George Clooney and young actress Ellen Page have been recognised at the first major ceremony of the American movie awards season.

Clooney took best actor at the US National Board of Review (NBR) ceremony for his part in legal drama Michael Clayton, adding weight to rumours that the Ocean's Eleven star could be in line for a best actor gong at the 2008 Academy Awards.

And 21-year-old Page claimed the breakthrough actress award for her role as the titular pregnant teen in indie comedy Juno.

The Coen Brothers' No Country For Old Men was the major winner at the ceremony, taking the film of the year award, as well as prizes for ensemble cast and best adapted screenplay, though Tim Burton was the surprise choice for the best director gong, for his gory musical Sweeney Todd.

Though he lost out to co-star Brad Pitt for the best actor award at the Venice film festival, Casey Affleck took the best supporting actor trophy for his part in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, while his brother Ben claimed the best directorial debut gong for Gone Baby Gone.

Julian Schnabel's remarkable The Diving Bell and the Butterfly was named best foreign film while Body of War claimed the best documentary trophy.

The NBR also named its top ten films of the year, with no real surprises other than the inclusion of road-trip comedy The Bucket List.

The US National Board of Review's top ten films of 2007 were:

The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford
The Bourne Ultimatum
The Bucket List
Into The Wild
The Kite Runner
Lars And The Real Girl
Michael Clayton
Sweeney Todd

06/12/2007 09:51:36