On the eve of its release, the wistful and relevant Up in the Air was given the National Board of Review’s highest honor: Best Film of the Year. Said NBR president Annie Schulhof, “We are thrilled to honor Jason Reitman’s bittersweet and poignant film Up in the Air, with wonderfully strong performances, writing and direction.” It’s difficult to imagine writer and director Reitman receiving a more reassuring piece of news, seeing as the NBR’s past two selections for this distinction were No Country for Old Men and Slumdog Millionaire, both which went on to win the Oscar for Best Picture.

In Reitman’s movie, George Clooney stars as a corporate downsizing expert (companies hire him to fire others) who travels the country for 300 days out of the year. Clooney and his supporting star Anna Kendrick also received awards as Best Actor (shared with Morgan Freeman for Invictus) and Best Supporting Actress, respectively. Reitman himself is no stranger to the NBR Awards, having previously won Best Directorial Debut for his 2006 feature, Thank You for Smoking.

Netting four awards (the last being Best Adapted Screenplay), Up in the Air was not the only film with a strong presence; Clint Eastwood’s highly anticipated Invictus also won four awards, including Best Director (Eastwood) and Best Actor (the aforementioned Freeman). Other moviemakers to win notable awards were Joel and Ethan Coen for A Serious Man (Best Original Screenplay), Woody Harrelson for The Messenger (Best Supporting Actor) and Wes Anderson for Fantastic Mr. Fox (Special Filmmaking Achievement).

To see the full list of award winners, visit www.nbrmp.org/awards.