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National Board of Review names Will Smith Best Actor, Rachel Zegler Best Actress, and ‘Licorice Pizza’ Best Film for 2021


The National Board of Review, which annually acknowledges excellence in film in a variety of categories, has announced its picks for its 2021 honorees, with its top awards going to Will Smith in the Best Actor category for King Richard, Rachel Zegler as Best Actress for West Side Story, and Paul Thomas Anderson‘s Licorice Pizza named Best Film.

Anderson was also hailed as Best Director for this year. 

The honorees will be feted at the NBR Awards Gala, hosted by Willie Geist, on Tuesday, January 11, 2022.

National Board of Review President Annie Schulhof commented in a statement, “In a moment of transition and uncertainty, there is nothing like Licorice Pizza to remind us of the joy, hope, and exhilaration that great cinema can inspire.”

Other movies hailed by the organization as one of its “Top Films” of the year included Dune, The Last Duel, the Netflix environmental disaster movie Don’t Look Up with Oscar winners Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence, and The Tragedy of Macbeth, which stars Oscar winners Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand.

Here is a list of the winners in the major categories: 

Best Film: Licorice Pizza 
Best Director: Paul Thomas Anderson, Licorice Pizza
Best Actor: Will Smith, King Richard
Best Actress: Rachel Zegler, West Side Story
Best Supporting Actor: Ciarán Hinds, Belfast
Best Supporting Actress: Aunjanue Ellis, King Richard
Best Original Screenplay: Asghar Farhadi, A Hero
Best Adapted Screenplay: Joel Coen, The Tragedy of Macbeth
Breakthrough Performance: Alana Haim & Cooper Hoffman, Licorice Pizza
Best Directorial Debut: Michael Sarnoski, Pig
Best Animated Feature: Encanto
Best Foreign Language Film: A Hero
Best Documentary: Summer of Soul (Or…When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) 
Best Ensemble: The Harder They Fall 
Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography: Bruno Delbonnel, The Tragedy of Macbeth
Freedom of Expression Award: Flee

Top Films (in alphabetical order)

Don’t Look Up
King Richard
The Last Duel
Nightmare Alley
Red Rocket
The Tragedy of Macbeth
West Side Story

Top 5 Foreign Language Films (in alphabetical order)

Lingui, The Sacred Bonds
The Worst Person in the World

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