Deservedly so! It might be the best “serious” movie of 2004! “Dodgeball” is the best overall movie, but as far as serious movies go, “Finding Neverland” might be the best “serious” movie of 2004! Did I write that already?

‘Finding Neverland’ Wins First Award in Oscar Race
NEW YORK (Reuters) – “Finding Neverland,” a fictionalized account of the creation of children’s classic “Peter Pan,” was named best film of 2004 by The National Board of Review on Wednesday in the first major award of the Oscar season.
Oscar hopeful Jamie Foxx was named best actor for “Ray,” director Taylor Hackford’s film about legendary singer Ray Charles, while Annette Bening won the best actress award for her role as a 1930s stage diva in “Being Julia.”
The awards, voted on by about 150 members of a screening committee along with a 12-member awards panel, are sometimes an indicator of what to expect in the race for the Academy Awards in February, though frequently its choices are more esoteric than the Oscars.
“Finding Neverland” director Marc Forster, who was shopping in a supermarket store when he heard news of the award, said his film offered an optimistic tale of mortality and growing up.
“We live in very dark times right now,” he said.
The film is a fantasy about Scottish author J.M. Barrie and his friendship with a family of children including Peter, who is the model for Peter Pan, in Edwardian London.
“Whatever happens from here on out I’m happy,” Forster added, declining to speculate on the race for Oscars. “I learned not to have expectations because if you have expectations you can be disappointed.”
Michael Mann was named best director for his thriller “Collateral,” starring Tom Cruise, while “The Incredibles,” about a family of superheroes, won best animated feature, beating out big studio films “Shrek 2” and “Polar Express.”
Alejandro Amenabar’s “The Sea Inside” (“Mar adentro”) won best foreign language film, a category dominated by Spanish language films. Pedro Almodovar’s “Bad Education” was second, “Maria Full of Grace” about a Colombian drugs courier was third, and “The Motorcycle Diaries,” based on the journals of a young Che Guevara, came in fifth.
The board’s list of top 10 films of the year had in second place “The Aviator,” starring Leonardo DiCaprio as a young Howard Hughes, followed by Mike Nichols’ “Closer,” Clint Eastwood’s “Million Dollar Baby” and “Sideways.”
Rounding out the top 10 were “Kinsey,” the biopic of sex researcher Alfred Kinsey, in the sixth spot followed in order by abortionist drama “Vera Drake,” “Ray,” “Collateral” and genocide drama “Hotel Rwanda.”
“What we noticed with our top 10 is there were a lot of biopics,” said board spokeswoman Megan Henry Pilla. “The board was drawn to films about real people.”
Two big names omitted from the main lists but picked out for “Special recognition of films that reflect the freedom of expression” were Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ” and Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 9/11.”
“Born into Brothels,” a film about children of prostitutes in Calcutta, India, won in the documentary category.
The board, whose membership includes film professionals, educators, students and historians, gave a career achievement award to Jeff Bridges, and honored Clint Eastwood for special filmmaking achievement for producing, directing, acting and composing the score for “Million Dollar Baby.”
The next date in the U.S. awards calendar is Dec. 13, when the New York Film Critics Circle names its selections and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association announces its Golden Globe nominations. All those help narrow the contestants for the Oscars, which will be awarded on Feb. 27.