Directed by Stephen Daldry (Billy Elliot), the film spans the 20th century and focuses on three women (Nicole Kidman, Julianne Moore and Meryl Streep), who are linked by Virginia Woolf's novel Mrs. Dalloway.
Campbell Scott, son of the late actors George C. Scott and Colleen Dewhurst, was named best actor for his performance in the dark comedy Roger Dodger, playing an advertising executive who spends one night teaching his 15-year-old nephew how to manipulate women.
"He's a tough nut -- he can be very cruel and charming at the same time," Scott told Reuters of his character. "That stuff is fun to play."
The board is one of the oldest film societies, founded in 1909 to try to stop movie censorship. It began selecting its 10 best movies of the year in 1919. The group's membership includes film professionals, teachers, students and historians. These awards can be an Oscar barometer, as Halle Berry was named best actress last year for her intense performance in Monster's Ball and went on to win Best Actress.
The awards will be handed out on Jan. 14 in New York.