Jason Reitman’s Up In The Air has been named the National Board Of Review’s 2009 Best Film Of The Year, a day before Paramount releases it in limited markets.

Up In The Air also earned a best actor award for George Clooney, who shared the prize with Morgan Freeman for Invictus, as well as best supporting actress for Anna Kendrick and adapted screenplay for Reitman and Sheldon Turner.

Clint Eastwood was named best director for Invictus, while Carey Mulligan won best actress for An Education in what continues to be a rollercoaster ride for the young British star following that film’s world premiere at Sundance earlier in the year.

In other awards, Woody Harrelson took best supporting actor for The Messenger and Jacques Audiard’s A Prophet was named best foreign-language film.

In two of the most acclaimed performances of the year, Jeremy Renner won best breakthrough performance by an actor in The Hurt Locker and Gabourey Sidibe took the corresponding actress honour for Precious. Both are likely to receive Academy Awards attention.

The Cove was named best documentary and Up best animated feature, while best ensemble cast went to It’s Complicated. The key cast includes Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin, Steve Martin, John Krasinski and Rita Wilson.

The Spotlight award best directorial debut went to Duncan Jones for Moon, Oren Moverman for The Messenger, and Marc Webb for 500 Days Of Summer.

Best Original Screenplay went to Joel and Ethan Coen for A Serious Man. The Special Filmmaking Achievement Award went to Wes Anderson for Fantastic Mr Fox, the William K Everson Film History Award to Jean Picker Firstenberg, and the NBR Freedom Of Expression prize to Burma VJ: Reporting From A Closed Country, Invictus, and The Most Dangerous Man In America: Daniel Ellseberg And The Pentagon Papers.

The NBR’s ten best films of the year in alphabetical order are: 500 Days Of Summer, An Education, The Hurt Locker, Inglourious Basterds, Invictus, The Messenger, A Serious Man, Star Trek, Up, and Where The Wild Things Are.

The five best foreign-language films in alphabetical order: The Maid, Revanche, Song Of Sparrows, Three Monkeys, and The White Ribbon.

The five best documentaries in alphabetical order: Burma VJ: Reporting From A Closed Country, Crude, Food, Inc, Good Hair, and The Most Dangerous Man In America: Daniel Ellsberg And The Pentagon Papers.

The top ten independent films in alphabetical order: Amreeka, District 9, Goodbye Solo, Humpday, In The Loop, Julia, Me And Orson Welles, Moon, Sugar, and Two Lovers.

“The NBR is very proud to announce its honourees for 2009 – a year in which film-makers’ voices and visions were innovative, exciting and eclectic,” NBR president Annie Schulhof said. “We are thrilled to honour Jason Reitman’s bittersweet and poignant film, Up In The Air, with wonderfully strong performances, writing and direction.”

This year the NBR screened more than 300 films – 181 narratives, 79 documentaries, 46 foreign-language films and 11 animated films. The 2010 gala will take place in New York on January 12, 2010.