Paul Thomas Anderson’s highly-anticipated feature “Licorice Pizza” nabbed two of the most prestigious awards from the National Board of Review on Thursday, winning for Best Picture and Best Director.
The organization is made up of a group of film enthusiasts, industry professionals, academics, and filmmakers. The tastes of the National Board of Review often coincide with the Academy, making their recognition an important step on the road to the Oscars.
The cast of “Licorice Pizza” features plenty of eye-catching talent, including Bradley Cooper, Sean Penn, Maya Rudolph, and Ben Stiller. However, the two leads in the film, Alana Haim and Cooper Hoffman, are relatively unknown.
Speaking of Hoffman, he’s the son of the late great Philip Seymour Hoffman, a favorite collaborator of Anderson’s. “Licorice Pizza” represents Cooper’s debut feature.
“Licorice Pizza” is set to premiere in theaters on Dec. 23, 2021.
The full list of 2021 National Board of Review winners is as follows:
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
NBR Freedom of Expression Award: FLEE