It’s the beginning of the new year which means it’s the end of the film year. With the Oscar nominations soon to be announced I figured it was time to give out my own awards. These are kind of my top five in each category along with some other fun categories. I’ll write a little bit after each section just for fun. Enjoy.
That’s two Spielberg films at the top. I wouldn’t consider him one of my favorite directors but I guess he’s pretty ok. Hanna is just a lot of fun. Drive is stylistic as hell and a great time. And The Tree of Life is beautiful and meaningful. A good year.
- War Horse – Steven Spielberg
- Hugo – Martin Scorsese
- I Saw the Devil – Kim Jee-woon
- Drive – Nicolas Winding Refn
- Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy – Tomas Alfredson
War Horse perfectly captures the classic Hollywood style of John Ford and Frank Borzage and feels perfect throughout. Scorsese’s film is old and new at the same time, with wonderful 3D. I Saw the Devil is a film I don’t wholly love, but it moves like a rocket and works so well. Drive, like I said before, is super stylized, but the mood is perfect. And Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is the most packed movie I’ve seen this year, both visually and thematically. It’s subtle and intense without any action.
Best Original Screenplay
- Attack the Block – Joe Cornish
- The Guard – John Michael McDonagh
- The Tree of Life – Terrence Malick
- Rango – John Logan
- Submarine – Richard Ayoade
Four of these guys also directed their films (Rango’s John Logan is the only outlier) and three of them are debut films (only The Tree of Life and Rango, again). Each of these films are the very definition of original, whether it be the plot or the style of the writing or both.
Best Adapted Screenplay
- The Adventures of Tintin – Steven Moffat, Edgar Wright, and Joe Cornish
- Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy – Bridget O’Connor and Peter Straughan
- Drive – Hossein Amini
- Winnie the Pooh – Stephen J. Anderson and company
- War Horse – Lee Hall and Richard Curtis
Are you starting to see a trend here? War Horse just keeps showing up. It is that good, though. For real. Also, Tintin has three of the best screenwriters going and Winnie the Pooh captured the feel of the original stories perfectly. It doesn’t shy away from the meta aspects and the songs are great.
- Brendan Gleeson – The Guard
- Andy Serkis – Rise of the Planet of the Apes
- Michael Fassbender – X-Men: First Class
- Gary Oldman – Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
- Hunter McCracken – The Tree of Life
I’ve always liked Gleeson and his role in The Guard is genius. Andy Serkis (and the animation crew) somehow made a chimp an effective and emotional character. Fassbender is Fassbender (and might get replaced by the Shame version of himself if it ever shows up around me). Oldman is quiet and very real. Hunter McCracken is a talented young actor with a big role that he played very well.
- Saoirse Ronan – Hanna
- Viola Davis – The Help
- Elena Anaya – The Skin I Live In
- Brit Marling – Another Earth
- Sally Hawkins – Made in Dagenham
Hanna continues Ronan’s work with Joe Wright and she’s just as good as she was in Atonement, if not better. Viola Davis first broke my heart in Doubt and she continued to do so in The Help, a surprisingly ok movie. Elena Anaya does very well for herself playing a complicated and difficult role. Sally Hawkins makes her character real and powerful.
Best Supporting Actor
- Alan Rickman – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
- Michael Fassbender – Jane Eyre
- Benedict Cumberbatch – Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
- David Tennant – Fright Night
- Brad Pitt – The Tree of Life
Alan Rickman started his movie career with one of the best villains of all time (Hans Gruber) and has now brought to life one of the best conflicted characters in modern cinema. Fassbender is, again, Fassbender. Both Cumberbatch and Tennant proved that they can play roles other than the ones that they played on BBC shows. And Brad Pitt fully embodies his stern father role. I lost him in the performance, which is a pretty great feat for such a movie star.
Best Supporting Actress
- Cate Blanchett – Hanna
- Elle Fanning – Super 8
- Jessica Chastain – The Help
- Sally Hawkins – Submarine
- Emily Blunt – The Adjustment Bureau
I know a lot of people hated Blanchett in Hanna but I loved how arch she was. She played a great fairy tale evil queen. Elle Fanning is a new talent, just watch the acting scene in this film for definitive proof. I know most will probably go with Chastain in The Tree of Life for this category but I really liked what she did with her role in The Help. Sally Hawkins was basically the opposite of her role in Made in Dagenham and wonderfully weird. Emily Blunt’s chemistry with Matt Damon was the best part of The Adjustment Bureau, outside of the hats.
Best Ensemble Cast
- War Horse
- Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
- Super 8
- The Tree of Life
- Midnight in Paris
I love everybody in War Horse, especially Hiddleston and Cumberbatch and Emily Watson. All of those sad men in TTSS were great (again, Cumberbatch). Super 8’s kids were wonderful, along with a few key adult roles. The Tree of Life, too, mixed great kid and adult roles. Midnight in Paris magically combines modern day elites and old-timey artists, all played to perfection (if exaggeratedly).
Best Non-English Language Film
- The Skin I Live In
- I Saw the Devil
These are the only foreign language films I’ve seen. I am ashamed. They’re all good, though. The Skin I Live In is melodrama and horror mashed up into one glorious concoction. I Saw the Devil is a violent revenge tale, superbly directed. And Trollhunter takes the found footage horror film and amps it up a bit. Also, trolls.
Best Animated Film
- The Adventures of Tintin
- Winnie the Pooh
- Batman: Year One
This was not a great year for animated films. Tintin is a whole lot of fun. Winnie the Pooh felt like an instant classic. Rango is a spaghetti western pastiche that works as a kids movie. Batman: Year One is basically Batman: The Animated Series, so it is great.
- Bill Cunningham, New York
- African Cats
- The Greatest Movie Ever Sold
Bill Cunningham, New York is a pretty straightforward doc about a fascinating person (a fashion page photographer for the New York Times) but there’s a scene at the end that is truly amazing. Tabloid looks at an interesting case through the lens of the British tabloid system. African Cats is a movie about baby lions and cheetahs, narrated by Samuel L. Jackson, so it is awesome. Cropsey examines an urban legend and takes a bit of time to talk about the horrible way the mentally ill were treated at one time in our recent history. The Greatest Movie Ever Sold takes a Super Size Me-esque look at the product placement industry. It’s fun and informative, even if I don’t think that product placement is the most evil thing in the world.
Sometime next week I’ll make the next post in this two part series. Exciting categories like Best Editing and boring ones like Best Comedic Scene and Best Line. Join me! Tell me what I missed!