‘The Social Network’ Sweeps National Board of Review

“Black Swan,” “127 Hours” and “The Kids Are All Right” are snubbed in vote by generally conservative New York group

"The Social Network" has been named the Best Picture of 2010 by the National Board of Review, which also honored that film's star Jesse Eisenberg, director David Fincher and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin.

Social NetworkThe wins for Fincher's Facebook drama came as something of a surprise from a generally conservative group of voters who many thought were likely to honor "The King's Speech" and its star, Colin Firth.

Also surprising: the NBR turned to lower-profile independent films for its female acting winners, Lesley Manville for "Another Year" and Jacki Weaver for "Animal Kingdom."

Christian Bale was named Best Supporting Actor for "The Fighter," while "Waiting for 'Superman'" was named Best Documentary, "Toy Story 3" Best Animated Feature and "Of Gods and Men" Best Foreign Language Film.

The award for Best Original Screenplay, remarkably, went to Chris Sparling for "Buried" over such presumably likelier contenders as "The King's Speech," "The Kids Are All Right" and "Another Year."

Glaringly absent from the NBR's 31 top picks (one winner, 10 Best Films, 10 independent films, five foreign-language films and five documentaries) were several movies expected to figure in the Oscar race: "Black Swan," "127 Hours," "The Kids Are All Right," Biutiful," "Rabbit Hole" and "Blue Valentine."

The NBR, which is made up of mostly New York-based academics, students, film enthusiasts and filmmakers, offers a generally mainstream voice early each awards season. The results are often at odds with later critics' groups and guild awards, and they attract notice largely because the NBR is the first established body to announce awards each year.

Last year, for instance, the NBR named Clint Eastwood Best Director for "Invictus," a film that did not receive an Oscar nomination for Best Picture. Of the 11 films it singled out (its top 10, plus Best Picture winner "Up in the Air"), six received Best Picture nominations.

Its 2009 acting awards did not match any of the Oscar winners: the NBR chose Morgan Freeman for "Invictus" and George Clooney for "Up in the Air" over Jeff Bridges for "Crazy Heart"; Carey Mulligan for "An Education" over Sandra Bullock for "The Blind Side"; Woody Harrelson for "The Messenger" over Christoph Waltz for "Inglourious Basterds"; and Anna Kendrick for "Up in the Air" over Mo'Nique for "Precious."

The NBR occupies a strange spot in the awards picture, since its voters are neither critics nor movie-industry insiders. Most members of the NBR are anonymous, though the organization does periodically profile members on its website. Those members range from HBO documentary chief Sheila Nevins to book publisher Ross Claiborne to recent Student Academy Award winner Luke Matheny.

The National Board of Review's awards gala will be held on Tuesday, January 11 at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York City.

Best Film: The Social Network
Best Director: David Fincher, The Social Network
Best Actor: Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network
Best Actress: Lesley Manville, Another Year
Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale, The Fighter
Best Supporting Actress: Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom
Best Foreign Language Film: Of Gods and Men
Best Documentary: Waiting for “Superman”
Best Animated Feature: Toy Story 3
Best Ensemble Cast: The Town
Breakthrough Performance: Jennifer Lawrence, Winter’s Bone
Debut Directors: Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington, Restrepo
Spotlight Award: Sylvain Chomet and Jacques Tati, The Illusionist
Best Original Screenplay: Chris Sparling, Buried
Best Adapted Screenplay: Aaron Sorkin, The Social Network
Special Filmmaking Achievement Award: Sofia Coppola for writing, directing, and producing Somewhere
William K. Everson Film History Award: Leonard Maltin
NBR Freedom of Expression: Fair Game, Conviction, Howl
Production Design Award: Dante Ferretti, Shutter Island
 
Ten Best Films
(in alphabetical order)
Another Year
The Fighter
Hereafter
Inception
The King’s Speech
Shutter Island
The Town
Toy Story 3
True Grit
Winter’s Bone

 
Five Best Foreign-Language Films
(in alphabetical order)
I Am Love
Incendies
Life, Above All
Soul Kitchen
White Material

 
Five Best Documentaries
(in alphabetical order)
A Film Unfinished
Inside Job
Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work
Restrepo
The Tillman Story

 
Top Ten Independent Films:
(in alphabetical order)
Animal Kingdom
Buried
Fish Tank
The Ghost Writer
Greenberg
Let Me In
Monsters
Please Give
Somewhere
Youth in Revolt