'Up in the Air' wins National Board of Review

The National Board of Review has named Up in the Air as its Best Picture of 2009. It’s a huge boost to its overall award chances, given that last year’s NBR honoree was eventual Oscar winner Slumdog Millionaire. Invictus and The Messenger also fared very well overall. The complete list of winners is below. Though Up in the Air was my prediction for NBR’s winner, I managed to forecast only six of the NBR’s Top 11 correctly. (Missing from that list, by the way? Precious and Nine.) Congratulations to commenters Ama, MrFord, BenG, and Ibad for predicting 8 each. And don’t forget to follow me on Twitter (@davekarger) to get instant Oscar-related updates.

Best Picture Up in the Air

Top 10 Films
An Education
(500) Days of Summer
The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
The Messenger
A Serious Man
Star Trek
Where the Wild Things Are

Best Director Clint Eastwood, Invictus

Best Actor George Clooney, Up in the Air, and Morgan Freeman, Invictus

Best Actress Carey Mulligan, An Education

Best Supporting Actor Woody Harrelson, The Messenger

Best Supporting Actress Anna Kendrick, Up in the Air

Best Original Screenplay Joel and Ethan Coen, A Serious Man

Best Adapted Screenplay Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner, Up in the Air

Breakthrough Actor Jeremy Renner, The Hurt Locker

Breakthrough Actress Gabourey Sidibe, Precious

Best Foreign-Language Film A Prophet

Top Five Foreign-Language Films
The Maid
Song of Sparrows
Three Monkeys
The White Ribbon

Best Documentary The Cove

Top Five Documentaries
Burma VJ
Food, Inc.
Good Hair
The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers

Best Animated Film Up

Best Ensemble Cast It’s Complicated

Best Directorial Debut Duncan Jones, Moon; Oren Moverman, The Messenger; Marc Webb, (500) Days of Summer

BVLGARI Award for Freedom of Expression Burma VJ, Invictus

Top 10 Independent Films
Goodbye Solo
In the Loop
Me and Orson Welles
Two Lovers

Check out my OscarWatch interview with Up in the Air’s Jason Reitman, after the jump.

[ewbrightcove “29888952001”, “53762389001”, “525”, “470”]

Comments (94 total) Add your comment
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  • Jason

    Very glad to see “Up” and “Where the Wild Things Are” on this list. Shocked at the absence of “Precious.”

    • KR

      I’m also surprised to not see Precious make the top ten

      • AK

        “Precious” didn’t even make the list for indies! This is absurd.

    • Cherish

      The fact that they put “Where The Wild Things” are on the list is a joke. That movie was the biggest flop of the year and was ok but definitely not on my top ten. No “Precious” is ridiculous that just confirms my suspicions that a “ghetto” movie with normal looking people cant be respected in this “uppity” beautiful rich people society that we have uplifted for so long.

    • Jay

      I went and saw Precious last night and to tell you the truth the movie was boring. Maybe I was expecting more because of all the hype but I’ve seen better movies.

  • Joseph T

    Precious does not make the list but Star Trek?! Really, this is some sort of joke.

    • ryan

      While I’m sorry Precious was left out, I am not sorry Nine didn’t make the list (C’mon, great cast, but really not an impressive movie. It runs on names). Also, I’m glad to see Star Trek on this list, because hopefully it will encourage directors to make blockbusters that actually have a plot and are good movies, as opposed to say, Transformers….

    • Dede

      I just saw Star Trek last night. It absolutely deserves its place on the list. Fantastic film, this and The Dark Knight give me hope that Hollywood will start making smarter movies for the popcorn season.

      • Anne

        Ditto. I loved Star Trek and thought it was WAY better than many Oscar wooing films.

      • B

        Agreed. Both TDK and Star Trek are very well done “blockbusters”. I hope Hollywood continues this trend with smart directors and great actors.

      • ks

        I am a huge fan of all the movies-yes even the motion picture (Great idea, badly executed)
        I absolutley LOVE the new movie, was fun, had a plot line and the acting was spot on.
        Super glad the soundtrack has been nominated for a grammy :)

    • Barry

      The jokes on Oprah!!! LMAO

  • E.

