That wasn’t the only award Manchester was given by NBR either, with Affleck winning Best Actor, Hedges winning Best Breakthrough Performance (Male), and Lonergan winning Best Original Screenplay. Not many films are able to sustain that kind of awards buzz from Sundance to the end of the year like Manchester has, which should make its presence in the competition this year that much more impressive.
Additionally, A24’s critical indie darling Moonlight went on to win numerous recognitions from NBR, including Best Director for Barry Jenkins and Best Supporting Actress for Naomie Harris. Similar to Manchester, it started out with some serious festival hype surrounding it earlier this fall and has gone on to remain one of the most critically acclaimed films of the year. Whether or not it’s able to break through with the Academy will have to wait to be seen.
While the National Board of Review’s picks rarely ever match up with the Academy Awards, their heavy focus on films like Manchester and Moonlight, seem to be a good indication on what films will, at the very least, be in the conversation entering into the more major awards shows and competitions early next year.