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The National Board of Review awards represent the first step in predicting eventual Academy Award winners, but they're usually not in step with Oscar voters.
BOARD PICKS THE HOURS
AS TOP FILM OF 2002
Julianne Moore, Campbell Scott Earn Acting Honors, Philip Noyce Directing Nod
The Oscar race is underway.

The National Board of Review of Motion Pictures, which last year tapped Baz Luhrmann's Moulin Rouge, has chosen Stephen Daldry's The Hours, starring Meryl Streep, Julianne Moore and Nicole Kidman, as the year's best movie.

The film's based on Michael Cunningham's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, the film follows three women in three eras who are all tied to Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway. This is Daldry's first film since the acclaimed Billy Elliot.

Moore also won the board's best-actress award Wednesday for Todd Haynes' Far From Heaven, in which she plays a 1950s New England housewife who learns her husband is gay, then begins a relationship with her black gardener.

Campbell Scott was named the best actor for first-time director Dylan Kidd's Roger Dodger, in which he stars as a shallow womanizer who gives his nephew dating tips during an eventful night in Manhattan.

The group's supporting actor prize went to Chris Cooper for Adaptation. Cooper co-stars as an eccentric orchid breeder in search of a rare, perfect flower.

Kathy Bates won best supporting actress for About Schmidt, in which she plays a bohemian divorcee.

Aussie Philip Noyce was the group's director of the year for The Quiet American, his adaptation of the Graham Greene novel and Rabbit-Proof Fence, based on the true-life story of Aborigine families in his native country forced to give up their children from mixed marriages.

Charlie Kaufman received screenplay honors for three films, including Adaptation, Human Nature and Confessions of a Dangerous Mind.

The documentary honor went to Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine, his examination of America's gun culture.

Pedro Almodovar's Talk to Her was the choice for best foreign film of the year. The Spanish film follows two men who are in love with women in comas in the same hospital.

Derek Luke won for breakthrough performance in Denzel Washington's directorial debut, Antwone Fisher, while Maggie Gyllenhaal won the corresponding actress nod for the S&M romp Secretary. Chicago's Rob Marshall earned best directorial debut.

The cast of the upcoming Nicholas Nickelby garnered best acting by an ensemble honors, while Hayao Miyazaki's Spirited Away took best animated feature.

Campbell Scott's nod came as a bit of a surprise. He is the son of four-time Oscar nominee George C. Scott, who won the best-actor Oscar for 1970's "Patton," but refused to accept it because he thought it was meaningless.

The Scotts would become only the second father-son Oscar winners. Walter and John Huston won for 1948's The Treasure of Sierra Madre—as supporting actor and director-screenwriter, respectively.

Completing the list of the board's top 10 movies for 2002: Chicago, Gangs of New York, The Quiet American, Adaptation, Rabbit-Proof Fence, The Pianist, Far From Heaven, Thirteen Conversations About One Thing and Frida.

The National Board of Review awards represent the first step in predicting eventual Academy Award winners, but they're usually not in step with Oscar voters.

In 2000, the board honored Philip Kaufman's eccentric Quills, starring Geoffrey Rush as the Marquis de Sade; the best-picture winner was Gladiator, starring Russell Crowe. Last year, the org correctly tapped eventual Oscar winners Halle Berry as Best Actress for Monster's Ball and supporting actor Jim Broadbent for Iris.

The National Board of Review, made up of teachers, writers, actors and movie production workers, usually prefers more literary-minded movies. The organization will honor the winners at a ceremony Jan. 14 in New York.

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