The awards season has begun!!

‘Mystic River’ Wins Season’s First ‘Best Film’ Award
NEW YORK (Reuters) – “Mystic River” was named best film of 2003 and its star Sean Penn was named best actor by The National Board of Review on Wednesday in a possible indicator of what to expect in the race for Academy Awards.

Diane Keaton won best actress for her role in Sony Pictures Entertainment’s comedy “Something’s Gotta Give.”
The top 10 films named by the board were: “Mystic River,” “The Last Samurai,” “The Station Agent,” “21 Grams,” “House of Sand and Fog,” “Lost in Translation,” “Cold Mountain,” “In America,” “Seabiscuit,” and “Master and Commander.”
Penn won best actor for his work in both Warner Bros.’ “Mystic River,” and Focus Features’ “21 Grams.”
Alec Baldwin was named best supporting actor for “The Cooler,” while Patricia Clarkson took supporting actress honors for “Pieces of April,” and “The Station Agent.”
The award for best director went to Edward Zwick for “The Last Samurai,” to be released by Warner Bros. this week.
Best foreign film was “Barbarian Invasions,” a Canada/France production made in French.
Voting for the awards were about 150 members of a screening committee along with a 12-member awards panel.
“Every year we are the first to announce our awards, and we vote for the ones we like,” said board spokeswoman Megan Henry Pilla. “We often hear actors that go on to win Academy Awards tell us ‘because you recognized us early, it helped push our campaign for the Oscars.”‘
More often than not, however, the board’s choices do not mirror the Academy Awards, scheduled for Feb. 29.
The board, however, is proud of their independent spirit.
“We picked ‘Citizen Kane,’ and the Oscars ignored it,” said Pilla of Orson Welles (news)’ cinematic masterpiece, which won an Oscar for best screenplay in 1941 but otherwise came up empty.
Last year the board agreed with the Oscars on only the best supporting actor category among major awards in honoring Chris Cooper for “Adaptation.” Two years ago they again only agreed on best supporting actor Jim Broadbent for “Iris.”
The National Board of Review will mark its 95th year as a nonprofit organization in January. Its membership includes film professionals, educators, students and historians.
Warner Bros. Pictures is a unit of Time Warner Inc . Focus Features is the specialty label of Universal Pictures, which is owned by Vivendi Universal.