‘Killers of the Flower Moon’ Named Best Picture by National Board of Review, Lily Gladstone and Paul Giamatti Nab Top Acting Honors

‘Killers of the Flower Moon’ Named Best Picture by National Board of Review, Lily Gladstone and Paul Giamatti Nab Top Acting Honors
Photo by Lloyd Dirks / Unsplash

Section: Entertainment

In a dazzling affirmation of cinematic excellence, the National Board of Review (NBR) has crowned “Killers of the Flower Moon” as the Best Picture of the year. The announcement, made on Wednesday, highlights the film's captivating storytelling and exceptional artistic merit.

Directed by the venerable Martin Scorsese and co-distributed by Apple Original Films and Paramount Pictures, this crime epic has not only clinched the top honor but also brought accolades to Scorsese for Best Director and Lily Gladstone for Best Actress. This triumph marks a historic moment for Scorsese, tying him with the illustrious David Lean for four wins - the highest in NBR history.

The NBR, known for its discerning selections, has historically been a bellwether for the Oscars, though it's noteworthy that its alignment with the Academy's Best Picture choice has been less consistent. Notable exceptions over the past decades include films like “A Most Violent Year,” “Quills,” and “Gods and Monsters,” each reflecting the NBR's unique taste.

Recent years have seen the NBR's choice for Best Film spanning a diverse range of genres and styles. From Spike Jonze’s introspective “Her” to the high-octane “Mad Max: Fury Road” by George Miller, and the aerial adrenaline of “Top Gun: Maverick,” the NBR has showcased a wide appreciation for cinematic artistry.

Turning to the acting honors, Paul Giamatti’s portrayal in “The Holdovers” has earned him the Best Actor award. His victory follows in the footsteps of previous NBR awardees who have gone on to claim Oscar glory, including Casey Affleck and Will Smith. However, not all NBR winners have found favor with the Academy, as highlighted by the snubs of Oscar Isaac, Tom Hanks, and Adam Sandler in recent years.

Lily Gladstone's victory for her role in “Killers” echoes her success at the New York Film Critics Association. The trend of NBR lead actress winners proceeding to the Oscars is more pronounced, with recent examples like Brie Larson, Renée Zellweger, and Michelle Yeoh. Nonetheless, the path to Oscar recognition is not guaranteed, as seen in the cases of Lesley Manville, Tilda Swinton, Emma Thompson, and Rachel Zegler.

In the supporting categories, Mark Ruffalo and Da’Vine Joy Randolph received accolades for their performances in “Poor Things” and “The Holdovers,” respectively. Their films also dominated the screenplay awards, demonstrating the breadth of talent recognized this year.

Remarkably, the last couple of years have seen all four NBR acting winners securing Oscar nominations, a testament to the NBR's keen eye for outstanding performances.

The NBR, comprising film enthusiasts, critics, academics, and consumer members from New York City, also unveiled its top 10 movies of the year. This list features a mix of mainstream blockbusters and artistic gems, including “Barbie,” “Maestro,” “Oppenheimer,” and the surprising inclusion of Hayao Miyazaki’s “The Boy and the Heron.” Interestingly, despite Miyazaki’s entry in the top 10, the animated prize was awarded to “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse.”

Among the top 10 is Sean Durkin’s “The Iron Claw,” a powerful drama that also snagged the Best Ensemble award. However, notable exclusions like Cord Jefferson’s “American Fiction,” Ava DuVernay’s “Origin,” and Blitz Bazawule’s “The Color Purple” demonstrate the NBR's eclectic taste and unpredictability.

It’s important to remember that an absence from the NBR's top 10 is not a definitive indicator of a film's Oscar prospects. History shows us that films like “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” and “The Shape of Water,” both overlooked by the NBR, went on to achieve Oscar success.

The NBR Awards Gala, a much-anticipated event in the film industry, is scheduled for Jan. 11 at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York City. Hosted by Willie Geist, the ceremony promises to be a star-studded celebration of this year's finest in cinema.

Full List of NBR Winners:

  • Best Film: “Killers of the Flower Moon” (Apple Original Films/Paramount Pictures)
  • Best Director: Martin Scorsese —