The pic was also honored with best adapted screenplay, for writer Steven Zaillian, with director Martin Scorsese and stars Robert De Niro and Al Pacino set to receive an Icon Award, which NBR introduced this year to honor “cinematic artists who have contributed meaningfully to the history, culture, and excellence of motion pictures.”
The NBR honors for Scorsese’s highly anticipated, long-in-the-works crime epic come after the film was recognized with nominations for the AARP’s Movies for Grownups Awards and honors at the Palm Springs and Santa Barbara film festivals and Hollywood Film Awards. The Irishman has received stellar reviews, boasting a 96 percent freshness rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and is currently streaming on Netflix after hitting theaters on Nov. 1.
The Irishman plaudits also come less than 24 hours after Netflix had a big night at the Gotham Independent Film Awards, with one of its other movies, Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story, winning four awards in a sweep. Marriage Story was listed as one of NBR’s top films of the year.
Other multiple honorees included Warner Bros.’ Richard Jewell, Sony’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and A24’s Uncut Gems, which received two awards apiece. Once Upon a Time helmer Quentin Tarantino was named best director, with the film’s Brad Pitt also taking best supporting actor honors. Renée Zellweger was tapped as best actress for her work in Judy, and Uncut Gems‘ Adam Sandler was named best actor.
Uncut Gems writers Benny and Josh Safdie and Ronald Bronstein won best original screenplay honors; the Safdies also directed the film. The two awards for Clint Eastwood’s latest film, Richard Jewell, went to Kathy Bates (best supporting actress) and Paul Walter Hauser (breakthrough performance).
Other major winners include Melina Matsoukas (best directorial debut for Queen & Slim), How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (best animated feature), Parasite (best foreign language film), Maiden (best documentary), Knives Out (best ensemble) and Roger Deakins (best cinematography for his work on 1917).
NBR’s Freedom of Expression Awards went to For Sama and Just Mercy.
“We are thrilled to award The Irishman as our best film — Martin Scorsese’s masterful mob epic is a rich, moving, beautifully textured movie that represents the best in what cinema can be,” NBR president Annie Schulhof said in a statement. “We are also excited to be presenting Scorsese, Robert De Niro and Al Pacino with our inaugural Icon Award — they are the true definition of cinematic icons, each with their own exceptional body of work, and all in top form in The Irishman.”
The organization’s honors are voted on by a group of film enthusiasts, professionals, academics, filmmakers and students.
Last year, NBR selected future best picture Oscar winner Green Book as its best film. The previous year it picked The Post. In 2016, NBR picked Manchester by the Sea, and in 2015 the top honor went to Mad Max: Fury Road. While all of those films earned Academy Award nominations, NBR has a mixed track record in terms of predicting Oscar contenders.
In 2014, the organization selected A Most Violent Year as its best film, but the J.C. Chandor-directed drama about New York in 1981 was completely snubbed by the Oscars. The year before, NBR chose Spike Jonze’s Her as its best film. That movie won only one Oscar, for best original screenplay. Previous NBR best film winners include Zero Dark Thirty (2012), Hugo (2011), The Social Network (2010) and Up in the Air (2009).
The latest winners will be recognized during a Jan. 8 gala at New York’s Cipriani 42nd Street, hosted, as they were last year, by NBC News’ Willie Geist.
A full list of this year’s awards recipients follows.
Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Adam Sandler, Uncut Gems
Renée Zellweger, Judy
Best Supporting Actor
Brad Pitt, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Best Supporting Actress
Kathy Bates, Richard Jewell
Best Original Screenplay
Josh Safdie, Benny Safdie, Ronald Bronstein, Uncut Gems
Best Adapted Screenplay
Steven Zaillian, The Irishman
Paul Walter Hauser, Richard Jewell
Best Directorial Debut
Melina Matsoukas, Queen & Slim
Best Animated Feature
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
Best Foreign Language Film
Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography
Roger Deakins, 1917
NBR Icon Award
Martin Scorsese, Robert De Niro, Al Pacino
NBR Freedom of Expression Award
Top Films (in alphabetical order)
Dolemite Is My Name
Ford v Ferrari
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Top Five Foreign Language Films (in alphabetical order)
Pain and Glory
Portrait of a Lady on Fire
Top Five Documentaries (in alphabetical order)
The Black Godfather
Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese
Top 10 Independent Films (in alphabetical order)
Give Me Liberty
A Hidden Life
The Last Black Man in San Francisco
The Peanut Butter Falcon