Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Common Sense Oscar Predictions 2012

Last year, I went to an Oscar watch-party in which the gracious hostess provided a couple of prizes for those who filled out a chart and predicted the highest number of actual winners.  Obviously, I thought that I had it in the bag.  Well, a few categories in and I was already down by a couple of wins.  With each passing category, I got more and more nervous, seeing my status as movie geek supreme firmly on the line.  I had to gulp a few extra sips of Cabernet to face the music of each winner being announced. 

I lost.  By one.

Now, two lessons here: One, Oscar prognosticating is a monumental waste of time.  Two, because the voting body is so large, you have to use a little common sense in these matters.  For instance, one of the categories I lost in last year was best cinematography.  I had predicted True Grit would win, based on the cinematographer Roger Deakins never having won the award, despite an impressive body of work.  The Oscar instead went to Wally Pfister for his work in Inception.  The common sense side of me would have not known about Deakins’ lack of a win, and focused solely on Inception’s wave of success and just how cool the movie looked. 

So, I’m taking a common sense approach this year.  Yes, a little background helps, but not overthinking it might prove to be a better strategy than in years past.  Feel free to come back and check to see how I’m doing come Oscar night.  As for me, hopefully I won’t have to pour those two extra glasses to get me through the night this time.        

Best Picture:  The Artist
% Sure: 110
Could Win: Hugo
Should Win: Hugo
Should Have Been There: Of films that had even a fighting chance, I’d say A Separation.  Of my own personal faves, I’d say Young Adult.
Comments: The Artist will win.  I liked it.  Hollywood liked it.  Your mom and your mom’s best friend liked it.  Your dog liked it.  It’s the least offensive film.  Everyone wins.  The end. 

Best Director:  Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
% Sure: 95
Could Win: Martin Scorsese, Hugo
Should Win: Terrence Malick, The Tree of Life
Should Have Been There: Lynne Ramsey, We Need to Talk About Kevin
Comments: No real potential threat to the frontrunner (Hazanavicius) this year, unlike last year when there was a late push for David Fincher, even though we all knew his film wouldn’t win the big prize.  I could see Scorsese pulling it off, and I wouldn’t even be totally, compleeeeeeetely shocked if somehow Terrence Malick won.  But he won’t.  Smart money’s on the frontrunner here. 

Best Actor in a Leading Role:  Jean Dujardin, The Artist
% Sure: 87.5
Could Win: George Clooney
Should Win:  Brad Pitt
Should Have Been There: Michael. Freaking. Shannon.
Comments: Crazy that an unknown French actor is a frontrunner against the likes of Clooney and Pitt, who both turned in what conventional wisdom has deemed “career performances” (I only agree in the case of the latter), and at this point are pretty much scepter-wielding and crown-wearing members of Hollywood Royalty.  Dujardin will win, which I’m fine with, but if there are going to be any eye-popping shockers in the major categories this year, I do predict that it will be in this one, whether its Pitt or Clooney. 

Best Actress in a Leading Role:  Viola Davis, The Help
% Sure: 75
Could Win: Meryl Streep
Should Win: Viola Davis, although I haven’t seen Michelle Williams or Glenn Close. 
Should Have Been There: Charlize Theron
Comments: Davis has the important SAG win, and a bunch of others.  Meryl mainly has the BAFTA and the Golden Globe.  Are these irrelevant wins?  No, but both of those awards bodies are made up of non-Americans, who wouldn’t have as much of a connection with the civil rights movement, and in the case of the BAFTA’s, it’s obvious why they would gravitate toward the portrayal of a former Prime Minister.  I think this is a race, but it’s not a close race. 

Best Actor in a Supporting Role:  Christopher Plummer, Beginners
% Sure: 100
Could Win: Max Von Sydow
Should Win: Christopher Plummer
Should Have Been There: Patton Oswalt
Comments: No one really gave Christopher Plummer a race this year.  It’s been his since day 1. 

Best Actress in a Supporting Role:  Octavia Spencer, The Help
% Sure: 100
Could Win: Katie Holmes for Jack and Jill.  Because she has as much of a chance as any of the other four nominees.
Should Win: Any of the other nominees. 
Should Have Been There: Jennifer Ehle, Contagion
Comments: This will be one of the least-deserved acting wins of the last five years, behind ‘ole Sandy Bullock, of course. 

