Clint Eastwood's FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS companion piece is a big winner months before its release - the war film, LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA, has claimed the National Board of Review's (NBR) Best Film of 2006 prize.
The Eastwood-directed movie beat out already-released films, including Flags of Our Fathers, to land the top prize - even though it has only been released in Japan to date.
The film, which follows the battle of Iwo Jima in World War Two from a Japanese perspective, goes on limited release in America on 20 December (06) and doesn't reach the rest of the world until February (07).
Other NBR big winners include Forrest Whitaker, who picked up the Best Actor prize for his portrayal of Idi Amin in THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND and Helen Mirren, who recieved the Best Actress award for her lead role in THE QUEEN.
Best Supporting Actor went to Djimon Hounsou for BLOOD DIAMOND, while CATHERINE O'HARA was a surprise Best Supporting Actress winner for her role in Oscar race comedy FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION.
The Best Director honour went to Martin Scorsese for THE DEPARTED - his most successful film to date.