The awards season has begun!

‘The Hours’ Named Best Film, First Award of Season
Believe it or not, the woman on the right is Nicole Kidman
NEW YORK (Reuters) – “The Hours,” the story of three women linked by Virginia Woolf’s novel “Mrs. Dalloway,” was named best film of the year on Wednesday by the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures, whose annual Top 10 honors kick off the film awards season that culminates with the Oscars.
Industry watchers look to the New York-based society’s picks and other upcoming awards for hints on possible Academy Awards contenders.
“The Hours,” based on Michael Cunningham’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, was followed by “Chicago,” “Gangs of New York,” The Quiet American” and “Adaptation.”
“The Hours,” slated for release this month, stars Nicole Kidman, Meryl Streep and Julianne Moore and interweaves the stories of three women from different eras, including the character of Virginia Woolf as she begins to write the novel “Mrs. Dalloway.”
Campbell Scott was named best actor for the dark comedy “Roger Dodger” and Moore best actress for “Far From Heaven,” a drama set in the 1950s.
“It’s a total surprise, although I’ll take it,” Scott told Reuters in a telephone interview. “‘Roger’ is a small movie so we want people to know about it.”
Scott, 41, son of the late actors George C. Scott and Colleen Dewhurst, also is an executive producer of the film, the story of a scheming advertising executive who tries to teach his teen-age nephew how to manipulate women during a night on the town.
“He’s a tough nut — he can be very cruel and charming at the same time,” he said of his character. “That stuff is fun to play.”
“Talk to Her,” from Spanish director Pedro Almodovar, was named best foreign film.
Rounding out the Top 10 film winners were “Rabbit-Proof Fence,” “The Pianist,” “Far From Heaven,” “Thirteen Conversations About One Thing” and “Frida.”
Last year, Halle Berry took best actress honors from the board for her role in the death-row drama “Monster’s Ball” and went on to win the Academy Award for best actress.
However, the board also last year chose the glitzy musical “Moulin Rouge” as best film, but the Oscar for that category went to “A Beautiful Mind,” a drama about Princeton University mathematician John Nash’s struggle with mental illness.
The board was founded in New York in 1909 to forestall movie censorship and began selecting its “10 best movies of the year” in 1919. The group’s screening membership includes film professionals, teachers, students and historians.
The group will present its awards on Jan. 14 in New York.