. It’s my favorite voting body. They’re the only precursor group whose nominations/awards I actually look forward to. Everything else is marginal to me. The reason I love them is twofold. First, it’s the only group with as much history as the Oscars. And second, it’s the group that tends to be closer to my own personal tastes than any other one.
To get more specific about that first point — NBR started in 1909, when a bunch of theater owners banded together to show that films, which were looked at as a “lower” art form, and pretty immoral based on their content, to say, “No, look, these films are artistic.” So they would put their stamp on approval on the films they thought furthered the art form and showed what cinema could be. And in 1930, two years into the Oscars, they started putting out a list of their ten favorite movies each year. Which they’ve continued to this day. And unlike all the other precursor groups, they’re not just industry people (SAG and the other guilds) and they’re not just critics (HFPA, BFCA). They’re made up of critics and students and film lovers and people who just love movies. They are as locked into their tastes as anyone — I can always count on them to have certain types of films on their list each year — but very rarely do I look at their list and straight up disagree with more than one, maybe two of their choices.
Which brings me to that second part — I find that almost every year, their top ten films are almost all in my top 25 films of the year. Maybe like one of them falls outside of that. And when there is something outside, it’s never something I straight up disagree with. It’s always, “Yeah, I get it.” I always compare them to that good friend you have who also loves movies… sure there are gonna be things they like that you don’t, but you’re always like, “Yeah, I get it. You love those kinds of movies.” That’s how I feel about them. We may not be entirely aligned, but we generally agree and I know that, sight unseen, I already am like 70% in line with them. (more…)
Every year at this time, I post about how much I love the National Board of Review and their choices historically. The group is as old as the Oscars are, so there’s a lot of history to go by. They’re the one group who, every year, when they name their ten best films, at least 8 of them are in my top 25. And of the other two, one I go, “Yeah, that was really good,” and the other I go, “Wasn’t quite for me as much, but I get it.” With them, you know, they like auteurs. For years, Clint Eastwood automatically got on. Sully made it on last year. This year, I can tell you at least 60% of the list, sight unseen. That’s just how they are, that’s why I love them.
The quick history — NBR started as a bunch of theater owners and distributors in 1909, right when states were getting upset about the immorality of the movies. They got together to put a seal of approval on movies they thought were artistic. Then in 1930 (so like 2 years into the Oscars), they started putting out their list of ten favorite movies a year. The best thing about them is that they’re not just a critics group. I find that critics groups can start buying into their own tendencies and get very pretentious and or bandwagon-y. NBR is made up of critics and professors and students and film lovers and an assortment of people who just love movies.
In a way, this is the unofficial kick-off to Oscar season. NBR always announces first, and while they don’t have a huge impact on the race necessarily, it is really cool to see which way they go. (more…)
This is one of my five favorite days of the awards season. I love hearing what NBR picks as their choices each year. Those twelve people who regularly read this website already know how gushy I get over NBR, and I’m sure by now it’s, “Yes, Mike, we get it. Shut up with the NBR already.” I hate myself for it. I hate that I call them NBR. I get it. But I still love them.
To me, the National Board of Review is the one organization that is most in tune with my own tastes as a movie watcher. That’s not to say that I agree with every film they put on their list. It just means that, like a good friend, I agree with most of their choices, and based on their consistency of taste, I understand why they choose certain films. Take me for instance. You see me rate a certain kind of movie and you go, “Yeah, I get it. You don’t like horror movies.” And based on knowing that, you can judge how you’d feel about it based on my opinion of it. And that’s what NBR is to me. I know they love Clint Eastwood (so without even looking I know Sully is on their list this year), so I get it. I can’t get mad when I see Sully, because I know that’s what they like.
They have, very consistently over the years, matched with my tastes of favorite films, to the point where, generally about 9 or 10 of their 11 choices end up as my top 20 or 25 favorite films of the year. So you can see why I get so excited when their list comes out. (more…)
Those who have read the spew of nonsense I’ve been writing for the past five years know this is perhaps my favorite article of the year to write. (Top five, for sure.) I love the National Board of Review.
Everybody else puts stock into the Globes, or SAG, or BAFTA — forget that. NBR is where it’s at. The National Board of Review is the one organization I feel the greatest kinship with in terms of mutual film tastes. When they release their lists, I find myself agreeing with almost all of it. They usually have 5 of their top 10 the same as mine, and almost all of their films feature into my top 20 or 25 films of the year. No one else has that kind of ratio with me. (more…)
Not gonna lie to you — in the entire Oscar season, this is one of my five favorite days. I don’t care about the Golden Globes, or the SAG Awards. That’s just ho hum, moving along stuff. NBR, though — that’s my All-Star Game.
I’m a very open fan of the National Board of Review and how they do things. Mostly because I find myself always agreeing with at least 80% of their choices. Every year. They just always seem to have it right. Even more so than AFI, who feels like they go more for appealing to people (by putting stuff like Bridesmaids and Iron Man on there) than by going with what they truly feel.
I’m not gonna go on forever. Essentially, I love when they come out with their lists. To me, the most fun articles I get to write during Oscar season are the NBR winners, the Best Original Song analysis (of all the eligibles), guessing what’s gonna be nominated, making my final picks, and honestly I can’t even think of the fifth right now.
And before we get into this year’s NBR winners, I’ll prove to you how awesome they are. (more…)
Love me some NBR.
This is one of my most anticipated announcements during Oscar season. To me, the National Board of Review is one of the groups that usually gets things right.
As a quick background — the National Board of Review started in 1909, and was basically a group that championed films. At the time, film wasn’t considered an art form, and was more of an amusing sideshow, and NBR really became the first critics group to say, “No, there’s actually some really great stuff here.” And they were the first group to put out a top ten list every year, which they did starting in 1930.
And most of the time, their top ten list is really good. So much so that I actually went and pulled every single top ten list they’ve ever put out and found myself (in the years where I’ve seen all of the nominees, or even most of them), completely agreeing with them most of the time. Of their ten films, I will always find myself completely on board with eight of them, and maybe being iffy about two of them (which can usually be traced back to the things they usually go for rather than things I usually go for. So 80% +/- personal tastes is a really good number).
Anyway, they announced their 2013 winners today, and I’m about to go over them: (more…)
I’ve always been a fan of the National Board of Review. (In fact, at some point, possibly even today, though I wouldn’t count on it, I’m probably going to talk about NBR and how I’ve always liked their choices throughout history. Mostly in the Best Picture section. I don’t really care about the acting categories at all.)
In case you didn’t know, the National Board of Review started in New York in 1909 to basically champion films (since they were relatively new at the time, and they wanted to recognize them as an art form and not as escapist entertainment, as the public saw them at the time). And in 1930, they became the first critics group to list their ten favorite films of the year. Their awards are determined by sending out ballots to their members (who are film enthusiasts, academics, filmmakers and students, who all live in the New York area) and having them tabulated by accountants.
They’re usually very good at picking high quality films. I find myself able to agree with them most of the time. In most years, I usually disagree with only one or two of their choices, and the rest I can understand from a taste standpoint. (Or the fact that they always vote for certain people’s films.) So when they announce their winners, I’m paying attention. (more…)