True stories: NBR list hails Eastwood's 'Iwo Jima' tale Whitaker, Mirren top acting categories

Fact-based fiction ruled this year's National Board of Review selections as Clint Eastwood's Japan-centric World War II drama "Letters From Iwo Jima" took home film of the year honors (HR 12/7).

Forest Whitaker nabbed best actor for his role as Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in "The Last King of Scotland," and Helen Mirren ruled as best actress for her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II in "The Queen."

Pedro Almodovar's "Volver" was named best foreign film; Davis Guggenheim's "An Inconvenient Truth" earned best documentary; John Lasseter and Joe Ranft's "Cars" won best animated film;and Martin Scorsese was named best director for "The Departed," which topped the list of winners with three awards, including a place on the top 10 best film list and a best ensemble cast award.

The NBR's top 10 films, led by "Iwo Jima," are Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's "Babel," Edward Zwick's "Blood Diamond," "Departed," David Frankel's "The Devil Wears Prada," Eastwood's "Iwo Jima" companion film "Flags of Our Fathers," Nicholas Hytner's "The History Boys," Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris' "Little Miss Sunshine," Richard Eyre's "Notes on a Scandal" and John Curran's "The Painted Veil."

Two much-discussed Oscar contenders, "Dreamgirls" and "Queen," were overlooked on the top 10 list by a group that has been mired in controversy in recent years over the qualifications of its voters.

The board's awards are not generally considered predictors of Oscar success. Over the past 10 years, only one of the board's best-picture choices, 1999's "American Beauty," has gone on to win the best picture Oscar.