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National Board Of Review Names Up In The Air Best Picture

OK, let's just get this out of the way-- the National Board of Review's choices for the best films of the year are meaningless. It's a group full of old people whose choices for the best of the year can range from the utterly expected to the totally bizarre (The Bucket List!), and even with 10 Best Picture nominees now, the odds of their 10 choices lining up with Oscar's are extremely slim.

That said, the NBR's choices for the ten best films of the year (plus an extra Best Picture winner) are very, very interesting, both for what it could mean for the coming awards season and as a snapshot of the year that was. Up in the Air took the top prize as well as a few others-- George Clooney for Best Actor, Anna Kendrick for Best Supporting Actress (a shocking upset over Precious's Mo'nique), and Best Adapted Screenplay for Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner. In fact, except for a Breakthrough Actress nod for Gabourey Sidibe, Precious was entirely absent, hugely surprising given that it's been a frontrunner in the awards race so far.

The other films listed alongside Up in the Air as the year's best were An Education (also honored with Carey Mulligan as Best Actress), (500) Days of Summer, The Hurt Locker (with Jeremy Renner additionally as Breakthrough Actor), Inglourious Basterds, Invictus (Clint Eastwood was awarded with Best Director, and Morgan Freeman tied with Clooney for the Actor prize), The Messenger (Woody Harrelson came out of nowhere to get Best Supporting Actor for this film), A Serious Man (also winner of Best Original Screenplay), Star Trek (!!), Up and Where the Wild Things Are (!!!).

It's an interesting mix of mainstream and indie, highbrow and populist, and really, not a bad list at all. Also noteworthy is the top ten for independent films, which somehow includes the studio-funded District 9 right alongside teeny-tiny Goodbye Solo, but is also a pretty great list as well. Below is the full list of awards (cribbed from Indiewire).

Best Film: Up In The Air

Best Director: Clint Eastwood, Invictus

Best Actor: Morgan Freeman, Invictusand George Clooney, Up In The Air(tie)

Best Actress: Carey Mulligan, An Education

Best Supporting Actor: Woody Harrelson, The Messenger

Best Supporting Actress: Anna Kendrick, Up In The Air

Best Foreign Film: A Prophet

Best Documentary: The Cove

Best Animated Feature: Up

Best Ensemble Cast: It’s Complicated

Breakthrough Performance by an Actor: Jeremy Renner, The Hurt Locker

Breakthrough Performance by an Actress: Gabourey Sidibe, Precious

Spotlight Award for Best Directorial Debut: Duncan Jones, Moon, Oren Moverman, The Messenger and Marc Webb, 500 Days of Summer (tie)

Best Original Screenplay: Joel & Ethan Coen, A Serious Man

Best Adapted Screenplay: Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner, Up In The Air

Special Filmmaking Achievement Award: Wes Anderson, The Fantastic Mr. Fox

William K. Everson Film History Award: Jean Picker Firstenberg

NBR Freedom of Expression: Burma Vj: Reporting From A Closed Country, Invictus, The Most Dangerous Man In America: Daniel Ellseberg And The Pentagon Papers

Top Eleven Films (In alphabetical order):

An Education

(500) Days Of Summer

The Hurt Locker

Inglourious Basterds

Invictus

The Messenger

A Serious Man

Star Trek

Up

Up In The Air

Where The Wild Things Are

Top Ten Independent Films (In alphabetical order):

Amreeka

District 9

Goodbye Solo

Humpday

In The Loop

Julia

Me And Orson Welles

Moon

Sugar

Two Lovers

Top Six Foreign Films (In alphabetical order):

The Maid

A Prophet

Revanche

Song Of Sparrows

Three Monkeys

The White Ribbon

Top Six Documentary Films (In alphabetical order):

Burma Vj: Reporting From A Closed Country

The Cove

Crude

Food, Inc.

Good Hair

The Most Dangerous Man In America: Daniel Ellsberg And The Pentagon Papers

Staff Writer at CinemaBlend