‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ surprises with National Board of Review Awards victory

Mad Max - Fury Road 2Awards season is off like a heavily distended marathon. Now that it’s going, there’s very little ceasing its numbing procession. Not too long after the Gotham Awards gave us some interesting winners to chew on, the National Board of Review has revealed their 2015 award winners with one supremely appealing choice on top of the package. Rather than go for a more typical prestige choice, the board voted George Miller’s hot-blooded blockbuster Mad Max: Fury Road as their best film of 2015, ensuring a spike of enthusiasm and ignited hopes for a considerable Oscar push for the year’s most viscerally daring studio picture.

As enticing a frontman as their Best Film choice is, though, the rest of NBR’s band couldn’t quite match that impressive key. Their choices often tend to feel scattershot, the product of a group whose tastes can only vaguely be defined, but notably veer towards masculine tendencies. Ridley Scott’s survival-rescue space thriller The Martian continues to build momentum, gathering an expected Director win for Scott, a less expected Actor award for Matt Damon, and an Adapted Screenplay win for Drew Goddard. Another macho crowdpleaser whose presence surprised, Rocky-sequel Creed nabbed a spot in the board’s top 10 films along with handing Supporting Actor to Sylvester Stallone’s return portrayal as Rocky Balboa.

The Martian

Always a brides-martian. Never an imperator, dying historic on the fury road.

To cover every win would be exhausting, though it is notable that Lenny Abrahamson’s Room, Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight and Denis Villeneuve’s Sicario gathered support for their respective campaigns. Unfortunately, the NBR’s choices don’t feel quite as notable as their exclusions, namely sidelining woman-led period romances Carol and Brooklyn and late-game entries Joy and The Revenant. Again, it’s a fairly random group of winners, and Mad Max: Fury Road‘s thrillingly unruly place at the top only makes them seem more unusual. Not the most rousing bunch, but the ball is rolling, and not only in expected patterns.

Best Film: Mad Max: Fury Road
Best Director: Ridley Scott, The Martian
Best Actor: Matt Damon, The Martian
Best Actress: Brie Larson, Room
Best Supporting Actor: Sylvester Stallone, Creed
Best Supporting Actress: Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight
Best Original Screenplay: Quentin Tarantino, The Hateful Eight
Best Adapted Screenplay: Drew Goddard, The Martian
Best Animated Feature: Inside Out
Breakthrough Performance: Abraham Attah, Beasts of No Nation and Jacob Tremblay, Room
Best Directorial Debut: Jonas Carpignano, Mediterranea
Best Foreign Language Film: Son of Saul
Best Documentary: Amy
Best Ensemble: The Big Short
William K. Everson Film History Award: Cecilia De Mille Presley
Spotlight Award: Sicario for Outstanding Collaborative Vision
NBR Freedom of Expression Award: Beasts of No Nation and Mustang

Top Films of 2015:

  • Bridge of Spies
  • Creed
  • The Hateful Eight
  • Inside Out
  • The Martian
  • Room
  • Sicario
  • Spotlight
  • Straight Outta Compton

Top 5 Foreign Language Films:

  • Goodnight Mommy
  • Meditteranea
  • Phoenix
  • The Second Mother
  • The Tribe

Top 5 Documentaries:

  • Best of Enemies
  • The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution
  • The Diplomat
  • Listen to Me Marlon
  • The Look of Silence

Top 10 Independent Films:

  • ’71
  • 45 Years
  • Cop Car
  • Ex Machina
  • Grandma
  • It Follows
  • James White
  • Mississippi Grind
  • Welcome to Me
  • While We’re Young

What are your thoughts on the National Board of Review’s winner selections?

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