By: Erik Childress

It's sad that every year the awards season is kicked off with the National Board of Review (see our post from yesterday for the complete list of winners). As unknown as the members of the MPAA or the Hollywood Foreign Press – and about as credible as serious-minded critics of film – we nevertheless entrust their choices to help steer our curiosity towards the eventual Oscar nominees. Christening this flying wasp yesterday with the announcement that Up In The Air has taken their prize for Best Picture of 2009, they can now await their RSVP from George Clooney, amongst others to their annual party. Which is what it's really all about for them. But if the Academy Awards have taught us anything, it's to respect the trends and traditions in place. Plus a few people who have seen only about a quarter of the films released this year could use a tip in the right direction.

Coming up tops is indeed Jason Reitman's Up In The Air, widely considered to be a frontrunner for this year's Best Picture honors at the Oscars. The film certainly has a leg up for a nomination with this win as 9 of the last 10 NBR winners have gone on to a nod. Quills was the lone holdout in 2000. But only three of their choices in that time (American Beauty, No Country for Old Men and Slumdog Millionaire) have jetted on to winning the big prize.