Saturday, January 28, 2012

End-Of-Year: 2011 Film Winners

Already getting impatient about the Oscars to see who'll win? Unfortunately we all still have to wait a month to see who wins that and hell, the final ballots haven't even been mailed out yet! So take some time and enjoy the next best thing, the result of my own year-end awards! Cue the applause and the cheering, etc. etc. etc. Of course, if you want, check out my nominations first, then see which I've picked as my favorite...

Best Actor: Ryan Gosling, Drive/Ides of March/Crazy, Stupid, Love
Runner-Up: Dominic Cooper, The Devil's Double

You can't be shocked by the winner here. How many posts have I done on Ryan Gosling this past year? Definitely more than a couple, that's for sure. But how could I not award him this after the year he has had with three different fantastic performances? You could argue that by that logic I probably should've given the award to Michael Fassbender, who I nominated alongside Gosling, but I was just slightly more impressed by Gosling. Of course, why did I pick Cooper over Fassbender for runner-up? That decision was more me wanting to highlight a performance that people probably haven't seen. His film was a bit on the messy side, but he really got into playing the dual roles of Uday Hussein and his double and made me believe it.

Best Actress: Michelle Williams, My Week with Marilyn/Meek's Cutoff
Runner-Up: Viola Davis, The Help

Ugh, okay so I'm exposing my love for Blue Valentine here, but I didn't award Williams (and Gosling) just because of that beautiful film. I actually didn't know much about Marilyn Monroe, but I was pretty bowled over by Williams' portrayal of her. While she may not have the infectious charisma that Monroe oozed, Williams was still able to make me believe this was the real Marilyn Monroe, the Marilyn who wasn't in front of a camera. I didn't even mention her very strong work in Meek's Cutoff which was a film I didn't expect to like, much less love. Then of course there's Viola Davis, who lordy, made me cry and made me give her a standing ovation. She really was the dominant force in her film even with the immensely talented ensemble around her.

Best Supporting Actor: Corey Stoll, Midnight in Paris
Runner-Up: Andy Serkis, Rise of the Planet of the Apes

It's really weird that I'm giving it to Corey Stoll for probably the smallest screen time of any of the actors I nominated, but he just left such an indelible impression that I do still think about his Ernest Hemingway from time to time. In fact as much as I love the film, I'm not sure I'd be so in love with it if I don't constantly think about Stoll's Hemingway. Then of course there's Andy Serkis who adds yet another phenomenal mo-cap performance on his resume with his nuanced work as Caesar. The movie worked as well as it did, because we had to relate to this CGI ape and Serkis was extraordinary in making Caesar the heart of the film.

Best Supporting Actress: Jessica Chastain, The Help/Tree of Life/Take Shelter
Runner-Up: Carey Mulligan, Shame/Drive

I know what you're saying, I'm biased towards actors who do a lot of films a year and it may seem like that with my third multi-film actor winner, but similar to Gosling above, I just couldn't not award Jessica Chastain. She had an incredible year and that's something to celebrate. I didn't see all of her performances, but she was fabulous in the three films that I did see. If I had to pick, her Celia Foote was probably my favorite performance of the summer and so even if I could vote on just one film, she'd probably still win with that performance. Of course, Carey Mulligan also had a great year continuing in her quest not to be typecast as the Audrey Hepburn heir apparent by appearing in not one, but two dark and brave films. Her work in Shame is probably the better of the two since it was so unlike anything she's ever done, so raw, so electric.

Best Young Actor or Actress: Elle Fanning, Super 8
Runner-Up: John Boyega, Attack the Block

This was a bit difficult to pick since any of them really could've won, but then I remember that train depot scene, you know the one, with Ellen Fanning and just like the boys watching her, I was just transfixed. She also cast her spell with me last year in Somewhere, so maybe that also had something to do with my pick. But I also wanted to highlight John Boyega's strong leading performances in Attack the Block as Moses. He really was the glue of that quite inventive and fun film. Quick shout out to Saoirse Ronan who always seem to be doing fantastic work and Thomas Horn who made me cry a few times.

