'A Most Violent Year' Named Best Film by National Board of Review

'A Most Violent Year'

The group revealed its picks for 2014's best on Tuesday

The National Board of Review on Tuesday revealed its 2014 film awards, naming A Most Violent Year as the best film. The J.C. Chandor-written and -directed movie, set during what was statistically the worst year in New York City for violent crimes, won three prizes from the NBR, the first major awards to go to the film.

A Most Violent Year won't hit theaters until a Dec. 31 limited release, just under the wire for an Oscar-qualifying run. The movie stars former Juilliard classmates Jessica Chastain and Oscar Isaac. (Isaac was nominated for a best actor Gotham award Monday night but lost to Birdman star Michael Keaton).

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Keaton and Isaac tied for the NBR award for best actor. Chastain also won the NBR's best supporting actress prize for her role as the tough wife of Isaac's straightforward businessman.

"A Most Violent Year is an exhilarating crime drama with a compelling story, outstanding performances and an elegant cinematic style,” NBR president Annie Schulhof said in a statement. “J.C. Chandor has given us a new and provocative perspective on the American Dream."

Julianne Moore won the NBR's best actress prize for her work in Still Alice, her second honor in less than 24 hours after Monday night's Gotham award. Clint Eastwood won best director for American Sniper, another film that hits theaters in late December.

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Well-reviewed Oscar hopeful Boyhood, which was named best picture by the New York Film Critics Circle on Monday and won the Gotham audience award that same night, was surprisingly shut out by the NBR, but it was named one of the year's best films.

Other noteworthy winners from the NBR list include Edward Norton (best supporting actor for his work in Birdman), Phil Lord and Chris Miller (best original screenplay for The Lego Movie, which was named the best animated film by the NYFCC, an honor that the NBR gave to How to Train Your Dragon 2), Jack O'Connell (breakthrough performance for his work in Starred Up and Unbroken) and Chris Rock, who won the spotlight award for writing, directing and starring in Top Five, which hits theaters on Dec. 12.

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Last year's best film, according to the NBR, was Spike Jonze's Her, which only won one Oscar, for best original screenplay. Past NBR best film winners include Zero Dark Thirty (2012), Hugo (2011), The Social Network (2010) and Up in the Air (2009).

The NBR awards are voted on by a select group of knowledgeable film enthusiasts, professionals, academics, young filmmakers and students.

The honors will be presented at a Jan. 6 gala at New York's Cipriani 42nd Street, hosted, as they were last year, by Good Morning America co-host Lara Spencer.

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A complete list of winners follows.
Best Film:  A Most Violent Year
Best Director:  Clint Eastwood – American Sniper
Best Actor (TIE):  Oscar Isaac – A Most Violent Year; Michael Keaton – Birdman
Best Actress: Julianne Moore – Still Alice
Best Supporting Actor:  Edward Norton – Birdman
Best Supporting Actress:  Jessica Chastain – A Most Violent Year
Best Original Screenplay:  Phil Lord & Christopher Miller – The Lego Movie
Best Adapted Screenplay:  Paul Thomas Anderson – Inherent Vice
Best Animated Feature:  How to Train Your Dragon 2
Breakthrough Performance:  Jack O’Connell – Starred Up & Unbroken
Best Directorial Debut:  Gillian Robespierre – Obvious Child
Best Foreign Language Film:  Wild Tales
Best Documentary:  Life Itself
William K. Everson Film History Award:  Scott Eyman
Best Ensemble:  Fury
Spotlight Award:  Chris Rock for writing, directing, and starring in – Top Five
NBR Freedom of Expression Award:  Rosewater
NBR Freedom of Expression Award:  Selma
Top Films:
American Sniper
Gone Girl
The Imitation Game
Inherent Vice
The Lego Movie
Top 5 Foreign Language Films:
Force Majeure
Gett: The Trial of Vivian Amsalem
Two Days, One Night
We Are the Best!
Top 5 Documentaries:
Art and Craft
Jodorowsky’s Dune
Keep On Keepin’ On
The Kill Team
Last Days in Vietnam
Top 10 Independent Films:
Blue Ruin
A Most Wanted Man
Mr. Turner
Obvious Child
The Skeleton Twins
Stand Clear of the Closing Doors
Starred Up
Still Alice

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