By Chase Kahn
The first big awards-season measuring stick is always the National Board of Review's announcement in early December (i.e. today). They're essentially inconsequential and known for going out on a bit of limb with their predictions.
Best Film of the Year: "Up in the Air"
Top 10 (excluding the winner, in alpha order):
"(500) Days of Summer"
"The Hurt Locker"
"A Serious Man"
"Where the Wild Things Are"
Impressions: This doesn't really do much to the Oscar race since Jason Reitman's Up in the Air was already a guaranteed nominee, but the lack of love for Rob Marshall's Nine, Peter Jackson's The Lovely Bones, Tom Ford's A Single Man and Lee Daniels' Precious is...interesting.
The Lovely Bones is a surefire critical divider, with equal amounts of love, hatred and indifference poking its head around over the last week or so. From what I'm hearing though, it seems that those who love and cherish the Alice Sebold novel and love and cherish Peter Jackson are walking out displeased, vice-versa for anyone else. We'll see.
I also heard Rob Marshall's Nine called a "guilty pleasure" today. Faint praise, indeed.
It's good to see recognition for two of the more abstract fall films of the year, A Serious Man and Where the Wild Things Are. I'm killing myself for not seeing The Messenger when I had the chance (it's already come and gone at the Magnolia after a brief stint.)