Predicting the 2014 National Board of Review Awards

The National Board of Review (NBR) reveals its yearly picks tomorrow. The New York Film Critics Circle (NYFCC) claims “First!!!” nowadays, but the NBR is still a fascinating group to keeps tabs on.

Remember, voters here tend to go against the general consensus (that we somehow form before groups even decide on these honors), and they love to spread the wealth, too. I tried to narrow my picks in most categories down to a winner and five alternates. However, I see eight potential winners for best actress – including Marion Cotillard, in light of today’s NYFCC win, and Shailene Woodley, whom the NBR honored in 2010 for The Descendants.

My “No Guts, No Glory” picks, I suppose, are Amy Adams for Big Eyes in actress and Robert Duvall for The Judge in supporting actor. Just a gut feeling – again, the NBR usually throws a curveball or two in the major categories.

Check out my picks after the jump.

Best Film and Top 10 Films

Best Film: Selma

Top 10:

  1. The Theory of Everything
  2. The Imitation Game
  3. Foxcatcher
  4. Boyhood
  5. Birdman
  6. Gone Girl
  7. American Sniper
  8. Whiplash
  9. Interstellar
  10. Unbroken

Other Possibilities:

  • Jersey Boys
  • A Most Violent Year
  • The Judge
  • Nightcrawler

Best Director

Predicted Winner: Ava DuVernay for Selma

Other Possibilities:

  • Richard Linklater for Boyhood
  • David Fincher for Gone Girl
  • Clint Eastwood for American Sniper
  • Angelina Jolie for Unbroken
  • Bennett Miller for Foxcatcher

Best Actress

Predicted Winner: Amy Adams for Big Eyes

Other Possibilities:

  • Marion Cotillard for The Immigrant and Two Days, One Night
  • Felicity Jones for The Theory of Everything
  • Julianne Moore for Maps to the Stars and Still Alice
  • Reese Witherspoon for Wild
  • Rosamund Pike for Gone Girl
  • Jessica Chastain for The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby, Interstellar, Miss Julie, and A Most Violent Year
  • Shailene Woodley for Divergent, The Fault in Our Stars, and White Bird in a Blizzard

Best Actor

Predicted Winner: Michael Keaton for Birdman

Other Possibilities:

  • Eddie Redmayne for The Theory of Everything
  • Benedict Cumberbatch for The Imitation Game
  • David Oyelowo for Selma
  • Steve Carell for Foxcatcher
  • Bradley Cooper for American Sniper

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Winner: Keira Knightley for The Imitation Game

Other Possibilities:

  • Patricia Arquette for Boyhood
  • Meryl Streep for Into the Woods
  • Emma Stone for Birdman and Magic in the Moonlight
  • Laura Dern for The Fault in Our Stars and Wild
  • Jessica Chastain for Interstellar and A Most Violent Year

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Winner: Robert Duvall for The Judge

Other Possibilities:

  • J.K. Simmons for Whiplash
  • Ethan Hawke for Boyhood
  • Edward Norton for Birdman
  • Tom Wilkinson for Selma
  • Mark Ruffalo for Begin Again and Foxcatcher

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Winner: Richard Linklater for Boyhood

Other Possibilities:

  • Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, and Armando Bo for Birdman
  • Ava DuVernay and Paul Webb for Selma
  • J.C. Chandor for A Most Violent Year
  • E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman for Foxcatcher
  • Christopher Nolan and Jonathan Nolan for Interstellar

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Winner: Anthony McCarten for The Theory of Everything

Other Possibilities:

  • Graham Moore for The Imitation Game
  • Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, Richard LaGravenese, and William Nicholson for Unbroken
  • Gillian Flynn for Gone Girl
  • Jason Dean Hall for American Sniper
  • William Monahan for The Gambler

Best Ensemble

Predicted Winner: Into the Woods

Other Possibilities:

  • Birdman
  • Selma
  • Unbroken
  • Gone Girl
  • Boyhood

Best Breakthrough Actor

Predicted Winner: Jack O’Connell for ’71, Starred Up, and Unbroken

Other Possibilities:

  • Ellar Coltrane for Boyhood
  • Takamasa Ishihara, a.k.a. Miyavi, for Unbroken
  • Jaeden Lieberher for St. Vincent

Best Breakthrough Actress

Predicted Winner: Gugu Mbatha-Raw for Belle and Beyond the Lights

Other Possibilities:

  • Jenny Slate for Obvious Child
  • Tessa Thompson for Dear White People
  • Katherine Waterston for Inherent Vice

Best Directorial Debut

Predicted Winner: Damien Chazelle for Whiplash

Other Possibilities:

  • Justin Simien for Dear White People
  • Jennifer Kent for The Babadook
  • Theodore Melfi for St. Vincent
  • Gillian Robespierre for Obvious Child

Best Animated Feature

Predicted Winner: The LEGO Movie

Other Possibilities:

  • How to Train Your Dragon 2
  • Big Hero 6
  • The Tale of Princess Kaguya
  • The Boxtrolls
  • The Book of Life

Best Foreign Language Film and Top Foreign Films

Best Foreign Language Film: Two Days, One Night

Top Foreign Films:

  1. Mommy
  2. Ida
  3. Winter Sleep
  4. Leviathan
  5. Cantinflas

Best Documentary and Top Documentaries

Best Documentary: Life Itself

Top Documentaries:

  1. Keep on Keepin’ On
  2. Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me
  3. Deepsea Challenge
  4. Virunga
  5. Last Days in Vietnam

Top Independent Films

  1. Dear White People
  2. Obvious Child
  3. The Grand Budapest Hotel
  4. Top Five
  5. The Skeleton Twins
  6. Still Alice
  7. Beyond the Lights
  8. Belle
  9. White Bird in a Blizzard
  10. Chef

NBR Freedom of Expression Award

Predicted Winners: CitizenFour and Love is Strange

Other Possibilities:

  • Obvious Child
  • Belle
  • Pride
  • The Cast Against 8

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