The Social Network has been named best film of the year by The National Board of Review, widely considered a harbinger of the Oscars.
The NBR lavished a total of four awards on the film, naming David Fincher best director, Aaron Sorkin’s script best adapted screenplay and Jesse Eisenberg best actor.
Jesse plays Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg in the film, which has won critical praise and earned more than 180 million US dollars worldwide.
In the past three years, the National Board of Review winner has twice gone on to win best film at the Oscars: No Country for Old Men in 2007 and Slumdog Millionaire in 2008.
Lesley Manville was named best actress for her performance as a desperate middle-aged secretary in Another Year, Mike Leigh’s British drama about friendship and aging.
Best supporting actor went to Christian Bale, who plays Dicky Eklund, the junkie former boxer and older brother to Mickey Ward (Mark Wahlberg) in David O Russell’s The Fighter. Jacki Weaver won best supporting actress for her role as the matriarch of a blue-collar crime family in the Australian drama Animal Kingdom.
Ben Affleck’s Boston crime drama The Town – which features Ben, Rebecca Hall, Jeremy Renner and Jon Hamm – was chosen for best ensemble cast.
Toy Story 3, Pixar’s third instalment in its beloved franchise, won best animated feature.
The National Board of Review, a group of US film historians, students and educators founded in 1909, is one of the first notable groups to announce its picks for the year.