Wednesday, February 13, 2013

End-Of-Year: 2012 Film Winners

I'm still in the process of ranking the films I saw last year, but you already know my top 10 from my nominations last week. While it'll still be a few days until I post aforementioned rankings, I can at least show you my favorite performances from last year.

Best Actor: Joaquin Phoenix, The Master
Runner-Up: Logan Lerman, Perks of Being a Wallflower
Other Nominees: Daniel Day-Lewis, Dane DeHaan, Hugh Jackman, Suraj Sharma

I'm still surprised I ended up picking Phoenix for the win, but I just really love what he did with one of the best characters conceived in film last year. His Freddie Quell was brilliant and magnetic and it was impossible to look away. As for my other nominees, I can't say enough good things about them. Lerman, DeHaan, and Sharma may be young, but they all exude such a maturity that belie their baby faces. Lerman especially as my runner-up delivered a leading man performance we always knew was in him. Of course Jackman excelled in a role he was meant to play all his life and Day-Lewis as Abraham Lincoln was nothing short of a revelation.

Best Actress: Naomi Watts, The Impossible
Runner-Up: Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty
Other Nominees: Keira Knightley, Jennifer Lawrence, Emmanuelle Riva, Mary Elizabeth Winstead

Perhaps if I hadn't just seen Amour last week and had let the performance linger in my head a bit more, Riva would be the winner here, because seriously, wow. But I went with fellow Oscar nominees Watts and Chastain for my top two picks. Very little separated these two for me, but I ultimately picked the more emotionally harrowing role. Watts just made me feel and as cliche as it is, I just went with my heart. But Chastain, she of the million roles last year, showed why all the praise she received last year were no flukes. Meanwhile, Knightley is 3 for 3 in Wright films, Lawrence showed range in two of her films this year, and Winstead impressed in such a difficult role.

Best Supporting Actor: Ezra Miller, Perks of Being a Wallflower
Runner-Up: Tom Holland, The Impossible
Other Nominees: Javier Bardem, Mark Duplass, Fran Kranz, Eddie Redmayne

This was Miller's award from the very first time I saw him cheer in the trailers for the film (a scene sadly cut out from the final release). But even without that fun scene, he was able to effectively steal scenes throughout with his mix of humor and heart. Holland is my runner-up mostly because he reminded me of young Jamie Bell in Billy Elliot, which is high praise. Duplass showed up everywhere this year, but it was his turn in Safety Not Guaranteed and Your Sister's Sister that solidified his status for me. Redmayne's performance of "Empty Chairs At Empty Tables" was probably the film's most emotional moment for me. Kranz was a hoot in Cabin in the Woods and I still can't get over how Bardem was able to make such a cartoonish villain feel so real.

Best Supporting Actress: Elizabeth Banks, Hunger Games/People Like Us
Runner-Up: Anne Hathaway, Dark Knight Rises/Les Misérables
Other Nominees: Emily Blunt, Scarlett Johansson, Nicole Kidman, Rebel Wilson

I fully admit that Hathaway absolutely nailed "I Dreamed A Dream" and allayed any misgivings anyone might have had that she was somehow miscast as Catwoman, but I couldn't not give my award to Banks purely for her line reading of "That's mahogany!" in Hunger Games. She also pleasantly surprised me in People Like Me, delivering probably her best dramatic work I have ever seen from her. Of course, Wilson is the breakout star of the year, which I hope opens up more doors for her. Finally, Johansson and Blunt were able to stand-out in their testosterone-heavy summer genre films while there really isn't much to say more about Kidman, right? I'm just glad she keeps going after films that seem atypical without any hint of ego.

Best Young Actor/Actress: Quvenzhané Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild
Runner-Up: Suraj Sharma, Life of Pi
Other Nominees: Jared Gilman, Tom Holland, Logan Lerman, Ezra Miller

I've already talked about my love for Holland, Lerman, and Miller's performances above which is probably why I decided to single out Wallis who just missed out on my Best Actress shortlist delivering a singular performance especially at such a young age. Sharma is a bit older, but what he accomplished by acting opposite a CGI tiger is nothing short of amazing. Finally, Gilman, along with co-star Kara Hayward were just really fun to watch. Not nominated, but I'd like to give a shout out to the young actors cast (and died) in The Hunger Games.

Best Ensemble: The Avengers
Runner-Up: Argo
Other Nominees: Lincoln, Moonrise Kingdom, Perks of Being a Wallflower, Seven Psychopaths

Was there really going to be any other winner other than this cast full of different franchises and personalities who was able to somehow come together almost effortless to bring us one of the year's best blockbuster film? Yes, director/writer Joss Whedon had a lot to do about that as well, but he had one mighty fine cast to help him along. In fact this Marvelous ensemble were my top pick for best performance so far in the year back in August and I maintain their excellence after all this time. Argo won Best Ensemble at the SAG so don't feel too bad about their runner-up status here. Meanwhile the rest of the ensemble I nominated were pretty aces as well.

Most Dissapointing Film: Prometheus
Runner-Up: Keep the Lights On
Other Nominees: John Carter, Snow White and the Huntsman, Total Recall, The Words

The difference between this category and Worst Film is that I had actually expected to like these films to some varying degrees, but for one reason or another they all fell short of my expectations. Prometheus, for example, was gorgeous to look at and delivered some memorable performance like Fassbender's, but the script, like many other things in the film, was a ripe mess. There were also brilliant moments and wonderful performances in Keep the Lights On, but it was also a chore to get through.

Worst Film: This Means War
Runner-Up: Vamps
Other Nominees: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, The Lucky One, Mirror Mirror, Rock of Ages

I really like Witherspoon, Pine, and Hardy but boy did I feel so much anger towards them when I saw This Means War. There was literally no redeeming qualities to that garbage of a movie. Vamps at least was trying to be camp, but it too was bad. Not even a shirtless Dan Stevens could save it for me. Don't feel like talking about the other films, but I do have to say with regards to Rock of Ages... if the best part of the film is Alec Baldwin and Russell Brand singing a duet, then you are not a good film.

Best Netflix Movie: Strangers on a Train

Runner-Up: Manhattan
Other Nominees: City of God, The Counterfeiters, Gambit, Hannah and Her Sisters, Silkwood, Singin' in the Rain, The Skin I Live In, Sophie's Choice

What a silly, silly category! But I continue to have it in my year-end awards mostly so I can honor all of the amazing films I saw on Netflix the past year for the first time. As you can tell, I tried to get my fill of Meryl Streep's and Woody Allen's filmography. To be honest, all of these films could've "won" my award. The only reason I picked Strangers on a Train was that it had a prolonged scene of the lead character played by the adorable Farley Granger playing a tennis match. Cute guy + tennis = My favorite Netflix film this year.

So as I said, just the final film rankings coming up. We all know my top 10, but which film will be declared my favorite? And what about all the films below my top 10? Where did some of your favorites ended up on my list? Pretend you're excited to find out, will you?

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