The National Board of Review names Martin Scorsese's The Irishman as the best film of 2019. Fresh off the Oscar success of last year's Roma, Netflix is once again looking to make a major splash during awards season. The streaming giant has plenty of acclaimed titles vying for accolades, including Dolemite is My Name and Marriage Story. But their crown jewel this year is arguably The Irishman, the latest crime epic from Scorsese. After spending years in development hell, the film finally held its world premiere during the New York Film Festival in September. There, it started to generate buzz as one of Scorsese's finest efforts.
Prior to The Irishman, Scorsese released seven films in the 21st century. Only two of those pictures (Shutter Island and Silence) did not receive Best Picture nominations at the Oscars. With that statistic in mind, it wasn't surprising when many awards pundits placed The Irishman high on their prediction lists. There's still a long way to go before the Academy weighs in with their nominations, but The Irishman just earned a very important victory on its road to Oscar Sunday.
Today, the National Board of Review named The Irishman the best film of 2019. It wasn't the only award The Irishman earned from NBR. Screenwriter Steven Zaillian took home Best Adapted Screenplay, and the trio of Scorsese, Robert De Niro, and Al Pacino won the NBR Icon Award (which undoubtedly is a career achievement award). You can see the list of NBR's top films of 2019 below:
Dolemite is My Name
Ford v Ferrari
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
NBR is one of the more prominent Oscar precursors. Since 2015, all of the organization's picks for Top Film (including Green Book last year) went on to earn a Best Picture nomination from the Academy. So, this honor obviously bodes well for The Irishman's chances as awards season heats up. However, the same can't necessarily be said for all of the movies on this list. While there's typically some crossover between NBR and the Oscars, their lists are never perfectly matched. Case in point: in 2018, the likes of A Quiet Place, Mary Poppins Returns, and If Beale Street Could Talk were recognized by NBR, but were not among the Academy's choices for Best Picture. It'll be interesting to see how things transpire in the coming weeks; some of these films are bound to pop up time and time again, judging by word-of-mouth.
The Irishman received the top prize, but NBR was also extremely beneficial for Uncut Gems. The Safdie brothers' latest effort has steadily been building buzz since its own tour of the festival circuit earlier in the year, though was never really considered a major player for Oscar nods. Winning Best Actor (Adam Sandler) and Best Original Screenplay could change that, since it makes Uncut Gems more of a must-see title. Voters don't always have the time to watch everything vying for awards, so Uncut Gems' big showing at NBR will likely move it to the top of the screener pile, perhaps leading to more glory over the next couple of months.
Source: National Board of Review