The National Board of Review yesterday voted No Country For Old Men as the best film of 2007, the first high-profile movie awards to be handed out in what's due to become a predictably tiresome three-month awards season. But that's not the only reason why the National Board of Review awards are significant – they've also ensured that everyone will be so sick of the babble surrounding No Country For Old Men by February that it doesn't even stand a sniff of a chance of winning an Oscar any more.
There's something uniquely depressing about awards season, you know. Over the next few weeks and months, about a billion groups and organisations will get together to decide what films were good in 2007, and each result will be pored over an analysed to see if it gives any indication of who'll win an Oscar. Then on Oscar night itself – bam – people just talk about what a lovely dress Keira Knightley is wearing.
Why are we rabbiting on about something that's not even starting for another few months? Because awards season is officially here, thanks to the National Board of Review dishing out its awards in front of everyone yesterday. Oh, don't pretend that you've never heard of the National Board of Review.
The National Board of Review is the perfect organisation to hand out movie awards, because its ranks are made up of historians, students, educators and a few other people who probably just turned up to escape the drizzle. Last year, the National Board of Review gave the best movie prize to that Clint Eastwood film about the war that you never got round to watch, but what about this year?
Well, this year the Best Movie award went to the Coen brother's No Country For Old Men – which also picked up Best Ensemble Cast and Best Adapted Screenplay – ensuring that it won't win an Oscar because the National Board of Review and the Oscars haven't agreed on what the best movie is for eight years in a row.
The National Board of Review also voted for its top ten movies of the year – which are The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, Atonement, The Bourne Ultimatum, The Bucket List, Into the Wild, Juno, The Kite Runner, Lars and the Real Girl, Michael Clayton and Sweeney Todd, or as we know them Dull Cowboy Film, Rah-Rah Britishness, Herky Jerky Action Film, Jack Nicholson's Got Cancer, Obligatory Sean Penn Nod, Teenage Pregnancy, Something About Kites, I Fuck Dolls, George Clooney Looks At A Horse and Sweeney Todd.
Finally, just in case you're interested, here's the full list of National Board of Review movie award winners. Alternatively you could just wait until the end of the week when the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and the New York Film Critics Circle do exactly the same thing, or you could hide under a blanket until February when the Oscars are finished. Save us some room.
Best Film: No Country for Old Men
Best Director: Tim Burton, Sweeney Todd
Best Actor: George Clooney, Michael Clayton
Best Actress: Julie Christie, Away From Her
Best Supporting Actor: Casey Affleck, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
Best Supporting Actress: Amy Ryan, Gone Baby Gone
Best Foreign Film: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Best Documentary: Body of War
Best Animated Feature: Ratatouille
Best Ensemble Cast: No Country for Old Men
Breakthrough Performance by an Actor: Emile Hirsch, Into the Wild
Breakthrough Performance by an Actress: Ellen Page, Juno
Best Directorial Debut: Ben Affleck, Gone Baby Gone
Best Original Screenplay (tie): Diablo Cody, Juno and Nancy Oliver, Lars and the Real Girl
Best Adapted Screenplay: Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, No Country for Old Men