Best Adapted Screenplay:  The Descendants
% Sure: 50
Could Win: Hugo or Moneyball
Should Win: Moneyball
Should Have Been There: Jane Eyre
Comments:  I saved this one for last when writing this column.  Very difficult to figure out what’s going on here.  Payne films are known for their writing, and The Descendants is his most successful film to date.  Hugo, though, has 11 nominations, and could win based on general like for the film.  Then there’s Moneyball, which relies heavily on a strong script for its success.  Any of the three could win.  I think they award Payne and go with The Descendants.

Woody Allen's feeling the love this year
for Midnight in Paris
Best Original Screenplay:  Midnight in Paris (Woody Allen!)
% Sure: 70
Could Win: The Artist
Should Win: A Separation
Should Have Been There: Young Adult
Comments:  Look for The Artist to ride its wave of goodwill to an upset in this category.  I’m sticking with Allen’s pseudo-fantasy comedy as my prediction, though, as Paris is regarded as the best thing he’s done in awhile (only since Vicky Christina Barcelona, though, in my opinion), and I think people will want to reward the film legend in his twilight years. 

Best Art Direction:  Hugo
% Sure: 90
Could Win: The Artist
Should Win: Hugo
Should Have Been There: Contagion
Comments: This will be a well-deserved award for Hugo.  My thoughts on Hugo have been made known here, but among the many reasons that I fell in love with it was the production design, which I thought was impeccable and added so much to the experience of the movie. 

Best Cinematography: The Tree of Life
% Sure: 75
Could Win: The Artist
Should Win: It wouldn’t even be enough to give The Tree of Life two Oscars for its cinematography, so that. 
Should Have Been There: Anonymous
Comments: This is my line in the sand with the Academy.  This sounds like a childish thing to say, but there’s just no way a rational person can look at The Tree of Life and possibly want to award anything else, unless there’s some personal vendetta against the film.  If Tree of Life loses, then I just can’t even.

Best Film Editing: Hugo
% Sure: 89
Could Win: The Artist
Should Win: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
Should Have Been There: Martha Marcy May Marlene (definitely the best film editing of 2011 for my money).
Comments:  This category is difficult to handicap.  I feel really good about Hugo, but I’m not sure if I can really articulate why.  The Artist, once again, could easily take this.  But here are the Best Film Editing winners wince 2000:  The Social Network, The Hurt Locker, Slumdog Millionaire, The Bourne Ultimatum, Crash, The Aviator, Return of the King, Chicago, Black Hawk Down, Traffic.  I don’t know why, but something doesn’t compute between these films and The Artist.  It doesn’t have the scope of any of these, save The Social Network, which was a masterclass in film editing.  I’m going with Hugo

Best Sound Mixing:  Hugo
% Sure: 68
Could Win: War Horse
Should Win: Moneyball
Should Have Been There: I’m just glad Moneyball made it in.  Well-deserved nomination.
Comments: The sound categories always give me issues.  Hugo doesn’t seem like the type of film to take both Sound Mixing and Editing, but I do think it wins this one, because for whatever reason Sound Mixing tends to go to the more “prestigious” films, whereas Sound Editing goes to more of the action-oriented films. 

One of the most heavily anticipated films of the
year, War Horse will end up with one award.
Best Sound Editing:  War Horse
% Sure: 63
Could Win: Hugo
Should Win: Drive
Should Have Been There: All good nominees.
Comments: See Above.

Best Visual Effects: Rise of the Planet of the Apes
% Sure: 50
Could Win: Hugo
Should Win: Hugo
Should Have Been There: The Tree of Life
Comments:  Here’s the nerdy statistic I have about this category: no Best Picture nominee has lost this award to a non-Best Picture nominee since the 1970’s, and before that it was the 1940’s.  That bodes well for Hugo.  But, in going along with my common sense approach, I’m predicting Apes here.  When you consider the work involved in creating a motion-capture ape that is essentially the main character in the film, that is something that really sticks out in voters’ minds, I think, even more than the flawless visual effects in Hugo.

Best Costume Design:  W.E.
% Sure: 40
Could Win: Hugo?
Should Win: Jane Eyre
Should Have Been There:  I always wish they would nominate contemporary movies here, so I’ll go with Martha Marcy May Marlene
Comments: Hardest category by far this year.  I have no idea, but here’s what I do know: I’m going with the common sense approach.  W.E. is a terrible movie which keeps winning a bunch of costume awards.  I’m not overthinking this.  I’m not overthinking this.  W.E. wins. 

