Martin Scorsese 's magical 3D movie 'Hugo' has been named Film of the Year by the National Board of Review. The Manhattan-based collective of film academics and professionals also named the veteran filmmaker Director of the Year - two wins that add to the buzz surrounding Hugo as the awards season gets underway,
According to the UK's Guardian newspaper, Nrb president Annie Schulhof praised the movie's mixture of tradition with cutting-edge technology, and Hugo has now had its odds slashed to 5/1 to win Best Picture at the 2012 Academy Awards. Although Steven Spielberg's War Horse, Alexander Payne's 'The Descendants' and silent French flick 'The Artist' are likely to be the three main contenders, there is a quiet campaign for Scorsese's dreamy picture to be at least recognised with a nomination. Given the Academy now select anywhere between 5 and 10 movies for nominations in the Best Picture category, it is highly likely that Hugo will get the nod along with other outside contenders such as Moneyball, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. Elsewhere, the Oscar for Best Actor is shaping up to be potentially intriguing affair, with George Clooney taking the National Board of Review's prize for his turn in 'The Descendants', while Brad Pitt won the same award at the New York Critics Awards last week and Jean Dujardin took the gong at Cannes earlier this year. The Nbr's award for Best Actress went to Tilda Swinton for We Need to Talk About Kevin while the Breakthrough Performance statuette went to Rooney Mara.
Scorsese finally won his first directing Oscar in 2007 for his epic crime-drama The Departed. He had lost out on previous occasions with The Aviator, Gangs of New York, Goodfellas, The Last Temptation of Christ and Raging Bull.