"Hugo" named National Board of Review's best film of 2011

Thu Dec 1, 2011 5:41pm EST
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By Chris Michaud

NEW YORK (Reuters) - "Hugo," Martin Scorsese's 3D drama about an orphan boy in 1930s Paris, was named best film of 2011 on Thursday by the National Board of Review, which also named Scorsese best director.

George Clooney won best actor for "The Descendants," while Tilda Swinton took the best actress prize for "We Need to Talk About Kevin," in which she plays a grieving mother struggling in the aftermath of her teenage son's school shooting spree.

" 'Hugo' is such a personal film by Martin Scorsese," said Annie Schulhof, NBR president in a statement. "It is a tribute to the early years of cinema that uses today's cutting edge technology to bring the audience into a completely unique and magical world," she said.

The somewhat surprising choice boosted the fortunes for "Hugo," the story of a boy living in a Paris train station who maintains the station's clocks, in the run-up to the Oscars, the film world's highest honors.

The group praised the film, which is based on the book "The Invention of Hugo Cabret" and won strong reviews, as "visually stunning and emotionally engaging."

Other early film awards announced in recent days have focused on a handful of movies including "The Artist," "The Descendants" and "Beginners."

Christopher Plummer won best supporting actor from the National Board of Review for his role as an elderly man coming out of the closet in "Beginners," while Shailene Woodley took the best supporting actress honor for "The Descendants," the story of a man trying to connect with his daughters while his wife is comatose following an accident.

The National Board of Review, a U.S.-based group of movie industry watchers and film professionals, gave its original screenplay award to Will Reiser for cancer comedy "50/50."   Continued...