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National Board honors ‘The Social Network’

Critics org release picks of 2010

Facebook drama “The Social Network” has been friended in a major way by the National Board of Review.

NBR selected Sony’s drama as its top film of the year along with Jesse Eisenberg as the top actor, David Fincher as best director and Aaron Sorkin for adapted screenplay.

The NBR, which made the announcement Thursday in New York, listed “Social Network” and nine other films as their top 10 in alphabetical order — “Another Year,” “The Fighter,” “Hereafter,” “Inception,” “The King’s Speech,” “Shutter Island,” “The Town,” “Toy Story 3,” “True Grit” and “Winter’s Bone.”

Awards will be presented Jan. 11, with Meredith Vieira hosting.

The Social Network,” centering on the founding of Facebook, has been a solid performer at the box office with $90 million in domestic grosses in two months of release. It’s the second NBR award for Fincher, who also won for “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.”

“We believe the film portrays a dramatic story that will stand up over time and appeal to many generations,” NBR prexy Annie Schulhof said. “The NBR screened over 250 films this year, from big studios to small independents, and I think our winners reflect the diversity and goal of the organization, which is to honor excellence in filmmaking.”

Schulhof told Daily Variety that she was particularly enthused over the inclusion a pair of indies — “Another Year” and “Winter’s Bone” — in the top 10 list as a sign of the continued importance of titles made outside the major studios.

Org also opted for several indie pics in its other major categories. Lesley Manville took best actress for Mike Leigh’s “Another Year,” Jacki Weaver won supporting actress for Australian drama “Animal Kingdom,” and Chris Sparling drew the original screenplay nod for “Buried.”

Christian Bale took supporting actor for his portrayal of a drug addict in “The Fighter.”

“Of Gods and Men” won foreign film, and “Waiting for Superman” took the docu trophy. “Toy Story 3” was selected as the animated film winner and “The Town” won for ensemble cast.

Jennifer Lawrence continued to build buzz as she won the breakthrough award for “Winter’s Bone.” The bleak drama won at the Gotham Awards on Monday for top feature and cast, then led the Spirit Awards with seven noms on Tuesday.

Schulhof said she was pleased that the Special Filmmaking Achievement Award had gone to Sofia Coppola for writing, directing, and producing “Somewhere.” Coppola won the same award in 2003 for “Lost in Translation.”

NBR also lauded Dante Ferretti with a production design award for “Shutter Island” as part of its ongoing presentation of special awards for craft. Past honorees have included cinematographers Conrad Hall and Roger Deakins.

The NBR, comprised of 110 film critics and historians, is the oldest such group in the U.S.

Its picks last year didn’t match Oscar winners in any major categories — “Up in the Air” was the top film, and the comedy-drama’s George Clooney was top actor along with Morgan Freeman for “Invictus.” “Up in the Air” also copped NBR trophies for Anna Kendrick in the supporting actress category and for Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner in adapted screenplay. Carey Mulligan (“An Education”) won the actress award, and Woody Harrelson took supporting actor for “The Messenger.” All were nominated for Oscars.

“Slumdog Millionaire” and “No Country For Old Men” won the NBR top film awards in the previous two years and went on to win the best picture Oscar.

NBR’s list of top 10 indies didn’t include several titles receiving multiple Spirit Award nominations, including “The Kids Are All Right,” “Black Swan” and “127 Hours.”


Film: “The Social Network”

Director: David Fincher, “The Social Network”

Actor: Jesse Eisenberg, “The Social Network”

Actress: Lesley Manville, “Another Year”

Supporting Actor: Christian Bale, “The Fighter”

Supporting Actress: Jacki Weaver, “Animal Kingdom”

Foreign Language Film: “Of Gods and Men”

Documentary: “Waiting for Superman”

Animated Feature: “Toy Story 3”

Ensemble Cast: “The Town”

Breakthrough Performance: Jennifer Lawrence, “Winter’s Bone”

Debut Directors: Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington, “Restrepo”

Spotlight Award: Sylvain Chomet and Jacques Tati, “The Illusionist”

Original Screenplay: Chris Sparling, “Buried”

Adapted Screenplay: Aaron Sorkin, “The Social Network”

Special Filmmaking Achievement Award: Sofia Coppola for writing, directing, and producing “Somewhere”

William K. Everson Film History Award: Leonard Maltin

NBR Freedom of Expression: “Fair Game,” “Conviction,” “Howl”

Production Design Award: Dante Ferretti, “Shutter Island”

Ten Best Films

  • “Another Year”
  • “The Fighter”
  • “Hereafter”
  • “Inception”
  • “The King’s Speech”
  • “Shutter Island”
  • “The Town”
  • “Toy Story 3”
  • “True Grit”
  • “Winter’s Bone”

Five Best Foreign-Language Films

  • “I Am Love”
  • “Incendies”
  • “Life, Above All”
  • Soul Kitchen
  • “White Material”

Five Best Documentaries

  • “A Film Unfinished”
  • “Inside Job”
  • “Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work”
  • “Restrepo”
  • “The Tillman Story”

Top Ten Independent Films:

  • “Animal Kingdom”
  • “Buried”
  • “Fish Tank”
  • “The Ghost Writer”
  • “Greenberg”
  • “Let Me In”
  • “Monsters”
  • “Please Give”
  • “Somewhere”
  • “Youth in Revolt”

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