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  • by Jeff Beck

National Board of Review Names Licorice Pizza Best Film of 2021

Award season officially kicks off today as The National Board of Review announces their annual winners, with Paul Thomas Anderson's latest film "Licorice Pizza" claiming the top prize. The film also received Best Director (Anderson) and Breakthrough Performance (Alana Haim & Cooper Hoffman).

The NBR tends to make some rather interesting choices, ones that often don't match up with the eventual Oscar winners (you may recall their big winner last year was "Da 5 Bloods." which ultimately received one Oscar nod for Original Score). However, these are some very strong contenders this year, especially Will Smith for Best Actor, and from the critical raves it's been getting, Anderson and "Licorice Pizza" will certainly be in the mix (though many expect "Belfast" to be the one to beat).

Taking a quick look at the Top Ten, it's interesting to see some films that haven't made much of a splash. "The Last Duel" has gotten rather middling reviews, while the reactions to "Nightmare Alley" (which just premiered last night) has been getting about the same reaction so far, but several major contenders are there as expected, including "Belfast," "King Richard," and "Don't Look Up."

Tomorrow sees the New York Film Critics Circle making their announcement, so be sure to check back to see who their big winners are as the deluge of critics groups awards continues. In the meantime, please see below for a complete list of the NBR's honorees:

Best Film: LICORICE PIZZA Best Director: Paul Thomas Anderson, LICORICE PIZZA Best Actor: Will Smith, KING RICHARD Best Actress: Rachel Zegler, WEST SIDE STORY Best Supporting Actor: Ciarán Hinds, BELFAST Best Supporting Actress: Aunjanue Ellis, KING RICHARD Best Original Screenplay: Asghar Farhadi, A HERO Best Adapted Screenplay: Joel Coen, THE TRAGEDY OF MACBETH Breakthrough Performance: Alana Haim & Cooper Hoffman, LICORICE PIZZA Best Directorial Debut: Michael Sarnoski, PIG Best Animated Feature: ENCANTO Best Foreign Language Film: A HERO Best Documentary: SUMMER OF SOUL (…OR, WHEN THE REVOLUTION COULD NOT BE TELEVISED) Best Ensemble: THE HARDER THEY FALL Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography: Bruno Delbonnel, THE TRAGEDY OF MACBETH NBR Freedom of Expression Award: FLEE

Top Films (in alphabetical order) Belfast Don’t Look Up Dune King Richard The Last Duel Nightmare Alley Red Rocket The Tragedy of Macbeth West Side Story

Top 5 Foreign Language Films (in alphabetical order)

Benedetta Lamb Lingui, The Sacred Bonds Titane The Worst Person in the World

Top 5 Documentaries (in alphabetical order) Ascension Attica Flee The Rescue Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain

Top 10 Independent Films (in alphabetical order)

The Card Counter C’mon C’mon CODA The Green Knight Holler Jockey Old Henry Pig Shiva Baby The Souvenir Part II

Follow me on Twitter @BeckFilmCritic.


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