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National Board of Review: Paul Thomas Anderson’s ‘Licorice Pizza’ Wins Best Picture and Best Director

Licorice Pizza Paul Thomas Anderson
United Artists Releasing

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.

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“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

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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

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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

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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

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Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography: Bruno Delbonnel, THE TRAGEDY OF MACBETH

NBR Freedom of Expression Award: FLEE