Best Ensemble: Midnight in Paris
Runner-Up: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

First I want to talk about the runner-up which is definitely a career award. Hasn't every British actor appeared in this film at one point or another? It's either this or Doctor Who I guess. I was most impressed by how the three lead actors held their own amongst these British acting juggernauts like Maggie Smith and Alan Rickman. Woody Allen outdid himself with the cast of Midnight in Paris, not only picking just the right actors to play these historical figures (great blend of known and not so known actors), but to also choose an unlikely, but solid lead in Owen Wilson (who I probably should've nominated).

Most Disappointing Film: The Conspirator
Runner-Up: Like Crazy

James McAvoy in a period piece revolving around the events after Lincoln's assassination co-starring Robin Wright and Rachel Evans Woods. How could that movie suck? And yet, it did. Despite fine acting from those three (though Wright gets almost nothing to work with), the film was pretty flat and dull throughout. I literally could not stop looking at my watch every few minutes or so. Then there's Like Crazy which is the type of movie I usually enjoy. Hell, critics were calling it a younger version of Blue Valentine and we all know my feelings towards that film, but as much as I like the two main actors, their relationship never hooked me and thus when their relationship went through its ups and downs, I could hardly care. I found myself rolling my eyes a couple of dozen times throughout the film.

Worst Film: Your Highness
Runner-Up: Beastly

The less said about these two films (and the other films I nominated) the better. I'm thinking Your Highness would be much better with a little herbal therapy, but I was unfortunately clear of mind when I saw this film and nothing was good. I literally wasted my time watching it. Beastly was actually less aggressively bad, but it was still pretty heinous. In the middle of the film I asked myself out loud why ANYONE would think this was a good idea to green-light.

Worst Acting Performance: Channing Tatum, The Eagle
Runner-Up: Natalie Portman, No Strings Attached/The Other Woman/Your Highness

My friends for some reason make fun of my seemingly baseless hatred for Channing Tatum and I wish I could articulate why I find him so... unappealing. I suppose I just find him dull and blanked-face plus his charms just don't work on me. Natalie Portman should thank her lucky stars that these films came out after she was already on her way to winning her Academy Award, because as much as I love her in Black Swan (she won my Best Actress award last year), she was just as dreadful in not one, not two, but three films this year. You may say I could be reacting negatively because of the films, and yes while the films are also bad, she was quite awful in them as well.

Best Netflix Movie: Almost Famous
Runner-Up: Undertow

his is one of my weirder categories since how can you really compare films from different eras? You really can't which is why I implore you to check out all of the films I've nominated for this. With that said, I can't believe it took me this long to see Almost Famous. It was love at first sight... or is it love at first hearing? I'm a sucker for coming-of-age stories, especially as well-done as it was with this film. It also helps that by now most of the young sort of unknown actors who appeared in that film are now household names and that was fun. Quick shout out to my runner-up Undertow, a Peruvian gay film that is beautifully structured and emotionally heartfelt.

Of course, I'm saving my pick for Best Film until sometime next week when I'm ready to post my list of top 30 or so films from this past year. Though, spoiler alert, I've already told you my top 10: The Artist, Drive, The Help, The Ides of March, Meek's Cutoff, Midnight in Paris, My Week with Marilyn, Thor, Weekend, Warrior. Which film will come out on top?


  1. Yeah you definitely have an obsession with Ryan Gosling. He sure is good looking.

  2. I really like your winners. They're really personal in a good way.
    I have to say, I was hoping you'd like Binoche better than the competition, since you nominated her, but all your nominees are worthy, so...

  3. @michael - Yeah, but he's a pretty damn good actor as well. The good looks is just icing to the cake.

    @amir - Well you have to realize that I started with a long list of about 12-15 actresses, so being just nominated means I thought really highly of her performance. And I mean it's Binoche... she almost can't do any wrong really.


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