The National Board of Review ‘ which snubbed “Precious” and gave Clint Eastwood and George Clooney their annual awards ‘ has lost its sponsor. After three years, Bulgari has pulled out of the awards dinner. This isn’t cause and effect, says a Bulgari rep. They decided to put their money into a more charitable cause: ‘Save the Children.

Annie Schulhof, president of the NBR said in a statement:” The NBR has treasured its partnership with Bulgari for the past several years. Following the celebration of their 125th anniversary and their important work with Save The Children, we hope to work with them again in the future.”

The NBR has no new sponsor to replace Bulgari.

For some reason, though, Bulgari’s money doesn’t show up in the NBR’s annual tax return. They list themselves as a foundation, and thus file a Form 990. No sign of Bulgari in their last three filings. Schulhof’s rep said that the explanation is that the group doesn’t itemize its contributions.

But it is interesting that a membership fee group assigned with the task of watching movies and picking its favorites claimed in 2008 $779,784 in net assets. (I’m putting that in bold because I can’t believe it.) They gave away $75,000 in student grants and had $126,000 in salaries. They claim another $100,000 in “other expenses” including $2,885 for screenings. Maybe this is for popcorn since the studios give them all their screenings.

Meanwhile, members of the NBR are definitely questioning how Eastwood and Clooney racked up all those nominations. Insiders who’ve taken their own polls say most everyone voted for “The Hurt Locker” for Best Picture, Kathryn Bigelow for Best Director, and acting awards for Christoph Waltz (”Inglourious Basterds“) and Mo’Nique (”Precious”). In past years, there have been reports of a smaller committee making the final decisions. But an NBR rep says the vote was counted per-member, and that “there were no unanimous votes.”

Next week, the NBR holds it annual gala after the far more important New York Film Critics dinner on January 11th, and just before the Critics Choice Awards in Los Angeles (VH-1, January 15th) and the Golden Globes.

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