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With three months to go until the big night, the race to the 2021 Oscars is starting to pick up.
The National Board of Review on Tuesday selected Da 5 Bloods, Spike Lee's Netflix film about Vietnam War veterans, as Best Film, also giving Lee the award for Best Director. The film additionally was awarded Best Ensemble.
The National Board of Review includes academics and filmmakers, and its best film pick is one of numerous honors to be handed out in the lead-up to the Academy Awards every year. The winner hasn't recently tended to go on to win the Best Picture Oscar, though it has on occasion as with Green Book, and Variety notes it at least usually scores a nomination.
But in general, The Washington Post's Steven Zeitchik wrote that Da 5 Bloods has been "gathering force" as a potential Best Picture winner recently, something this nod "will only help." The National Board of Review also picked Sound of Metal's Riz Ahmed for Best Actor and Promising Young Woman's Carey Mulligan for Best Actress, both of whom are likely to earn Oscar nominations.
Da 5 Bloods has been gathering force as a best-picture sleeper lately, and the NBR win today will only help. The group rarely predicts the winner (Green Book) but often has a solid contender that's there right up until the end (Irishman, Mad Max, Social Network).
— Steven Zeitchik (@zeitchikWaPo) January 26, 2021
These wins were unveiled on Tuesday after the nominations for this year's Film Independent Spirit Awards, which recognize smaller movies, were also announced. Never Rarely Sometimes Always led there with an impressive seven nominations. Minari and Nomadland also scored six and five Spirit Award nominations, respectively, and both films are thought to be possible Best Picture Oscar winners.
While the Oscars won't be held until April this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we'll get another indication of how the award season is shaping up when the Golden Globe nominations are announced on Feb. 3.