The critics of the National Board of Review just sent the Oscars a message:
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 was a good film; it's OK to honor it.
And so the NBR, for one, did.
Deathly Hallows Part 2 was named by the group as one of the Top 10 films of 2011.
Martin Scorsese's Hugo was declared the best overall, the family adventure's first win of awards season. Scorsese himself was named Best Director.
The rest of the NBR's top films' list was filled out by the already usual suspects (The Artist, The Descendants, The Tree of Life, etc.), plus a couple of wild cards, including Ryan Gosling's Drive.
Deathly Hallows Part 2 isn't being given much of a chance to duplicate its success today at the Oscars. One oddmakers has it an an 80-to-1 shot to win Best Picture, which presumes it's nominated for Best Picture, which most early-bird oddsmakers don't presume—they're not even tracking the film.
To date, the Harry Potter franchise has earned a combined nine nominations, all of them outside the glamour categories. Alan Rickman, more than the film itself, is considered to have Deathly Hallow's best shot at breaking through.
Unless the Oscars decides to receive the NBR's message loud and clear.
Here are highlights from the 2011 winners from the National Board of Review:
Top films list (in alphabetical order):