National Board of Review Calls ‘Mad Max’ The Best Film of 2015

The onslaught of movie awards continues, and it’s more explosive than usual. The National Board of Review has announced their annual award winners, but instead of rallying behind Spotlight or Carol – the features which earned the most nominations from the Independent Spirit Awards – they gave most of their honors to crowd pleasers like Mad Max: Fury RoadThe MartianThe Hateful Eight and Creed.

Mad Max: Fury Road even took the top honors as The National Board of Review’s best film of the year, after a year’s worth of almost universal acclaim. George Miller’s fourth Mad Max movie is an almost non-stop car chase that seems likely to wind up on a lot of Best of 2015 lists.

Meanwhile, The Martian is cementing its place as the ambitious space epic of the Oscar season, earning Ridley Scott an award for Best Director, Matt Damon the award for Best Actor, and Drew Goddard the award for Best Supporting Actor. Mad Max may be too rough-and-tumble for the Oscar voters, who tend to skew older, but The Martian combines realism with its science fiction, and emerges as a more inspirational motion picture. Will it have legs this awards season? We’re guessing the answer is “yes.”

Related: These Six Movies Deserve a LOT More Oscar Buzz

The Hateful Eight also makes its debut in the awards season landscape. Quentin Tarantino’s latest western (after the Oscar-winning Django Unchained) has only just started screening in earnest, and may wind up being a major contender as the season continues. Particularly for Jennifer Jason Leigh, who won Best Supporting Actress from The National Board of Review, a category that doesn’t necessarily have any frontrunners yet. 

Brie Larson also won Best Actress for Room, but that’s looking more and more like a foregone conclusion  this year.

The final award of note, Best Supporting Actor, went to Sylvester Stallone for Creed. It’s his seventh performance as boxer Rocky Balboa, and at this rate it seems likely to earn him his second Oscar nomination for playing the part he originally wrote for himself in the original Rocky. (He lost the Best Actor Oscar in 1977 to Peter Finch, who also gave an iconic performance in Network.

Here are the complete list of winners from The National Board of Review!

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

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



Bridge of Spies


The Hateful Eight

Inside Out

The Martian




Straight Outta Compton 


Goodnight Mommy



The Second Mother

The Tribe


Best of Enemies

The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution

The Diplomat

Listen to Me Marlon

The Look of Silence



45 Years

Cop Car

Ex Machina


It Follows

James White

Mississippi Grind

Welcome to Me

While We’re Young


William Bibbiani (everyone calls him ‘Bibbs’) is Crave’s film content editor and critic. You can hear him every week on The B-Movies Podcast and watch him on the weekly YouTube series Most Craved and What the Flick. Follow his rantings on Twitter at @WilliamBibbiani.


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