Best Makeup:  The Meryl Streep Hamming It Up Movie
% Sure: 90
Could Win: Whatever.
Should Win: Whatever.
Should Have Been There: Contagion
Comments: Whatever.

Best Original Score:  The Artist
% Sure: 80
Could Win: Hugo
Should Win: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
Should Have Been There: Contagion
Comments: I should feel more confident in this category than I am.  Hugo’s score is very good and would not be surprised if it pulled an upset.  The wildcard contender is Trent Reznor’s second go-around with David Fincher in this year’s Dragon Tattoo.  Since Reznor won last year, though, I feel like it might be too soon for voters to throw another bone his way. 

Best Original Song:  Man or Muppet, The Muppets
% Sure: 85
Could Win: Um, the only other nominee, Rio
Should Win: “As I reflect on my reflection...”
Should Have Been There: Every other song from The Muppets
Comments: This is the weirdest category this year.  No explanation as to why there are only two nominees here.  The Muppets could have easily filled the category with two or three other songs. Anyway, looking at it from a total achievement standpoint, I think most voters will go with The Muppets

Best Animated Feature Film:  Rango
% Sure: 99
Could Win: Chico & Rita
Should Win: The Lion King 3D.  Okay, it’s not eligible, but it’s the only animated film I saw this year.
Comments: Pixar finally will not win a statue.  I haven’t seen any of these.  Next.

Best Documentary Feature Film:
% Sure: Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory
Could Win: Pina
Should Win: Not Pina (terrible), other than that I don’t care. 
Should Have Been There: Cave of Forgotten Dreams
Comments:  Only one I’ve seen here is Pina, which is another discussion for another time (it was the worst 2011 film I saw, bar none).  The general consensus is that Paradise Lost is the one to beat here, so I suppose I will go along with that and pass it off as my own opinion, without giving any insight whatsoever. 

Best Foreign Language Film:  A Separation
% Sure: 90
Could Win: Monsieur Lazhar
Should Win/Only Film I’ve Seen in the Category: A Separation
Comments: This category gets weird sometimes and clearly superior films often lose out to inferior films (take two years ago when Palme D’Or winner The White Ribbon and critical powerhouse A Prophet lost out to vanilla crime saga The Secret in their Eyes).  A Separation should easily take this, and I predict it will since it was nominated for its screenplay (that NEVER happens with foreign films), but I wouldn’t put it past the Academy to do something weird here. 

I’m even including my predictions for the short categories this year.  Go me. 

Best Short Film, Live Action:  The Shore

Best Short Film, Animated:  The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

Best Documentary, Short Subjects:  Saving Face

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Top 11 of 2011: Number 1

Scroll down to see my numbers 11-2 of 2011.  I broke this up into two posts because I ended up writing a lot of about my favorite film of the year.  Before that, here’s a few films, in no particular order, that almost made the cut:

We Need to Talk About Kevin
Midnight in Paris
Martha Marcy May Marlene
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
The Muppets
Cedar Rapids

#1: Hugo (Martin Scorsese)

As most of you know, I’m the type of nerd that likes to see as many films nominated for Oscars as I can, and there hasn’t been a year in the past five that I failed to see all Best Picture nominees ahead of the Academy Awards ceremony.  Fulfilling this duty, I went to see Hugo last week not only because of that, but also because I decided I needed to see it in 3D before it left theaters.  It ended up being the best movie decision that I’ve made this year. 

Hugo tells the story of an orphaned twelve-year-old boy in 1930’s Paris, who works the clock at a train station.  He has an affinity for fixing and working on machinery.  His principal focus is repairing a mechanical man left to him by his father, and Hugo is certain that the working machine will reveal a message of sorts. 

In his quest, he comes across Georges, a grump of an old man who runs a toyshop in the train station, and his Goddaughter, Isabelle.  Together, Hugo and Isabelle begin to uncover the mystery of the message that the mechanical man leaves.  I won’t spoil it, but suffice it to say that what they end up finding is the lost work of a pioneer in the film industry. 

The film is largely a tribute to the cinema itself.  Several clips from classic silent film are shown upon Hugo and Isabelle’s discovery (and the presentation of it is some of the best animation in the film).  Even in Hugo’s script itself are vignettes of character interactions that would pass as little silent film shorts from that era. 

The story warmed my heart and Scorsese’s dreamlike presentation of 1930’s Paris took me to a different place, and in that way the director pays perfect homage to the power of cinema.  As you might guess, film has always been very important to me, even as a young child.  Since I was eleven years old, I have kept the ticket to every movie I’ve seen in theaters.  Since age eighteen or so, I have kept running lists of every single movie that I watch.  It’s like, if I lose the memory of the experience of these films (whether good or bad), then I lose a part of myself along with that. 

