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Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods took top honors from the National Board of Review, with the Netflix Vietnam War feature being named best film and Lee winning best director.
The film’s cast also received best ensemble honors while late star Chadwick Boseman was recognized with the NBR Icon Award. The Icon Award “celebrates the work of leading cinematic artists who contribute meaningfully to the history, culture and excellence of motion pictures,” NBR said in its Tuesday awards announcement.
“The NBR is proud to honor Da 5 Bloods, Spike Lee, and the film’s incredible ensemble cast, along with all of our 2020 awardees. Lee is one of our greatest filmmakers, a bold auteur with a cinematic vision and an astute perspective on human relationships, focusing at times on that intersection between the personal and the political. Da 5 Bloods is not only a unique portrait of the experience and lingering trauma of Black Vietnam War veterans, but also a moving story of enduring friendship, a suspenseful jungle treasure hunt, and a powerful reckoning with the American dream,” said NBR president Annie Schulhof. “We are also honored to present the posthumous NBR Icon Award to Chadwick Boseman, an extraordinary talent who represented the best of what an actor could be no matter what the role.”
Minari and Sound of Metal each won two awards. Minari‘s Lee Isaac Chung won best original screenplay honors while Youn Yuh-jung was named best supporting actress for her work in the A24 film. Riz Ahmed won best actor for his work in Sound of Metal, with Paul Raci named best supporting actor for his work in the same Amazon film.
Promising Young Woman star Carey Mulligan was named best actress for her work in Focus Features’ Emerald Fennell-directed revenge thriller, while Universal’s News of the World was recognized for best adapted screenplay by Paul Greengrass and Luke Davies.
Never Rarely Sometimes Always star Sidney Flanigan was recognized with the NBR’s breakthrough performance award, just hours after the film took the lead among nominees for the 2021 Film Independent Spirit Awards.
Miss Juneteenth‘s Channing Godfrey Peoples was honored with the award for best directorial debut; Soul won best animated feature; La Llorona was named best foreign-language film; Time won best documentary and Nomadland‘s Joshua James Richards was recognized with an award for outstanding achievement in cinematography.
One Night in Miami received NBR’s Freedom of Expression award, while Forty-Year-Old Version writer-director-producer-star Radha Blank won the Spotlight award.
The organization’s honors are voted on by a group of film enthusiasts, professionals, academics, filmmakers and students.
In 2019, NBR selected The Irishman as its pick for best film. Previous NBR best film winners include Green Book (2018), The Post (2017), Manchester by the Sea (2016) and Mad Max: Fury Road (2015).
A complete list of the 2020 National Board of Review award winners follows. Honorees, typically recognized at a glitzy New York City event, will be celebrated at a later date, NBR said.
Best Film: Da 5 Bloods
Best Director: Spike Lee, Da 5 Bloods
Best Actor: Riz Ahmed, Sound of Metal
Best Actress: Carey Mulligan, Promising Young Woman
Best Supporting Actor: Paul Raci, Sound of Metal
Best Supporting Actress: Youn Yuh-jung, Minari
Best Adapted Screenplay: Paul Greengrass & Luke Davies, News of the World
Best Original Screenplay: Lee Isaac Chung, Minari
Breakthrough Performance: Sidney Flanigan, Never Rarely Sometimes Always
Best Directorial Debut: Channing Godfrey Peoples, Miss Juneteenth
Best Animated Feature: Soul
Best Foreign Language Film: La Llorona
Best Documentary: Time
NBR Icon Award: Chadwick Boseman
NBR Freedom of Expression Award: One Night in Miami
NBR Spotlight Award: Radha Blank for writing, directing, producing and starring in The Forty-Year-Old Version
Best Ensemble: Da 5 Bloods
Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography: Joshua James Richards, Nomadland
Top Films (in alphabetical order):
The Forty-Year-Old Version
Judas and the Black Messiah
The Midnight Sky
News of the World
Promising Young Woman
Sound of Metal
Top 5 Foreign-Language Films (in alphabetical order):
The Mole Agent
Night of the Kings
Top 5 Documentaries (in alphabetical order):
All In: The Fight for Democracy
Dick Johnson Is Dead
The Truffle Hunters
Top 10 Independent Films (in alphabetical order):
Never Rarely Sometimes Always
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