Up in the Air has been named Best Picture of the Year by the National Board Review. Founded in 1909, the group of film critics and historians is the oldest in the U.S. and is often dismissed for its supposedly safe and stodgy choices. But its last two Best Picture winners, No Country For Old Men and Slumdog Millionaire, have gone on to win big at the Oscars, too. And they put Star Trek on their list of the year's ten best, so maybe they are getting a little hipper.
Up in the Air's George Clooney shared the Best Actor award with Morgan Freeman, who plays Nelson Mandela in Invictus. Up in the Air also won the Best Supporting Actress (for Anna Kendrick) and Best Adapted Screenplay, for Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner.
The Best Director prize went to Invictus' Clint Eastwood. An Education's Carey Mulligan was named Best Actress. Other noteworthy winners: The Cove (Best Documentary), A Serious Man (Best Original Screenplay) and Best Foreign Language Film (A Prophet).
Notable omissions: The Road, Nine and The Lovely Bones, all of which are being pushed heavily for Oscar consideration.
The NBR awards will be handed out Jan. 12. With Golden Globe nominatins due on Dec. 15, the Oscar season has officially begun.Here is the complete list of NBR winners. They give out a lot of awards:
Best Film: Up in the Air
Best Director: Clint Eastwood, Invictus
Best Actor(s): George Clooney (Up in the Air) and Morgan Freeman (Invictus)
Best Actress: Carey Mulligan (An Education)
Best Supporting Actor: Woody Harrelson (The Messenger)
Best Supporting Actress: Anna Kendrick (Up In The Air)
Best Foreign Language 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 Sibide, Precious
Spotlight Award for Best Directorial Debut:
Duncan Jones, Moon
Oren Moverman, The Messenger
Marc Webb, (500) Days of Summer
Best Original Screenplay: Joel and 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
The National Board of Review's Ten Best Films of 2009 (in alphabetical order):
(500) Days of Summer
The Hurt Locker
A Serious Man
Where the Wild Things Are