I can only imagine that Scorsese feels the same way multiplied by about a thousand, and this love pours out of every frame of the film. 

Coming this week: Oscar Predictions 2012.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Top 11 Films of 2011

As promised.  I cheated a little this year and thought I should do a Top 11 since it was for 2011, mainly because a much larger gap in quality came between #11 and #12 than #10 and #11, if that makes sense.  In this post, I will reveal numbers 11 through 2, and because I ended up writing a lot more for my number 1 film, that film getting its own post, coming tomorrow.  Hope you enjoy, and I hope you will try and see some of these films if you haven’t already.  Feel free to comment with your own thoughts and top films of the year.  

#11: Jane Eyre (Cary Fukanaga)

I don’t usually go all in for the British period pieces the way that others might, and in many cases I will admit that they tend to bore me and run together.  Maybe that’s why Jane Eyre surprised me so much this year.  The classic Bronte novel has been put to screen many times, but this was the first rendition that I had ever seen.  The sweeping cinematography, beautiful musical score consisting of harrowing strings, and production design all added up to create a perfect atmosphere for the story.  But the anchor is Mia Wasikowska’s incredibly underrated performance at the title character, and I'm very excited to see her career progress from this point forward.   

#10: A Separation (Asghar Farhadi)

This was one of the last films on my “to see” list, and I couldn’t be happier that I waited to see it before making my Top 10 list.  It tells the story of an Iranian couple going through a divorce.  Their daughter, and eleven year old, must make the decision of who she wants to live with.  After her father is accused of murder, the story turns into an ingenious whodunit, where small bits of the mystery unfold and lies are exposed.  This is all weaved flawlessly into the divorce narrative, and the result is an amazingly acted and directed window into Iranian culture, showing how their lives are not so much different than ours.
     #9: Beginners (Mike Mills)

Written about already on this blog, Beginners, to me, is like the perfect specimen of the “indie” film.  It features every indie trait: it’s about people all seeking to find out who they are, with really quirky things like subtitles for a dog’s thoughts, and the main characters are all involved with art in their profession.  Obviously these are all aspects that will attract me to any movie, but Beginners does it with such poise and vulnerability that it really invites you into the characters' situations and makes you feel for them.  

#8: Contagion (Steven Soderbergh)

Steven Soderbergh is one of my favorite current directors, and part of the reason for this is that he just does stuff.  He doesn’t seem to care about accolades, awards, etc., as much as just making movies that he wants to make.  Contagion is definitely a product of this mindset.  No, it wasn’t the most original story ever put on screen.  But the execution of it is why it is on this list.  From beginning to end, it has a captivating pace, is marvelously directed and edited, and features what I think is the best musical score of the year.  It really makes you feel like if something as terrible as an outbreak like this were to happen in real life, this is how it would happen. 

#7: Moneyball (Bennett Miller)

I tweeted after I watched it a second time that this is going to be the type of film that comes on TNT on Sunday afternoons all the time a la The Shawshank Redemption, and I’m going to have to sit down and watch it every time it’s on.  I don’t hesitate to call this Brad Pitt’s finest performance.  He has his “movie-star” moments, but overall I would call it a very controlled performance from the veteran actor.  Bennett Miller’s directing is also great (this is only his second film, and both were nominated for Best Picture).  He does so many little things that bring you into Billy Beane's world and let you experience the situations exactly like he does.  If only all sports movies could be so great and as cheese-free as this film. 

#6: 50/50 (Will Reiser)

This portrayal of a twenty-something’s struggle with cancer was all aces.  The thing that I enjoyed so much about 50/50 is how enthralled I was with the film all the way from beginning to end.  There were plenty of laughs all the way through, mixed in with well-executed dramatic moments.  In my book, Joseph Gordon-Levitt should have been Oscar-nominated for his work here, and the supporting cast members, from Seth Rogen to Angelica Huston, were all great as well.  This is one that I plan on watching many times in the future. 

#5: The Artist (Michel Hazanavicius)

Don’t miss this year’s eventual Best Picture winner.  Just don’t.  Yes, it’s a silent black and white film.  But it could not be further from boring.  In fact, my wife used the adjective “magical,” and I tend to agree.  Never mind the fact that it’s well acted all around, and features maybe the best performance ever from a dog, the best thing about this film is that is tells a universal story about what it’s like to become marginalized, and how sometimes we need others to pick us up when we fall.  I hate to become redundant, but this bears repeating: Don’t. Miss. This. Film. 

