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National Board of Review 2014 Top 10 and Award Winners

The best film of the year? NBR says so. ()

The best film of the year? NBR says so. (Source)

It’s here! The NBR has spoken!

It’s not one of their great lists–there’s no crazy left-field pick like Walter Mitty here–but there are some pleasant surprises. And certainly A Most Violent Year was an unexpected choice, but from what I’ve heard about it, a reasonable one.

I’ll do the top 10 first (always), then the awards, and once I’ve seen all the films, I’ll do a full report for the NBR Project.

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"You're scared to death, like the rest of us, that you don't matter! And you know what? You're right. You don't." ()

“You’re scared to death, like the rest of us, that you don’t matter! And you know what? You’re right. You don’t.” (Source)

To what degree can a few seconds impact an entire film? In his review of Thelma and Louise, Roger Ebert argues that the climactic shot ends a few seconds too soon, and as such robs the film as a whole of just enough power that it doesn’t get **** from him. And in the case of Birdman, there are a few moments, which add up to less than a minute of the film’s two hours, which haunt me enough that I cannot rank it higher (as of this writing, I put it at #8 for the year). (Addendum: after further meditation, I’ve decided that these elements are not quite as damaging as I first surmised, so I’m bumping my score up a point, and the film up to #6.)

But at the same time, so much of the film is so good–so well directed and so richly acted–that even considering those troubling moments, I cannot rank it less than ****. One could fairly dispute whether it says anything truly new about the nature of acting and about role-playing in general, but it whatever it says, it says it in a tremendously entertaining fashion.

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Predicting my 4th Annual Film Awards: Second Round

Do I think it'll be a contender? Read on. ()

Do I think it’ll be a contender? Read on. (Source)

It’s been three months since my first attempt at predicting what I’ll nominate come January, and it seems to me, with the Venice and Telluride film festivals underway (and once the Toronto festival is over, I’ll go over what films are looking good, which are looking iffy or bad, which are now on my radar which previously weren’t, etc.), it’s a good time to take another look at what I’ll be trumpeting this year.

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Predicting my 4th Annual Film Awards: First Round

As we’re edging towards my 6-Month Film Awards, it’s a good time to start theorizing on what the end of the year will bring. So, based on what looks good, what’s gotten good festival buzz, and what I’ve already seen, here are the first predictions. Obviously, there’s a great deal of guesswork here (last year I had high hopes for The Counselor, and…yeah), but I always get a kick out of doing this.

Each category will have a Top 5 and a 6-10, except for Best Picture, which will have a Top 10 and an 11-20.

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