A Most Violent Year
Credit: Atsushi Nishijima

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

Top Films

American Sniper




Gone Girl

The Imitation Game

Inherent Vice

The Lego Movie



Top 5 Foreign Language Films

Force Majeure

Gett: The Trial of Vivian Amsalem


Two Days, One Night

We Are the Best!

Top 5 Documentaries

Art and Craft

Jodorowsky’s Dune

Keep On Keepin’ On

The Kill Team

Last Days in Vietnam

Top 10 Independent Films

Blue Ruin


A Most Wanted Man

Mr. Turner

Obvious Child

The Skeleton Twins


Stand Clear of the Closing Doors

Starred Up

Still Alice

This year’s ceremony will take place on Jan. 6 in New York City.

A Most Violent Year
  • Movie
  • 125 minutes