The first pre-Oscar awards have been bestowed.  The National Board of Review - traditionally the first awards pick of the year - announced its winners today.  And 'The Social Network' - one of the earliest Oscar front-runners - is a big winner.  The movie won Best Picture, Best Director (David Fincher), Best Adapted Screenplay (Aaron Sorkin), and Best Actor (Jesse Eisenberg).

Best Actress went to Lesley Manville ('Another Year'), Supporting Actor to Christian Bale ('The Fighter') and Supporting Actress to little-known Jacki Weaver ('Animal Kingdom').

In addition to Best Picture, the National Board of Review traditionally selects an additional Top Ten.  This year, they are:

'Another Year'
'The Fighter'
'The King’s Speech'
'Shutter Island'
'The Town'
'Toy Story 3'
'True Grit'
'Winter’s Bone'

Notable this year: the two front-runner Best Actress contenders, Natalie Portman ('Black Swan') and Annette Bening ('The Kids Are All Right') were left empty-handed, as were Colin Firth ('The King's Speech') and Justin Timberlake and Andrew Garfield (potential front-runners for Best Supporting Actor for 'The Social Network').

In the coming weeks, the nominees for The Golden Globe Awards will be announced, as will several critics' prizes.  Stay tuned.