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NBR Spreads the Love: Does Adam Sandler Get an Oscar Boost With His Best Actor Win?

Less than 24 hours after “Marriage Story” swept the Gotham Awards with four wins, it failed to snag any major prize Tuesday from the National Board of Review.

However, the Noah Baumbach divorce drama did land on the NBR’s top ten film list. Meanwhile, NBR’s top honor went to “The Irishman.”

What does this mean for Baumbach’s trip to the Oscars? Don’t read too much into it because both the Gothams and the NBR have spotty records picking eventual Oscar winners. And keep in mind the Gothams are for independent films so the “The Irishman” wasn’t even in the running on Monday night.

“Green Book” picked up the top prize at NBR and the Oscars last year, but then the acting awards only duplicated Regina King’s wins for supporting actress for “If Beale Street Could Talk.” In 2017, NBR went all out for Steven Spielberg’s “The Post,” with best film as well as top acting honors for Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep. The movie made it onto the Oscar ballot for best picture and Streep got a nom, but Hanks was shut out by the Academy.

While “The Irishman” was named this year’s best film by the NBR, the director award went to Quentin Tarantino  for “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.” However, “The Irishman” trio of Martin Scorsese, Robert De Niro and Al Pacino will receive the group’s inaugural Icon Award so it will be a big night for the Netflix film nonetheless.

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Brad Pitt’s Oscar contender status continues with his NBR supporting actor win for “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” as does Renee Zellweger’s, who took the NBR actress award for her transformation into Judy Garland in “Judy.”

Clint Eastwood’s “Richard Jewell” is considered a strong Oscar contender, so Kathy Bates’s NBR win for supporting actress and Paul Walker Hauser’s breakthrough award could land them some more support after the film got a late start for awards season. The Warner Bros. drama about the 1996 bombing at the Olympics in Atlanta didn’t start screening until late last month so it has some catching up to do for awareness. “Marriage Story,” “The Irishman” and “Once Upon a Time In Hollywood” started their awards campaign much earlier, working the film festival circuit from Cannes to Telluride, Venice and Toronto.

And then there’s Adam Sandler. The funny man didn’t win the Gotham for best actor for “Uncut Gems” — that went to Adam Driver for “Marriage Story” — but NBR gave him the top actor honor. His directors Benny and Josh Safdie received NBR’s original screenplay prize with their co-writer Ronald Bronstein.

Sadly, Greta Gerwig’s much buzzed-about “Little Women” was completely shut out by the NBR, not even making it on to the top films list.

The Gotham Independent Film Awards are voted on by filmmakers, critics, journalists and festival programmers, while the NBR’s membership is a nebulous group of “film enthusiasts, filmmakers, professionals, academics and students.” So it’s hard to say whether either groups’ tastes will be in tune with the Academy.

The NBR will hold its annual awards ceremony and dinner on Jan. 8 at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York City.

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