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Eastwood's 'Letters' named 2006's best

Story Highlights

• National Board of Review honors "Letters From Iwo Jima"
• Clint Eastwood film is Japanese look at Pacific battle
• Other films in top 10: "Babel," "Miss Sunshine," "Departed"
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NEW YORK (AP) -- "Letters From Iwo Jima," the second of Clint Eastwood's two-part look at World War II, is the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures' pick as the best film of 2006.

Also on the list, announced Wednesday: "Flags of Our Fathers," in which Eastwood shows the aftermath of war through the eyes of the military men who raised the American flag during the Battle of Iwo Jima.

"Letters," which depicts the war from the Japanese perspective with a mostly Japanese cast, originally was scheduled to hit theaters in February 2007, but Warner Bros. recently bumped up the release date to December 20.

The rest of the group's top 10, in alphabetical order: "Babel," "Blood Diamond," "The Departed," "The Devil Wears Prada," "The History Boys," "Little Miss Sunshine," "Notes on a Scandal" and "The Painted Veil." (Read the complete list of winners.)

The group is the first out of the gate each awards season but their picks aren't necessarily predictors of the eventual Academy Award winners. In 2004 they chose "Finding Neverland," while the best-picture Oscar went to "Million Dollar Baby." Last year they picked "Good Night, and Good Luck"; the surprise Oscar winner was "Crash." The National Board and the Academy did line up, however, for 1999's "American Beauty."

The National Board of Motion Pictures, formed 97 years ago, is composed of film historians, students and educators.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Letters From Iwo Jima

Ken Watanabe in "Letters From Iwo Jima." The film was named the year's best by the National Board of Review.




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