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National Board of Review names Scorsese’s ‘Hugo’ best film; and Scorsese, Best Director

We recently discussed Martin Scorsese’s Hugo to raving reviews on episode 296 of the Sound On Sight podcast. It looks like we are not alone in sharing our love for the film. Today the National Board of Review named Hugo the best film of 2011 and Martin Scorsese best director. Check out the NBR’s full evaluation of 2011 below.

Board president Annie Schulhof said in a statement, “Hugo is such a personal film by Martin Scorsese. It is a tribute to the early years of cinema that uses today’s cutting-edge technology to bring the audience into a completely unique and magical world. It is visually stunning and emotionally engaging”.

The National Board of Review has some pedigree in picking films that have gone on to win best picture at the Oscars. Last year however, it selected The Social Network as the year’s best film, while the academy chose The King’s Speech. Personally I think the two films that stand the best chance to win, both embrace heavy nostalgia for the early days of movies — of course I’m talking about Scorsese’s whimsical adventure and the silent film The Artist — that’s thus far been the award season’s early leader.

Best Film: Hugo

Best Director: Martin Scorsese, Hugo

Best Actor: George Clooney, The Descendants

Best Actress: Tilda Swinton, We Need to Talk About Kevin

Best Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer, Beginners

Best Supporting Actress: Shailene Woodley, The Descendants

Best Original Screenplay: Will Reiser, 50/50

Best Adapted Screenplay: Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon & Jim Rash, The Descendants

Best Animated Feature: Rango

Breakthrough Performance: Felicity Jones, Like Crazy

Breakthrough Performance: Rooney Mara, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Debut Director: J.C. Chandor, Margin Call

Best Ensemble: The Help

Spotlight Award: Michael Fassbender (A Dangerous Method, Jane Eyre, Shame, X-Men: First Class)

NBR Freedom of Expression: Crime After Crime

NBR Freedom of Expression: Pariah

Best Foreign Language Film: A Separation

Best Documentary: Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory

Special Achievement in Filmmaking: The Harry Potter Franchise – A Distinguished Translation from Book to Film

Top Films (in alphabetical order): The Artist, The Descendants, Drive, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, The Ides of March, J. Edgar, Tree of Life, War Horse

Top 5 Foreign Language Films (in Alphabetical Order): 13 Assassins, Elite Squad: The Enemy Within, Footnote, Le Havre, Point Blank

Top 5 Documentaries (in Alphabetical Order): Born to be Wild, Buck, George Harrison: Living in the Material World, Project Nim, Senna

Top 10 Independent Films (in Alphabetical Order): 50/50, Another Earth, Beginners, A Better Life, Cedar Rapids, Margin Call, Shame, Take Shelter, We Need To Talk About Kevin, Win Win