Geoffrey Fletcher was one of the few filmmakers on the National Board of Review board. He was also the only black person.
Last year, when Fletcher realized there could be a possible conflict of interest he stepped down from the NBR. His adaptation of “Precious” was debuting at Sundance and he didn’t want his colleagues at the NBR to feel troubled about decisions.
Now, Fletcher and “Precious” have been ignored by the NBR even though the movie, the screenplay, director Lee Daniels, and actress Mo’Nique‘are headed to the Academy Awards. The movie is also a rare indie boxoffice hit.
Fletcher declined to comment as he’s just received the news. But sources say it’s quite a scandal at the NBR that a movie like “Star Trek” would make their top 10 but there’s no sign of “Precious.”
Of course the National Board of Review, despite its name, is not about professional filmmakers or critics. Indeed, the actual professionals have been dropped by president Annie Schulhof over the last several years in favor of a sex therapist and Schulhof’s Park Avenue socialite friends.
Gone from the NBR just recently are Annette Insdorf of Columbia University, a respected professor and writer; as well as both Roy and Lewis Frumkes, writers and film academicians, and Reeves Lehmann, head of the School of Visual Arts. They’ve added, however, Erik Tarloff, screenwriter of the memorable “Car 54, Where Are You?” and several episodes of TV’s “Gimme a Break!”
As for “Precious”: luckily the NBR is a’ precursor of nothing. Insiders say the Oscars are months away, and that the Academy voters don’t take the NBR seriously. Basically, it’s an advertising tool so that the studios can trumpet an impressive sounding award name in ads over Christmas. By March 7th, the NBR will be a distant memory, and their snub of “Precious” just another on their long list of embarrassments.