    The absence of “Precious” and “A Single Man” seems a bit absurd, almost if they aren’t interested in films about minority experience if they are at all transgressive. Really, “Inglorious Basterds” is a more significant achievement than either of these films?

    • davey

      Why pick Inglourious Basterds and not other films like Star trek or The Hurt Locker or (500) Days of Summer to make your point? I actually thought IB was a pretty significant achievement for film this year.

      • Doc

        I personally find Inglourious Basterds and (500) Days of Summer to be two of the best films of the year. So there.

  • Tim G. (@rural_juror)

    Very impressive list. Congrats to Reitman & Up in the Air! Saw it last night and loved it. Very deserving.

  • paige

    good call Karger on your Up in the Air prediction… I’m suprised that It’s Complicated made best ensemble over Nine or anything else…

    • Urvy

      Which Nine? There’s two of them with the same title, I think you meant the one with the ragdolls vs. machines movie.

      • Kelsey

        Um, no.
        One is “9” and the other is “Nine.” He meant the one with Daniel Day-Lewis, Marion Cotillard, Nicole Kidman, Kate Hudson, Sophia Loren, Judi Dench and Penelope Cruz. You know, the one that kind of screams “best ensemble.”

      • jared4ever

        lol Kelsey

    • paige

      lol thanks Kelsey… I dont know why Urvy thought an animated film would ever win Best Ensemble but ok

      • DEX

        it’s called a troll

    • Nate

      Up In The Air winning the NBR doesn’t say anything about its eventual Oscar chances and comparing it to Slumdog is erroneous for they are completely different movies. Slum had universal praise, more so than any other film this decade whereas UP In The Air has mixed reviews. I don’t see it winning the Oscar at all.

  • Brady

    Where The Wild Things Are? Really?

  • steven

    How can the NBOR shell out awards when some year-end films remain un-screened? NOBODY has seen AVATAR or NINE yet….right?

    • RubyBaby

      Perhaps they get DVD screeners from the studios in advance? Who knows…they’ve made their choice and it will be interesting to see how the choices of the critics circles/groups and the Golden Globe people match this in coming weeks.

    • Urvy

      Which Nine? The Little Big Planet-inspired movie or the musical?

      • Ugh

        If they meant the animated movie, they’d say “9,” not “Nine.” One is a digit, the other is spelled out. Since this is in writing, I’m not why it’s that hard to tell them apart.

      • paige

        Urvy you need to get 9 outta your system.. barely anyone remembers that movie even came out…

  • tg

    Precious got screwed. And there is not a better performance this year than Mo’Nique’s.

    • paige

      i gotta agree with you

  • Yvan

    urgh, horrible list. clooney? mulligan? a serious man for screenplay? all so overrated. and unfortunately all my predictions for oscar wins. next year’s oscars are gonna be worse than this year’s.

    i hope hurt locker, inglorious basterds and bright star get last-minute boosts.

  • Bruce L

    Gotta say: I’m having a tough time processing how somebody could appreciate “Inglourious Basterds” enough to make it one of their top 10 films of the year, and yet not give their Best Supporting Actor award to Christoph Waltz, whose performance is not only the best performance of the year, but also the best thing in “Basterds.”

    • Barry

      He’ll get his reward hopefully as the next James Bond villian.

  • Taylor

    Surprised to see 500 days of summer on there. I think it’s a fairly overrated film. Cute, nice performances, interesting concept, but ultimately forgettable. Very surprised about Precious. Very glad about Hurt Locker and Inglourious Basterds and Up.

  • Jack

    Excellent, quality list. Deftly avoids Oscar bait like Nine, Precious and The Lovely Bones.

    Up, Star Trek, Inglourious Basterds, Where the Wild Things Are, The Hurt Locker, A Serious man…these are the films 2009 will be remembered for.

    Glad to see Up in the Air take it. A crowd-pleaser for sure, but at least it is an excellent one.

  • spencer

    also, where’s The Lovely Bones?

    • Bruce L

      The limited advance reviews there’ve been of “The Lovely Bones” seem to indicate that it’ll underwhelm – in a big way – fans of the source material or people who are looking to Peter Jackson to dial back the scale of his vision to “Heavenly Creatures” levels.

  • bruno

    yeah! where the wild things are!!! and i called the hurt locker for best pic….never question karger!

  • doopey

    I’m just glad “Up” made the list.

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