A Most Violent Year, J.C. Chandor’s tense tale of the American dream set against the backdrop of 1982 New York City, vaulted into the Oscar conversation when the National Board of Review selected it as the year’s best film. In addition, Oscar Isaac was named Best Actor—in a tie with Birdman‘s Michael Keaton—and Jessica Chastain won for Best Supporting Actress, boosting the film’s chances in multiple categories.
Birdman garnered some support: Keaton was joined by Edward Norton, who was named Best Supporting Actor. But the film’s director Alexandro Iñárritu lost out to Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper, which, like Chandor’s film, doesn’t open in theaters until the end of December. Richard Linklater’s Boyhood, though it was named one of the year’s best films by the NBR, was otherwise shut out.
Last year, of the 11 films name-checked by the NBR in their Top Films list, only five of them were nominated in the same category by the Academy.
Best Film: A Most Violent Year
Best Director: Clint Eastwood, American Sniper
Best Actor (tie): Oscar Isaac, A Most Violent Year; Michael Keaton, Birdman
Best Actress: Julianne Moore, Still Alice
Best Supporting Actor: Edward Norton, Birdman
Best Supporting Actress: Jessica Chastain, A Most Violent Year
Best Original Screenplay: Phil Lord & Christopher Miller, The Lego Movie
Best Adapted Screenplay: Paul Thomas Anderson, Inherent Vice
Best Animated Feature: How to Train Your Dragon 2
Breakthrough Performance: Jack O’Connell, Starred Up & Unbroken
Best Directorial Debut: Gillian Robespierre, Obvious Child
Best Foreign Language Film: Wild Tales
Best Documentary: Life Itself
William K. Everson Film History Award: Scott Eyman
Best Ensemble: Fury
Spotlight Award: Chris Rock for writing, directing, and starring in Top Five
NBR Freedom of Expression Award: Rosewater
NBR Freedom of Expression Award: Selma
The Imitation Game
The Lego Movie
Top 5 Foreign Language Films
Gett: The Trial of Vivian Amsalem
Two Days, One Night
We Are the Best!
Top 5 Documentaries
Art and Craft
Keep On Keepin’ On
The Kill Team
Last Days in Vietnam
Top 10 Independent Films
A Most Wanted Man
The Skeleton Twins
Stand Clear of the Closing Doors
This year’s ceremony will take place on Jan. 6 in New York City.