Oscar Hopefuls Honored At The National Board of Review’s Gala

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Amidst the growing excitement for Sunday’s Golden Globe’s and the pending announcement of the Academy Award nominations, some of the biggest Oscar contenders strolled the red carpet for The National Board of Reviews gala. The ceremony, which was held at the famous Cipriani’s in New York honored the buzzed about talents from this year’s formidable films in cinema.

The National Board of Review in the past has been a bit of a precursor to the fate of Oscar hopefuls. Last year, NBR named Martin Scorsese’s dark horse Hugo as the best film, which went on to dominate the Oscars, taking home five major awards. This year, NBR named the Bin Laden manhunt film Zero Dark Thirty top honor for Best Film, with Director Kathryn Bigelow for Best Director, and Jessica Chastain for Best Actress.

Paste was lucky enough to chat with a few of the honorees as we close in on phase 2 of the Academy Award season.

Argo’s (Director/Actor) Ben Affleck (Special Achievement in Filmmaking)

On his 70s influence:
Affleck: I’m not Jay Leno by any means. I get obsessed with cars on eBay and I’ll go back to them, like the Chevelle, all these great 70s muscle cars, which are incredible. I don’t own any but I used to have a Convertible Malibu. Also, my brother and I, when we first moved to California we bought a ‘72 Sudan Deville and for sentimental reasons I still have it in storage. I love that era. It’s sort of my time.

Behind the now famous line “Argo fuck yourself”:
Ben Affleck: That was all Tony and John Chambers. That was 100 percent true. That’s what they would tell each other to keep things light because of the anxiety of the mission and they said “Argo fuck yourself” and that’s why they changed the title of the movie to Argo. We kind of fudged it so they found a script named Argo, but the truth was “Argo fuck yourself” was their inside joke.

On whether or not his daughters Seraphina and Violet will watch the award shows:
Ben Affleck: No, bedtime is bedtime.

Les Miserables’ Eddie Redmayne (Best Ensemble)
On his experience making Les Mis:
Redmayne: I feel incredibly proud to be talking about a film that I care about. So often there are films that you have to promote that don’t necessarily you feel in your blood, but this is a film that I pursued. I loved making it. I had fun with the cast, and the directing. It feels lovely to be here to support something you care about.

On working with his favorite talents:
Redmayne: I was lucky enough to work with Julianne Moore, and Cate Blanchett and Kristen Stewart. They’re all actors who I really admire. I love that thing of when you work with somebody and you have a shorthand, and the next job you can start from there and progress further. I would love to work with them again.

On his upcoming project, in which we secretly hope is Wachowski’s Jupiter Ascending:
Redmayne: There’s something in the pipeline but I can’t really talk about it, because it hasn’t been signed off and all that stuff. I hope it comes to fruition.

Les Miserables’ Amanda Seyfried (Best Ensemble)
On a surreal moment:
Seyfried: This is recent. Les Mis premiered in London and I saw myself up on the huge screens on the red carpet. We were listening to music, and it was kind of cheesy but at the same time really amazing because it’s always been my dream to be in Les Mis.

The Impossible’s Tom Holland (Breakthrough Performance)
On his connection with Naomi Watts:
Holland: It was incredible working with Naomi. Working with them [Watts and Ewan McGregor] was the most formative experience in my life. On set they were like my parents, and off as well. Especially Naomi, I spent so much time with her throughout the film. Our relationship was very important and we really did build up that strong relationship. If you see us hang out off set we were literally like mother and son. I love her to bits.

On his nerves working with actors Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor:
Holland: Of course. Naomi and Ewan were movie stars and I was just a kid from London. I never got the chance to meet people like that. As soon as I met them I knew I was okay, and that I was in good hands. I was surprised by how hard they work. You always picture movie stars get these luxurious trailers but we didn’t get any of that. We were in the middle of the sweltering heat in Thailand and it was brutal.

On Watts’ and McGregor’s advice for red carpet events:
Holland: Yes, I got advice about being on the red carpet and all that kind of stuff. About remaining levelheaded. They said, “Be prepared for a lot of stuff.” Especially the photos being that everyone shouts at you for no reason. Right now I’m blind from the photographs. I actually can’t see you guys right now.

Looper’s (Writer/Director) Rian Johnson (Best Original Screenplay):
On his unique vision for Looper:
Johnson: It’s been a dream to do a science fiction movie. I just wanted to do one, and do one well. I got to work with some pretty amazing people as well. My head is still kind of reeling that we were able to get Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, and Emily Blunt. I learned so much working with them. It was an incredible experience.

On upcoming projects:
Johnson: I’m writing right now. It’s another sci fi thing but it’s very different than the last one. Great sci fi is always really about something you care about it just uses fantastical stuff.

Zero Dark Thirty’s Jason Clarke (Actor/Presenter)
On the Zero Dark Thirty controversy:
Clarke: I don’t really think about it that much. I read about it, and it is what it is. It’s just one of these things that happened, you know?

Silver Linings Playbook’s (Director) David O. Russell (Best Adapted Screenplay)
On the film’s connection with mental illness:
Russell: I want audiences to go in and say, “that was a good movie. It moved me. It brought some magic into my life.” That’s my main priority as a director to do. I have people come up to me and tell me, “My God, my family has struggled with this, my wife, my brother,” and that means the world to me. They feel like it’s less stigmatized, and it’s treated regularly, and that’s why I made the film. I made it for my son.