‘The Irishman’ Named Best Film By National Board Of Review, Quentin Tarantino Wins Best Director

The National Board of Review named Martin Scorsese’s 3 1/2 hour $200M Netflix gangster epic The Irishman as best movie of the year. The win marks the first major win for the pic this season to date outside of Scorsese’s upcoming Palm Springs and Santa Barbara Film Festival honors.

In addition, the 110-year old org also lauded Quentin Tarantino with best director for his love letter to 1969 Los Angeles, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, another first win for that movie this season as well.  Also on a streak here after noms at the Independent Spirit Awards and last night’s Gotham Awards is Adam Sandler for A24’s crime thriller Uncut Gems. Renee Zellweger wins another best actress trophy for her turn as Judy Garland in Roadside Attractions’ Judy follow a win at the British Independent Film Awards.

The first big win for Warner Bros.’ upcoming Clint Eastwood film Richard Jewell with Kathy Bates taking best supporting actress, while Once Upon a Time in Hollywood‘s Brad Pitt received best supporting actor.

While the org has been less of a bellwether than others in choosing the ultimate Oscar best picture winner, last year they finally synced up with AMPAS for the first time since 2008’s Slumdog Millionaire, both orgs giving the top prize to Universal/Dreamworks/Participant’s Green Book. The other above-the-line category that NBR and AMPAS both agreed on in regards to a winner were best supporting actress, bestowing it to Regina King for If Beale Street Could Talk. 

NBR President Annie Schulhof said, “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.”

This year 285 films were viewed by a select group of film enthusiasts, filmmakers, professionals, academics, and students, many of which were followed by in-depth discussions with directors, actors, producers, and screenwriters. Voting ballots were tabulated by the accounting firm of Lutz & Carr, LLP. This year’s gala, hosted by Willie Geist, will take place on Wednesday, Jan. 8 at Cipriani 42nd Street.

Here are 2019’s winners:


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 Foreign Language Film: Parasite

Best Documentary: Maiden

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

NBR Freedom of Expression Award:  JUST MERCY


Top Films


Dolemite is My Name

Ford v Ferrari

Jojo Rabbit

Knives Out

Marriage Story

Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood

Richard Jewell

Uncut Gems



Top 5 Foreign Language Films


Invisible Life

Pain and Glory

Portrait of a Lady on Fire


Top 5 Documentaries

American Factory

Apollo 11

The Black Godfather

Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese


Top 10 Independent Films

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

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