‘Licorice Pizza’ Is Top Film Of The Year According To National Board Of Review, Paul Thomas Anderson Best Director

The National Board of Review is always an interesting group to be among the first to drop their annual awards. Their picks tend to go against the mainstream of thinking, which is why I always like to highlight them while ignoring some of the others which tend to go as predicted. And they were again a bit out-of-step once again, by choosing Paul Thomas Anderson’s Licorice Pizza as the top movie of the year.

Not only was Licorice Pizza given the award for Best Film, but Anderson was named Best Director. Full disclosure: my picks will look the same when the year is up, so I feel a sense of solidarity with the National Board of Review’s choices.

In terms of acting, Will Smith won Best Actor for his role in King Richard, while newcomer Rachel Zegler’s powerful breakthrough performance in West Side Story earned her Best Actress. Quite an achievement.  Ciaran Hinds, who to me was the heart of Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast, won for Best Supporting Actor, while King Richard‘s Aunjanue Ellis won Best Supporting Actress. All really good choices.

Most surprising of all is who got absolutely zip from the group. Jane Campion’s Power of the Dog, tick, tick…BOOM!, Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch, and Kristen Stewart in Spencer got nothin’.

Full list of honors below:

Best Film: LICORICE PIZZA

Best Director: Paul Thomas Anderson, LICORICE PIZZA

Best Actor: Will Smith, KING RICHARD

Best Actress: Rachel Zegler, WEST SIDE STORY

Best Supporting Actor: Ciarán Hinds, BELFAST

Best Supporting Actress: Aunjanue Ellis, KING RICHARD

Best Original Screenplay: Asghar Farhadi, A HERO

Best Adapted Screenplay: Joel Coen, THE TRAGEDY OF MACBETH

Breakthrough Performance: Alana Haim & Cooper Hoffman, LICORICE PIZZA

Best Directorial Debut: Michael Sarnoski, PIG

Best Animated Feature: ENCANTO

Best Foreign Language Film: A HERO

Best Documentary: SUMMER OF SOUL (…OR, WHEN THE REVOLUTION COULD NOT BE TELEVISED)

Best Ensemble: THE HARDER THEY FALL

Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography: Bruno Delbonnel, THE TRAGEDY OF MACBETH

NBR Freedom of Expression Award: FLEE

Top Films (in alphabetical order)
Belfast
Don’t Look Up
Dune
King Richard
The Last Duel
Nightmare Alley
Red Rocket
The Tragedy of Macbeth
West Side Story

Top 5 Foreign Language Films (in alphabetical order)
Benedetta
Lamb
Lingui, The Sacred Bonds
Titane
The Worst Person in the World

Top 5 Documentaries (in alphabetical order)
Ascension
Attica
Flee
The Rescue
Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain

Top 10 Independent Films (in alphabetical order)
The Card Counter
C’mon C’mon
CODA
The Green Knight
Holler
Jockey
Old Henry
Pig
Shiva Baby
The Souvenir Part II

Travis Hopson has been reviewing movies before he even knew there was such a thing. Having grown up on a combination of bad '80s movies, pro wrestling, comic books, and hip-hop, Travis is uniquely positioned to geek out on just about everything under the sun. A vampire who walks during the day and refuses to sleep, Travis is the co-creator and lead writer for Punch Drunk Critics. He is also a contributor to Good Morning Washington, WBAL Morning News, and WETA Around Town. In the five minutes a day he's not working, Travis is also a voice actor, podcaster, and Twitch gamer. Travis is a voting member of the Critics Choice Association (CCA), Washington DC Area Film Critics Association (WAFCA), and Late Night programmer for the Lakefront Film Festival.