LOS ANGELES _ "Her," Spike Jonze's quirky love story about a lonely man and his warmhearted computer operating system, was named best picture of 2013 on Wednesday by the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures. Jonze also won best director.
"Spike Jonze is one of the most talented and visionary filmmakers working today," said Annie Schulhof, NBR president, in a statement. "In 'Her, he explores the age-old themes of love and human connection in a completely fresh and innovative way."
Lead actor went to Bruce Dern as an elderly man who believes he's won $1 million in a magazine sweepstakes in "Nebraska." Emma Thompson earned lead actress honors as "Mary Poppins" author P.L. Travers in "Saving Mr. Banks."
Will Forte won supporting actor as Dern's exasperated son in "Nebraska," and Octavia Spencer received the supporting actress award as the mother of Oscar Grant III in "Fruitvale Station."
Joel and Ethan Coen won for their original screenplay of "Inside Llewyn Davis," while Terence Winter earned adapted screenplay honors for "The Wolf of Wall Street."
Hayao Miyazaki's "The Wind Rises" was named best animated feature.
Michael B. Jordan earned the award for breakthrough male performance for "Fruitvale Station," and Adele Exarchopoulos won breakthrough performance female for "Blue Is the Warmest Color."
"Fruitvale Station" also won best directorial debut for Ryan Coogler.
Asghar Farhadi's "The Past" won for best foreign-language film, while Sarah Polley's "Stories We Tell" earned documentary honors.
Best ensemble went to the cast of "Prisoners," while Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio received the Spotlight Award for career collaboration.
"Wadjda" received the NBR Freedom of Expression Award, and "Gravity" was the recipient of the Creative Innovation in Filmmaker Award.
Notably missing from the winners' list was Steve McQueen's historical drama "12 Years a Slave," which is considered one of the favorites this awards season. The drama, though, was included in NBR's top 10 films of the year.
Also missing was David O. Russell's "American Hustle," which won three New York Film Critics Circle awards Tuesday, including best film. "American Hustle" didn't even place in the organization's top 10.
The National Board of Review, which was founded in 1909, is made up of film enthusiasts and professionals, academics, young filmmakers and students.
The NBR has been considered a bellwether for the Oscars, but the group and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences haven't agreed on a best picture winner since 2008's "Slumdog Millionaire."
Last year, the NBR chose "Zero Dark Thirty" and the Academy Award went to "Argo," and two years ago "Hugo" was the NBR's top pick while "The Artist" won the Oscar.
The NBR award will be presented Jan. 7 at the Cipriani 42nd Street in New York City.
(c)2013 Chicago Tribune
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