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Clooney's Up in the Air Named Best Film

12/03/2009 at 03:55 PM EST

Clooney's Up in the Air Named Best Film
George Clooney
Ian Lawrence/Splash News Online
The 2009 Oscar race is officially Up in the Air.

The George Clooney vehicle about love in the age of layoffs has become one of the Oscar front-runners after being named best picture by the National Board of Review on Thursday.

Clooney shared a win for best actor with Morgan Freeman, who won for his portrayal of Nelson Mandela in Invictus, directed by his longtime collaborator Clint Eastwood, who was named best director.

British newcomer Carey Mulligan was named best actress for playing a precocious teen in An Education, while The Messenger's Woody Harrelson and Air's Anna Kendrick were recognized for their supporting performances.

The cast of the forthcoming comedy, It's Complicated, which includes Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin, was named best ensemble.

The NBR, which was naming 10 of the year's outstanding films long before the Oscars got into the act, also recognized, An Education, Inglourious Basterds, (500) Days of Summer, The Hurt Locker, A Serious Man, Invictus, Star Trek, The Messenger, Where the Wild Things Are, and Up, which was named best animated film.

The Oscars will air live on March 7 on ABC

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