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Film Board Tickled By <i>Quills</i>

031700 "Julia Roberts"
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The Marquis de Sade drama Quills received top honors from the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures, kicking off this year's awards season.

The film, starring Geoffrey Rush and Kate Winslet, was named the best picture of 2000 Wednesday.

Spanish actor Javier Bardem won the best actor award for his role as Cuban-born poet and novelist Reinaldo Arenas in Before Night Falls. Julia Roberts took best actress honors for the title role in Erin Brockovich.

Steven Soderbergh received the best director award for Erin Brockovich and Traffic.

The board named Ang Lee's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon best foreign film.

The National Board of Review, made up of teachers, writers, actors and movie production workers, isn't always an Oscar predictor. Last year, the board gave top honors to American Beauty, which also won the Academy Award for best picture.

But in 1998, the board chose Gods and Monsters as the top film. Shakespeare in Love won the Oscar that year for best picture.

The board's top 10 films this year are:

Quills, Traffic, Croupier, You Can Count on Me, Billy Elliot, Before Night Falls, Gladiator, Wonder Boys, Sunshine and Dancer in the Dark.

The awards will be presented Jan. 16 in Manhattan.

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