'Hugo' Named Best Film of the Year by the National Board of Review

The New York-based group gives its top acting prizes to George Clooney and Tilda Swinton.

The National Board of Review has named Martin Scorsese's Hugo as the best film of the year. The group, comprised of scholars, filmmakers and students, also gave Scorsese its best director prize for its 3D homage to the early days of film, produced by GK Films and released by Paramount.

Hugo is such a personal film by Martin Scorsese,” said Annie Schulhof, NBR president. “It is a tribute to the early years of cinema that uses today's cutting edge technology to bring the audience into a completely unique and magical world.  It is visually stunning and emotionally engaging.”

PHOTOS: Martin Scorsese on Set

The NBR handed its top acting prizes to George Clooney for The Descendants and Tilda Swinton for We Need to Talk About Kevin. Both performers play parents dealing with challenges in their lives, although Descendants steers between humorous and dramatic moments while Kevin is much more starkly dramatic.

Descendants also claimed the best screenplay adaptation award for Alexander Payne (who also directed), Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, as well as best supporting actress for Shailene Woodley, who plays Clooney's elder daughter.

COVER STORY: Martin Scorsese Talks 'Hugo,' Recurring Nightmares and How His 12-Year-Old Rules the Roost

Christopher Plummer was hailed as best supporting actor for his performance as a father who comes out late in life in Beginners.

Best original screenplay honors went to Will Reiser for the cancer comedy 50/50.

David Fincher's The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo, which screened for the group Monday, secured one trophy: a breakthrough performance award for Rooney Mara, who plays the title character. A second breakthrough perfromance award went to Felicity Jones, who stars in the geography-challenge romance Like Crazy.

PHOTOS: THR's Awards Season Actors Roundtable

The complete list of winners Includes:

Best Film: Hugo

Best Director: Martin Scorsese, Hugo

Best Actor: George Clooney, The Descendants

Best Actress: Tilda Swinton, We Need to Talk About Kevin

Best Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer, Beginners

Best Supporting Actress: Shailene Woodley, The Descendants

Best Original Screenplay: Will Reiser, 50/50

Best Adapted Screenplay: Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon & Jim Rash, The Descendants

Best Animated Feature: Rango

Breakthrough Performance: Felicity Jones, Like Crazy

Breakthrough Performance: Rooney Mara, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Debut Director: J.C. Chandor, Margin Call

Best Ensemble: The Help

Spotlight Award: Michael Fassbender (A Dangerous Method, Jane Eyre, Shame, X-Men: First Class)

NBR Freedom of Expression: Crime After Crime

NBR Freedom of Expression: Pariah

Best Foreign Language Film: A Separation

Best Documentary: Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory

Special Achievement in Filmmaking: The Harry Potter Franchise - A Distinguished Translation from Book to Film

The NBR also issued several best-of-year lists, with the movies listed in alphabetical order. They are:


Top Films

The Artist

The Descendants


The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

The Ides of March

J. Edgar

Tree of Life

War Horse

Top 5 Foreign Language Films

13 Assassins

Elite Squad: The Enemy Within


Le Havre

Point Blank

Top 5 Documentaries

Born to be Wild


George Harrison: Living in the Material World

Project Nim


Top 10 Independent Films


Another Earth


A Better Life

Cedar Rapids

Margin Call


Take Shelter

We Need To Talk About Kevin