‘Killers of the Flower Moon’ Named 2023’s Best Film by National Board of Review

Martin Scorsese’s epic drama also won awards for directing, cinematography and lead actress Lily Gladstone

Killers of the Flower Moon
Lily Gladstone, Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio in "KIllers of the Flower Moon" (Apple TV+)

“Killers of the Flower Moon” has been named the best film of 2023 by the National Board of Review, a New York-based group of film professionals and academics that announced its annual winners on Wednesday.

The film also won the NBR’s Best Director prize for Martin Scorsese, while Lily Gladstone picked up the Best Actress award and Rodrigo Prieto took the Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography award for his two 2023 films, “Killers of the Flower Moon” and “Barbie.”

Alexander Payne’s “The Holdovers” also won three awards, picking up prizes for lead actor Paul Giamatti, supporting actress Da’Vine Joy Randolph and the original screenplay by David Hemingson.

Mark Ruffalo won the supporting-actor award for “Poor Things,” which also took an award for writer-director Yorgos Lanthimos’ adapted screenplay.

Celine Song won the award for debut feature for “Past Lives,” while “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” won for animated feature, “Anatomy of a Fall” for best international film and “Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie” for best documentary.

The NBR’s list of the year’s Top 10 films included some expected entries in “Barbie,” “Ferrari,” “The Holdovers,” “Maestro,” “Oppenheimer,” “Past Lives” and “Poor Things,” as well as surprises in “The Boy and the Heron” and “The Iron Claw.”

Missing from the list were Oscar contenders “American Fiction,” “May December,” “Air,” “Nyad,” “The Color Purple,” “Napoleon” and “Origin.”

A separate list of the top 10 independent films included “All of Us Strangers,” “Showing Up,” “All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt,” “A Thousand and One” and “Flora and Son.”

A new category, Outstanding Achievement in Stunt Artistry, went to “John Wick: Chapter 4.”

Over the last decade, the NBR list of top films has on the average contained five or six that go on to receive Oscar Best Picture nominations. In that time, it has never included more than seven or fewer than four.

Though it is often lumped in with critics awards, the National Board of Review is a New York-based organization made up of what it describes as “film enthusiasts, filmmakers, professionals and academics of various ages and backgrounds.” In its first 76 years, its winning film went on to win the Oscar for Best Picture 24 times, though the two groups have agreed only three times in this century, with “No Country for Old Men” and “Slumdog Millionaire” in 2007 and 2008 and “Green Book” in 2018.

While it is rare for the NBR winner to go on to win the Oscar, most NBR winners do receive nominations, with the recent exceptions being “The Most Violent Year” in 2014 and “Da 5 Bloods” in 2020.

The National Board of Review will hold a gala ceremony for the award honorees on Thursday, Jan. 11, 2024 at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York City.

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