Martin Scorsese’s acclaimed Netflix drama The Irishman has picked up this year’s top award from the National Board of Review, a sturdy indicator of Oscars success.
The crime saga, starring Robert De Niro and Al Pacino, was named 2019’s best film, following in the footsteps of Green Book last year which went on to win the Academy award for best picture.
“We are thrilled to award The Irishman as our best film,” said NBR president Annie Schulhof in a statement. “Martin Scorsese’s masterful mob epic is a rich, moving, beautifully textured movie that represents the best in what cinema can be.”
Steven Zaillian also picked up the prize for best adapted screenplay for the film. But Scorsese missed out on the award for best director which instead went to Quentin Tarantino for his 60s-set hit Once Upon A Time in Hollywood.
The lead acting prizes were handed to Adam Sandler for indie thriller Uncut Gems and Renee Zellweger for musical biopic Judy. Supporting awards were given to Brad Pitt for Once Upon A Time in Hollywood and Kathy Bates for Clint Eastwood’s Richard Jewell.
The announcement arrives the day after Netflix also triumphed at the Gotham awards with Noah Baumbach’s divorce drama Marriage Story taking top prizes for best feature and best actor. Next week sees the Golden Globe nominations unveiled.
The National Board of Review is a New York-based organisation made up of “a select group of knowledgeable film enthusiasts, academics, and film-makers”.
List of winners:
Best film: The Irishman
Best director: Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Best actor: Adam Sandler, Uncut Gems
Best actress: 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
Breakthrough performance: 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: Parasite
Best documentary: Maiden
Best ensemble: Knives Out
Outstanding achievement in cinematography: Roger Deakins, 1917
Top films (in alphabetical order)
Dolemite is My Name
Ford v Ferrari
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Top 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