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The Irishman named best film of 2019 by National Board of Review

The Irishman

Story by Jack Foley

MARTIN Scorsese’s The Irishman has been named the best film of 2019 by the National Board of Review.

The gangster epic was also recognised with best adapted screenplay, for writer Steven Zaillian, while director Scorsese and stars Robert De Niro and Al Pacino are set to receive an Icon Award, which the NBR introduced this year, to honour ‘cinematic artists who have contributed meaningfully to the history, culture and excellence of motion pictures’.

Announcing the best picture choice, NBR president Annie Schulhof said in a statement: “We are thrilled to award The Irishman as our best film. Martin Scorsese’s masterful mob epic is a rich, moving, beautifully textured movie that represents the best in what cinema can be.

“We are also excited to be presenting Scorsese, Robert De Niro and Al Pacino with our inaugural Icon Award — they are the true definition of cinematic icons, each with their own exceptional body of work, and all in top form in The Irishman.”

The recognition for The Irishman is also a win for streaming giant Netflix, which backed the film when all of the major studios refused to finance it.

And it come less than 24 hours after Netflix won big at the Gotham Independent Film Awards, where Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story, another of its titles, won four awards.

Marriage Story was also listed as one of NBR’s top films of the year.

Other multiple honourees included Warner Bros.’ Richard Jewell from director Clint Eastwood, Sony’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (from Quentin Tarantino) and A24’s Uncut Gems (starring Adam Sandler), which received two awards apiece.

Once Upon a Time‘s Tarantino was named best director, with the film’s Brad Pitt also taking best supporting actor.

Renée Zellweger was named best actress for her work in Judy, and Uncut Gems‘ Sandler was named best actor. The latter film also saw writers Benny and Josh Safdie and Ronald Bronstein win best original screenplay (the Safdies also directed the film).

The two awards for Eastwood’s latest film, Richard Jewell, went to Kathy Bates (best supporting actress) and Paul Walter Hauser (breakthrough performance).

Other major winners include Melina Matsoukas (best directorial debut for Queen & Slim), How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (best animated feature), Parasite (best foreign language film) and Roger Deakins (best cinematography for his work on 1917).

NBR’s Freedom of Expression Awards went to For Sama and Just Mercy.

Last year, NBR selected future best picture Oscar winner Green Book as its best film. The previous year it picked The Post.

This year’s winners will be recognized during a gala on January 8, 2020, at New York’s Cipriani 42nd Street.

The full list of winners…

Best Film
The Irishman

Best Director
Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Best Actor
Adam Sandler, Uncut Gems

Best Actress
Renée Zellweger, Judy

Best Supporting Actor
Brad Pitt, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Best Supporting Actress
Kathy Bates, Richard Jewell

Best Original Screenplay
Josh Safdie, Benny Safdie, Ronald Bronstein, Uncut Gems

Best Adapted Screenplay
Steven Zaillian, The Irishman

Breakthrough Performance
Paul Walter Hauser, Richard Jewell

Best Directorial Debut
Melina Matsoukas, Queen & Slim

Best Animated Feature
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

Best Foreign Language Film

Best Documentary

Best Ensemble
Knives Out

Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography
Roger Deakins, 1917

NBR Icon Award
Martin Scorsese, Robert De Niro, Al Pacino

NBR Freedom of Expression Award
For Sama
Just Mercy

Top Films (in alphabetical order)
Dolemite Is My Name
Ford v Ferrari
Jojo Rabbit
Knives Out
Marriage Story
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Richard Jewell
Uncut Gems

Top Five Foreign Language Films (in alphabetical order)
Invisible Life
Pain and Glory
Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Top Five Documentaries (in alphabetical order)
American Factory
Apollo 11
The Black Godfather
Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese

Top 10 Independent Films (in alphabetical order)
The Farewell
Give Me Liberty
A Hidden Life
The Last Black Man in San Francisco
The Nightingale
The Peanut Butter Falcon
The Souvenir
Wild Rose