Hugo, Martin Scorsese’s 3D hymn to cinema that also tub-thumps for its careful restoration, has been named film of the year by the National Board of Review. The NRB, a Manhattan-based collective of film academics and professionals, founded in 1909, also named Scorsese director the year.
NRB president Annie Schulhof praised the film’s mixture of cineaste tradition and cutting-edge technology. They named George Clooney best actor for his role in Alexander Payne’s The Descendants (which also picked up best supporting actress for Shailene Woodley and best adapted screenplay), and Tilda Swinton best actress for We Need to Talk About Kevin. Rooney Mara won breakthrough performance for her role in David Fincher’s remake of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
The best documentary prize went to Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory, Joe Berlinger’s third film about the arrest, imprisonment and release of three teenagers from west Memphis for the murder of a boy scout and his friends in 1993.
However, the parents of the boy scout have requested that Oscar bosses exclude the film from contention for an Academy Award on the grounds that it glorifies the men they maintain killed their son. In a letter to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Todd and Dana Moore wrote: “Michael’s killers were unjustly able to enter into a plea agreement, were released from prison and now pose additional threats to society. We implore the Academy not to reward our child’s killers and the directors who have profited from one of the greatest frauds ever perpetrated under the guise of a documentary film.”
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