The National Board of Review's list of the top ten best films snubbed Precious , though Gabourey Sidibe did snag a "Breakthrough Performance By an Actress" award. This traditionally means something for its Oscar chances. Or um, it might not.
The Hollywood Reporter's Roger Friedman, who previously was up in arms when The Gotham Awards ignored Precious (only to have its rival Independent Spirit Awards lavish the movie with attention), is now enraged with the NBR for not putting Precious in its top ten.
What's most upsetting this year: the absence of Lee Daniels‘ Precious. It's not a total surprise. The NBR is not a multicultural organization. They completely ignored Dreamgirls in 2006. Snubbing Precious fits in with Schulhof's track record perfectly. Let's just say it: They do not like black movies, period. To make up for it, they threw Gabby Sidibe a bone with Breakthrough Performance. This is what they did to Jennifer Hudson from Dreamgirls. It's pathetic. But the Oscars remedied this. She wound up winning Best Supporting Actress at the Oscars.
The NBR may well be, as Friedman argues, a "scandal-plagued freak show composed of wealthy fans and no actual reviewers," but it's a bit unfair to say they "do not like black movies period," at least judging by this year's list, which also includes Good Hair among the best documentaries and the Nelson Mandela biopic Invictus in its top ten. And African-American actor Anthony Mackie had a brilliant starring turn in NBR top-tenner The Hurt Locker, though his role was not as prominent as that of his colleague Jeremy Renner, who got a breakthrough actor award.
It's also unclear if any of this matters beyond these particular nods. Over at the Los Angeles Times' Gold Derby blog, Tom O'Neil points out that the NBR isn't always the Oscar predictor it's said to be. Quite the opposite, sometimes — their frequent favorites, Clint Eastwood and George Clooney, subsequently were passed over for Oscars, and they also ignored two more commercial Best Picture Oscar winners (A Beautiful Mind, The Lord of the Rings).
Also, who needs any of this stuff when you have Barbara Bush's endorsement?
Up In the Air Wins National Board of Review [EW.com]
"Precious" Scandal: National Board of Review Disgraces Itself [The Hollywood Reporter]
National Board of Review goes crazy for Clooney and Clint again ... Will disaster follow at the Oscars? [Gold Derby/LAT]
Barbara Bush: A Precious Moment [Newsweek]