National Board of Review Names ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ the Best Film of 2015

     December 1, 2015


The National Board of Review—a somewhat mysterious organization made of up film enthusiasts, academics, filmmakers and students known for some left-field choices—has the honors of being one of the first major groups to announce year-end awards for 2015, and they’ve chosen one hell of a pick for the best film of the year. NBR announced today that it has selected Mad Max: Fury Road as the best feature film of 2015, kicking this year’s awards season off with a much welcomed shot of adrenaline. While the competition is fierce, it’s tough to be anything but tickled by this pick—director George Miller crafted an out-and-out masterpiece with his female-centric, dialogue-light actioner, and while many agree it’s one of the year’s best, there’s been some wariness about its actual chances when it comes to year-end awards.

Now before you go getting too excited, it’s important to note that NBR rarely matches up with the Academy. Their last four picks for Best Film of the Year were A Most Violent Year, Her, Zero Dark Thirty, and Hugo, and while three of those four landed Best Picture nominations, it’s tough to tell if Mad Max is a Her-like critical favorite that’ll get in or a Most Violent Year-esque oddball choice that doesn’t gain much traction in subsequent critics awards.


Image via Warner Bros.

Regardless, the NBR made some other interesting choices, including Ridley Scott for Best Director and Matt Damon for Best Actor for The Martian, which also netted Drew Goddard a Best Adapted Screenplay honor. Quentin Tarantino’s Hateful Eight landed Original Screenplay and Supporting Actress (for Jennifer Jason Leigh), while Creed got some love in the Best Supporting Actor category for Sylvester Stallone, which I’m thinking could be only the beginning of a nice awards run for the Rocky star.

Brie Larson continues to be a favorite in the Best Actress category, and she landed the same honor from NBR for her stunning work in Room. And I’m delighted to see young Abraham Attah from Beasts of No Nation take home the Breakthrough Performance award alongside Room’s Jacob Tremblay.

While it’s great to see Mad Max land the Best Picture award, it is a bit odd that Scott beat George Miller out for Best Director. Nevertheless, we’re only getting started folks. Expect many more critics group awards in the days and weeks to come. Check out the full list of the National Board of Review’s 2015 winners—including the year’s Top 10 films—below.

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


Image via 20th Century Fox

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

Top Films

Bridge of Spies


Image via Warner Bros.


The Hateful Eight

Inside Out

The Martian




Straight Outta Compton

Top 5 Foreign Language Films

Goodnight Mommy



The Second Mother

The Tribe

Top 5 Documentaries

Best of Enemies


Image via A24 Films

The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution

The Diplomat

Listen to Me Marlon

The Look of Silence 

Top 10 Independent Films


45 Years

Cop Car

Ex Machina


It Follows

James White

Mississippi Grind

Welcome to Me

While We’re Young

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