NBR Awards – Kathryn Bigelow Rules

Kathryn Bigelow Wins Big with the NBR

The National Board of Review, an organization I belong to, released their annual film awards on Wednesday, December 5. Below is a partial list – you can go here to read the complete list of awards.


Best Director: Kathryn Bigelow, ZERO DARK THIRTY

Best Actor: Bradley Cooper, SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK

Best Actress: Jessica Chastain, ZERO DARK THIRTY

Best Supporting Actor: Leonardo DiCaprio, DJANGO UNCHAINED

Best Supporting Actress: Ann Dowd, COMPLIANCE

Best Original Screenplay: Rian Johnson, LOOPER

Best Adapted Screenplay: David O. Russell, SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK

Best Animated Feature: WRECK-IT RALPH

Special Achievement in Filmmaking: Ben Affleck, ARGO

Breakthrough Actor: Tom Holland, THE IMPOSSIBLE

Breakthrough Actress: Quvenzhané Wallis BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD

Best Directorial Debut: Benh Zeitlin, BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD

Best Foreign Language Film: AMOUR


William K. Everson Film History Award: 50 YEARS OF BOND FILMS



NBR Freedom of Expression Award: THE CENTRAL PARK FIVE

NBR Freedom of Expression Award: PROMISED LAND

Compliance – Film Review

On August 14, 2012 I moderated a Q&A after the National Board of Review screening of Compliance with director/writer Craig Zobel and actress Ann Dowd. It was a relaxed and fun conversation, moving fluidly between considerations (and implications) of the material and discussion of technical, acting and logistics. It’s a film that stays with you so I have finally gotten to write about it. I was thrilled to learn on Wednesday, December 5 that the NBR had given Ann Dowd the best supporting actress award. It was a nuanced and disturbing performance – Dowd created a character who was a “good” person drawn into orchestrating the systematic humiliation and psychological destruction of an innocent young person.

Originally published on the web site of the National Board of Review

A film by Craig Zobel
Film Review by Thomas W. Campbell

Compliance may be the most unnerving non-horror film released this year. Based on a true story, it is one of those films that truly benefits from the seemingly ubiquitous tagline. Watching it you can’t believe that the main characters would be willing to play so deeply into the hands of another person – but they did. And numerous and well-known social experiments (and historical events) have proven that people having been doing so for some time.

Compliance is the second film written and directed by Craig Zobel, who founded the successful and funny flash animated web site homestar runner in 1996 with Mike Chapman. Famously resisting offers to turn it into a television show, he directed the dry and well-acted independent comedy The Great World of Sound in 2007. Great World, which stars John Baker, Keen Holliday and Pat Healy, is a funny and slightly melancholic look at two salesmen who travel across the south peddling record deals that are ultimately bogus. Despite the obvious signs (Baker’s sleazy record executive being the most obvious) the characters played by Holliday and Healy struggle to retain their faith in the services they are peddling. Because we empathize with them we also hope that, against all odds, the dreams they are selling might somehow be real. It is a strong debut for Zobel with a theme that offers interesting parallels to his latest film.
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