Award season is just around the corner and that means film groups have already started casting their ballots for the movies they think should take home top prizes.
Today, the National Board of Review — a committee made up of critics, scholars, enthusiasts and students — released their official picks for various categories, including Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Actress.
Although the films picked by the NBR haven't always coincided with the final picks at the Oscars and Golden Globe awards, it's a good starting point for seeing which movies are being talked about and which ones are flying under the radar.
This year, the Board went with the surprising move to ignore the typical Oscar contenders (which include films like Joy, The Revenant and Spotlight) and named George Miller's summer blockbuster hit Mad Max: Fury Road as their top film.
While it's certainly one of the most critically acclaimed films of the year, chances of the movie picking up any further major nominations outside of the ones based on technological merit are slim to none. The Academy has nominated genre films in the past, and Ridley Scott's The Martian is sure to pick up a couple of nominations this year, but Mad Max: Fury Road falls out of the specific criteria Academy members are going to be looking for when voting. It's not as instrumentally large as Star Wars was in 1977 when it was nominated and not quite as stunning as Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (which took home the award for Best Picture in 2004).
Still, Mad Max: Fury Road does seem like a contender for a couple of the craft awards (including set and costume design) as well as the more scientific awards (for the use of CGI in the film).
The NBR awarded Ridley Scott the award for Best Director and handed Matt Damon the award for Best Actor for his work in The Martian. Brie Larson took home the award for Best Actress for her work on Room.
The full list of award recipients can be seen below. Read Polygon's review of Mad Max: Fury Road here.
Best Film: Mad Max: Fury Road
Best Director: Ridley Scott - The Martian
Best Actor: Matt Damon - The Martian
Best Actress: Brie Larson - Room
Best Supporting Actor: Sylvester Stallone - Creed
Best Supporting Actress: Jennifer Jason Leigh - The Hateful Eight
Best Original Screenplay: Quentin Tarantino - The Hateful Eight
Best Adapted Screenplay: Drew Goddard - The Martian
Best Animated Feature: Inside Out
Breakthrough Performance: Abraham Attah - Beasts of No Nation & Jacob Tremblay - Room
Best Directorial Debut: Jonas Carpignano - Mediterranea
Best Foreign Language Film: Son of Saul
Best Documentary: Amy
William K. Everson Film History Award: Cecilia De Mille Presley
Best Ensemble: The Big Short
Spotlight Award: Sicario, for Outstanding Collaborative Vision
NBR Freedom of Expression Award: Beasts of No Nation & Mustang