The National Board of Review, the first group to release its picks for the best films of the year, will announce its Top 10 later this week (with the Golden Globe nomination on its heels Dec. 10), so I decided to preview what you can probably expect to see. I haven’t screened all of these films yet, so these aren’t necessarily my votes (though they are informed by what seems good that I have seen); they are, rather, what the groundswell seems to be in a few of the major categories. I limit my list to 10 possible nominees in each category.
Picture/director: Spotlight; The Danish Girl; Carol; Bridge of Spies; The Martian; The Walk; The Revenant; The Hateful Eight; Joy.
Actor: Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl; Tom Hardy, Legend; Ian McKellen, Mr. Holmes; Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs; Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant; Jake Gyllenhaal, Southpaw; Mark Ruffalo, Infinite Polar Bear; Tom Hanks, Bridge of Spies; Matt Damon, The Martian; Joseph Gordon-Levitt, The Walk. Not on the list: Bryan Cranston in Trumbo, a heavily-pushed performance that I felt never caught fire and carried the picture; anyone from Spotlight (all the cast members have been lumped in the supporting category); Michael Caine, Youth (though he really should be).
Supporting actor: Liev Schreiber and Michael Keaton, Spotlight; Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies; Tom Hardy, The Revenant; Michael Shannon, 99 Homes; Paul Giamatti, Straight Outta Compton; Harvey Keitel, Youth; Sylvester Stallone, Creed; Idris Elba, Beasts of No Nation; Benicio del Toro, Sicario.Not on the list (nut should be): Rick Springfield, Ricki and the Flash.
Actress: Lily Tomlin, Grandma; Cate Blanchett, Carol; Helen Mirren, Woman in Gold; Maggie Smith, The Lady in the Van; Brie Larson, Room; Meryl Streep, Ricki and the Flash; Julianne Moore, Freeheld; Amy Schumer, Trainwreck; Soirse Ronan, Brooklyn; Jennifer Lawrence, Joy.
Supporting actress: Rooney Mara, Carol; Rachel McAdams, Spotlight; Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl; Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight (or Anomalisa); Joan Allen, Room; Laura Dern, 99 Homes; Virginia Madsen, Joy; Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs.