Anne Hathaway is starting off awards season right.
Hathaway was named Best Actress today by the National Board of Review for her indie turn in Rachel Getting Married. The win came days after Hathaway notched an Independent Spirit nomination.
Slumdog Millionaire, the feel-good fable set in the slums of India, was named Best Picture. The Dark Knight represented for blockbuster Hollywood, tapped as one of the NBR's Top 10 Films. (The NBR doesn't do nominations—just winners and best-movie lists.)
Clint Eastwood, who's usually honored these days for directing, was named Best Actor for his turn as a crank in the upcoming Gran Torino, which he, yes, directed. Like The Dark Knight, Eastwood's other 2008 film, Changeling, which he, yes, directed, but didn't appear in, was honored as an NBR Top 10 film. Changeling star Angelina Jolie was shut out.
Jolie partner Brad Pitt went without, too, although his Oscar vehicle fared well overall.
David Fincher was named Best Director for Pitt's upcoming, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. The age-defying film also was tapped as one of the NBR's Top 10 Films.
Josh Brolin, on billboards everywhere this fall for W., won Best Supporting Actor for his lower-profile, but lethal turn as Harvey Milk assassin Dan White in Milk. (Oliver Stone's W. rated no wins or mentions.)
Brolin's win meant Heath Ledger didn't win, although The Dark Knight's inclusion in the Top 10 list keeps the movie—and the late Ledger—in the Oscar discussion.
Penélope Cruz prevailed as Best Supporting Actress for Woody Allen's Vicky Cristina Barcelona.
Last year NBR was a solid Academy Award bellwhether. The group's Best Film pick, No Country for Old Men, went onto claim Oscar's Best Picture. All four of its acting winners earned Oscar nominations, though none won.
It is hereby noted that the NBR is comprised of film historians, so-called film pros and others, and is best known for being known as the first big awards of Oscar season, although the Satellite Awards and Spirit Awards both beat NBR to the press-release punch this past week by announcing their nominations.
List of 2008 National Board of Review winners: