In a real surprise, the National Board of Review has selected summer action flick ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ as the Best Film of the Year.  It’s unusual for a big commercial film of this nature to land such a prestigious award.  In the past 15 years, two such winners, 2007’s ‘No Country For Old Men’ and 2008’s ‘Slum Dog Millionaire’ went on to win the Oscar for Best Picture of the Year.  Does that mean that the George Miller-directed action movie could find itself in the running for the same honor?  Its chances are suddenly a lot better!

Annie Schulhof, the president of the NBR explained:

“2015 has been a banner year for popular cinema.  We are thrilled to be awarding George Miller and Ridley Scott, two iconic filmmakers at the top of their game, while also celebrating the next generation of talent.”

Indeed, while Miller’s ‘Mad Max’ took the top prize, Scott’s ‘The Martian’ another acclaimed and also financially successful film won the most awards: Best Director for Scott; Best Actor for Matt Damon; and Best Adapted Screenplay for Drew Goddard.

Here is the full list of winners and honors:

Best Film: Mad Max: Fury Road
Best Director: Ridley Scott – The Martian
Best Actor: Matt Damon – The Martian
Best Actress: Brie Larson – Room
Best Supporting Actor: Sylvester Stallone – Creed
Best Supporting Actress: Jennifer Jason Leigh – The Hateful Eight
Best Original Screenplay: Quentin Tarantino – The Hateful Eight
Best Adapted Screenplay: Drew Goddard – The Martian
Best Animated Feature: Inside Out
Breakthrough Performance: Abraham Attah – Beasts of No Nation & Jacob Tremblay – Room
Best Directorial Debut: Jonas Carpignano – Mediterranea
Best Foreign Language Film: Son of Saul
Best Documentary: Amy
William K. Everson Film History Award: Cecilia De Mille Presley
Best Ensemble: The Big Short
Spotlight Award: Sicario, for Outstanding Collaborative Vision
NBR Freedom of Expression Award: Beasts of No Nation & Mustang

Top Films
Bridge of Spies
The Hateful Eight
Inside Out
The Martian
Straight Outta Compton

Top 5 Foreign Language Films
Goodnight Mommy
The Second Mother
The Tribe

Top 5 Documentaries
Best of Enemies
The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution
The Diplomat
Listen to Me Marlon
The Look of Silence

Top 10 Independent Films
45 Years
Cop Car
Ex Machina
It Follows
James White
Mississippi Grind
Welcome to Me
While We’re Young

The Nation Board of Review is a hefty honor, but isn’t always the best predictor of the BIG crown, the Academy Awards.  Last year, the NBR named ‘A Most Violent Year’ as the Best Movie, but it didn’t even get a nomination for the Oscars.

Can you imagine splashy ‘Mad Max’ in the same company as shoe-ins like ‘Spotlight’, ‘Bridge of Spies’ and ‘The Revenant’?  Could this unlikely champion help similar popcorn flicks achieve a greater degree of artistic respect?  Guess we’ll find out when the Academy announces their choices in January.

Source: Entertainment Weekly