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National Board of Review Names ‘The Irishman’ Best Movie of the Year

Giving Netflix another shot in the arm as it prepares to throw down the Oscar gauntlet, the National Board of Review has named Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman” the best film of the year.

The organization — comprised of filmmakers, professionals and academics, also named Steven Zallian’s script for “The Irishman” as best adapted screenplay of the year. Scorsese’s opus hit the steaming service over last week’s Thanksgiving holiday, and the film will continue to roll out in theaters in the coming weeks.

Quentin Tarantino was named best director for “Once Upon a Time” in Hollywood.  Renée Zellweger was named best actress for her turn in “Judy,” and Adam Sandler was awarded best actor for “Uncut Gems.” Zellweger and Sandler triumph in those categories less than 24 hours after Awkwafina (“The Farewell”) and Adam Driver (“Marriage Story”) took the same respective honors at Monday’s Gotham Awards. Both the actor and actress categories are largely perceived as stacked with contenders this season.

Other big winners of the NBR include Kathy Bates as best supporting actress in Clint Eastwood’s “Richard Jewell,” and Brad Pitt as best supporting actor for “Once Upon a Time.” The Safdie Brothers and Ronald Bronstein took best original screenplay for “Uncut Gems.” Outstanding achievement in cinematography went to Roger Deakins for “1917.”

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“Maiden,” the tale of the first all-female crew to compete in a grueling nine-moth yacht race, took best documentary. The board voted “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World,” as best animated film, and Bong Joon Ho’s “Parasite” as best foreign language film. The cast of “Knives Out” was named the year’s best ensemble cast.

NBR President Annie Schulhof called “The Irishman” a masterful mob epic “that represents the best in what cinema can be.  We are also excited to be presenting Scorsese, Robert De Niro and Al Pacino with our inaugural Icon Award – they are the true definition of cinematic icons, each with their own exceptional body of work,”

The board also issues prizes for breakthrough work. Melina Matsoukas won best directorial debut for “Queen & Slim,” and “Richard Jewell” lead Paul Walter Hauser was celebrated as best breakthrough performance.  Awards will be handed out on Jan. 8 at Cipriani in New York City, during a gala ceremony hosted by Willie Geist.

Read the full list of winners:

Best Film: “The Irishman” 
Best Director: Quentin Tarantino, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” 
Best Actor: Adam Sandler, “Uncut Gems” 
Best Actress: Renée Zellweger, “Judy” 
Best Supporting Actor: Brad Pitt, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” 
Best Supporting Actress: Kathy Bates, “Richard Jewell” 
Best Original Screenplay: Josh Safdie, Benny Safdie, Ronald Bronstein, “Uncut Gems” 
Best Adapted Screenplay: Steven Zaillian, “The Irishman” 
Breakthrough Performance: Paul Walter Hauser, “Richard Jewell” 
Best Directorial Debut: Melina Matsoukas, “Queen & Slim” 
Best Animated Feature: “How  to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” 
Best Foreign Language Film: “Parasite” 
Best Documentary: “Maiden” 
Best Ensemble: “Knives Out” 
Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography: Roger Deakins, “1917”
NBR Icon Award: Martin Scorsese, Robert De Niro, Al Pacino
NBR Freedom of Expression Award: “For Sama”
NBR Freedom of Expression Award: “Just Mercy” 

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