×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Will Oscar Listen to Spike Jonze’s ‘Her’ After NBR Win?

The National Board of Review’s selection of “Her” as best film of 2013 made it official: This year’s awards race is not a two-way battle — it’s more like a royal rumble, where a flood of wrestlers are involved in a huge smackdown to gain the top spot.

The wins for best pic and for “Her” director Spike Jonze are also like a market correction. The media (including Variety) has devoted energy to the question of whether Scarlett Johansson should be considered for supporting actress though she’s never seen in the film. (The answer is that she is indeed eligible for SAG and Oscar attention.)

It’s an interesting question, but the curiosity factor of the voice performance has taken some of the focus away from the work of writer-director Jonze, actor Joaquin Phoenix and the rest of the Warner Bros. pic’s virtues. Whether the Academy will embrace the understated sci-fi flavored romance is another story, as its dramatic impact could be too subtle to appeal to the typical Oscar voter.

In a great year for film with a lot of high-profile year-end releases, the Warner Bros. pic’s prestige boost is a big help.

Popular on Variety

Other films getting a leg up include “Fruitvale Station” (with three NBR wins), “Nebraska” (with two), docu “Stories We Tell” and Hayao Miyazaki’s animated “The Wind Rises,” which each repeated their wins from Tuesday’s New York Film Critics Circle.

But while a win from the NBR is not necessarily an omen for an Oscar statue, it’s a good bet for a nomination: For the past 13 years, every National Board of Review best picture winner has been Oscar-nommed. The NBR’s 2012 honorees included “Zero Dark Thirty” for best picture, director Kathryn Bigelow, Bradley Cooper (“Silver Linings Playbook”) and Jessica Chastain (“Zero”). While those two thesps earned Oscar noms, neither of NBR’s supporting winners did: Leonardo DiCaprio (“Django Unchained”) and Ann Dowd (“Compliance”).

The National Board, which tends to pick more populist, less auteur-type titles, spread the wealth around quite a bit, reflecting how hard it is to pick a front-runner for the moment. There was even a “career collaboration” award for Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese, as if the org didn’t want to leave out any of the current hot titles.

And the NBR’s top 10 lists (of films and indies) put a spotlight on some seasonal dark horses, including “Lone Survivor,” “The Place Beyond the Pines,” “Prisoners,” “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” and “Short Term 12.”

More Film

  • Zola Cast at Sundance

    How Janicza Bravo and the ‘Zola’ Cast Brought the Viral Twitter Thread to Life

    Five years after A’Ziah Wells King posted the Twitter thread known as #thestory — a tale of how a trip from Detroit to Tampa, Fla., to earn money stripping quickly devolved into a wild ride, featuring a kidnapping, a shooting, sex trafficking and a suicide attempt — the real-life “Zola” is celebrating the film adaptation’s [...]

  • Priyanka Chopra Bollywood

    Priyanka Chopra Jonas in Final Negotiations to Join 'Matrix 4' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Priyanka Chopra Jonas is taking the red pill. The actress and international beauty icon is in final talks to join the cast of the untitled fourth film in the Matrix saga, the Wachowskis’ game-changing action franchise, insiders close to negotiations said. The Warner Bros. and Village Roadshow film is being directed by series co-creator Lana [...]

  • The Photograph Issa Rae Stella Meghie

    How ‘Love & Basketball’ Allowed Issa Rae to Dream

    Issa Rae says she had every reason to think she could be a filmmaker when she was growing up. “The ’90s had lots of black television and film … a lot of the shows were helmed by black people,” she recalls. “That’s what inspired me to at least try it.” She may have only been [...]

  • Little Women

    Writers Infuse Serious WGA Awards Contenders 'Parasite,' 'Little Women,' 'Jojo Rabbit' with Humor

    This year’s crop of WGA-nominated adapted and original screenplays appears on the surface to be a grim lot. There’s war (“1917,” “Jojo Rabbit”), insidious homewreckers (“Parasite”), a Civil War-era coming-of age (“Little Women”) and an arch murder investigation (“Knives Out”), to name just a few of the nominated scripts. But here’s a surprise: Every one [...]

  • Cathy Yan Birds of Prey Director

    'Birds of Prey' Director Cathy Yan Reveals the Crucial Advice Patty Jenkins Gave Her

    Just months after Cathy Yan’s feature directing debut, Shanghai-set ensemble comedy “Dead Pigs,” made a big splash at Sundance in 2018, the Chinese-born filmmaker landed a gig helming a giant studio franchise movie, the DC Comics adaptation “Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn),” starring Margot Robbie. Going straight from indie buzz [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content