Last month, comedian and actor Adam Sandler quipped about how the “failure” of Billy Madison to score him an Academy Award nomination had utterly destroyed his dreams of achieving recognition. “I thought Billy Madison or something had a shot,” he told The Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon. “But they took that away from me. So, I stopped dreaming.” Yet, with all the praise he’s been garnering for his performance in Josh and Benny Safdie’s Uncut Gems, it seems Sandler’s chances are looking up. In fact, he just won the National Board of Review’s acting award for his work in the film.
As first reported by IndieWire, the nonprofit dedicated to celebrating and acknowledging achievement in cinema announced its 2019 award winners on Tuesday. Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman took home the top honor, but instead of recognizing Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, or Joe Pesci’s work (digital de-aging effects or not), the NBR selected Sandler’s performance in the crime thriller about a jewelry store owner whose gambling debts have finally caught up with him.
The 53-year-old entertainer’s NBR trophy doesn’t necessarily mean he’s guaranteed an Oscar nomination come next month’s announcements, but if the record of past nominees and winners is any indication, Sandler stands a pretty good chance of overcoming Billy Madison‘s curse. Previous NBR acting award winners include Viggo Mortensen for Green Book, Tom Hanks for The Post, Casey Affleck for Manchester by the Sea, Matt Damon for The Martian, Oscar Isaac for A Most Violent Year, Bruce Dern for Nebraska, Bradley Cooper for Silver Linings Playbook, George Clooney for The Descendents, and Jesse Eisenberg for The Social Network.
Hanks and Isaac were the only ones who didn’t receive Oscar nominations for their respective roles.