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National Board of Review names ‘Green Book’ year’s best film

This image released by Universal Pictures shows Viggo Mortensen, left, and Mahershala Ali in a scene from "Green Book." The National Board of Review announced their 2018 honorees, Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2018, with top awards going to "Green Book" as best film of the year and best actor of the year going to Mortensen. (Patti Perret/Universal Pictures via AP)

NEW YORK (AP) — The feel-good road-trip drama “Green Book” was named the best film of the year, and its star, Viggo Mortensen, best actor, by the National Board of Review in one of the first in a parade of awards season honors.

The NBR awards, announced Tuesday, gave the Oscar hopes of Universal’s “Green Book” a jolt. The film, directed by Peter Farrelly (who typically makes broader comedies like “There’s Something About Mary” with his brother, Bobby) was declared an Oscar favorite after taking the audience award at the Toronto International Film Festival.

But in two weeks of release, it has struggled to latch on at the box office, and some critics have called its portrayal of race relations old-fashioned and criticized it for relying on “white savior” tropes. It stars Mahershala Ali as classical pianist Don Shirley, who tours the Deep South in 1962 with a racist Italian-American driver played by Mortensen.

Bradley Cooper’s lauded remake “A Star Is Born” also took several top awards, including best director for Cooper, best actress for Lady Gaga and best supporting actor for Sam Elliott.

Barry Jenkins’ James Baldwin adaptation “If Beale Street Could Talk” took prizes for Jenkins’ screenplay and for Regina King’s supporting performance.

Though sometimes called an Oscar harbinger, the National Board of Review, a 109-year-old organization of film enthusiasts, academics and professionals, has typically deviated from eventual best picture winners. It last year chose Steven Spielberg’s “The Post.” Before that, its top winners were “Manchester By the Sea,” ”Mad Max: Fury Road” and “A Most Violent Year.”

On Monday night, the Gotham Awards , which honor independent film, selected Chloe Zhao’s “The Rider” as its best feature film of the year. Critics groups will soon start weighing in with their picks, starting with the New York Film Critics Circle on Thursday.

Other prizes from the National Board of Review included best ensemble for the cast of the romantic-comedy hit “Crazy Rich Asians”; best documentary to the popular Ruth Bader Ginsberg chronicle “RBG”; best screenplay to Paul Schrader’s “First Reformed”; best animated feature to “Incredibles 2”; best foreign language film to “Cold War.”

The awards will be handed out in on January 8 in New York at a gala hosted by Willie Geist.

Copyright © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.



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