#4: Take Shelter (Jeff Nichols)

When I wrote about it back in October, I was fairly certain that Jeff Nichols’ amazing thriller Take Shelter would remain near the top of my list this year.  Michael Shannon’s brilliant performance as Curtis, a man experiencing haunting visions about the future is really the heartbeat of the film, but no less crucial is Jessica Chastain’s supporting turn as Curtis’s wife.  I film’s major theme of the human need to take care of and protect one’s family is a universal one, and it resonated deeply within me. 

#3: Young Adult (Jason Reitman)

This is Jason Reitman’s most cynical film so far, and it’s also my favorite of his.  While I’m speaking in superlatives, I’ll also mention that Charlize Theron gave my favorite female performance of the year as Mavis Gary, an alcoholic teen fiction author who goes to her hometown to break up the marriage of her high school sweetheart.   The film is a little depraved, and those looking for a traditional character arc will have to find it elsewhere.  But it is very funny, and Patton Oswalt (who also gives a great performance here) provides the necessary voice of reason and touch of humanity that the film needed to make it a great one.

#2: The Tree of Life (Terrence Malick)

This film is well-covered territory from me.  Since my initial review of it back in June, I have had two chances to rewatch it on the small screen, and the visual poetry that Malick created in this film has no less an impact in that format.  Malick uses the medium of film differently than just about any of his contemporaries.  He not only tells his story, but also elicits a feeling that is unique to each individual who watches it.  I certainly would not want every film I watched to be like this, but it is a welcome change of pace when it comes along. 

Check back tomorrow for my #1 film of 2011, plus a few that just missed the cut.

Monday, February 6, 2012

New Name, New Look, Same Blog

So long, Adam's Rear Window.
You might notice some changes going on around here.  I finally caved in and changed the name of my blog, in part to remove possible references to my anus.  So if you keep up with the blog regularly, be sure to come to this new URL from now on.  Additionally, I made some much-needed cosmetic changes, including the new banner which took me far longer to put together than I care to admit, so I hope you enjoy it.  I also think that I've fixed the problem some people were having with posting comments, so please let me know if you are still unable to do that.  Any feedback you have on the new look or the blog in general, I'm all ears so let me hear it.

On a personal note, I was dangerously close to scrapping the blog altogether a couple of months ago.  I was feeling very stale in my writing and didn't know if I wanted to keep doing the work it takes to keep up a blog.  Since then, I've had a couple of unfortunate things happen in my life, and I realized that writing is my number one refuge in these situations, and that this blog has been the place for my catharsis to occur.  Thus, I felt that instead of neglecting my blog, giving it an update and writing more was the road to take.  I've been sticking to a more regimented writing schedule lately, and I'm very happy to be posting more often than I have in a long time.  A sincere thanks to everyone for reading.  

Oh, and 100 cool points to anyone who can name all of the movies featured in the new banner.

Look for my Top 10 of 2011 list coming next week!  

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Review: We Need to Talk About Kevin

Originally, I didn’t plan on writing a review of this film.  For one thing, if you’ve even heard of it then you’re a step ahead of most people (and I’m not saying that in a pretentious way, it’s just the truth), so the likelihood of drumming up any interest in the film is relatively small.  For another thing, I saw it over ten days ago and I was beginning to feel that the moment had passed.   And then a snow day happened, and I’m stuck inside a warm condo listening to some music, and the moment just seemed right.  I also realized just how much I was thinking about this movie.

So, because I have written a few funnier (well, at least attempting to be funny) mass-appeal posts recently, allow me to get some thoughts out about this film. 

We Need to Talk About Kevin is the most depressing film of the year.  A short synopsis indicates as much: “The mother of a teenage boy who went on a high-school killing spree tries to deal with her grief—and feelings of responsibility for her child's actions.”  Half of the story plays out in the present, after the school shooting occurs; we see Eva (played wonderfully as always by Tilda Swinton) go through the struggles of her daily life, as a social pariah of the highest magnitude, her guilt guiding every step she takes.  The other half is the relationship of Eva and Kevin, told through flashbacks, with scenes of Kevin’s birth through his childhood and adolescence all painting a picture of how such a tragedy could have occurred. 

There’s a lot to talk about regarding Kevin.  At the beginning of the film, we see Eva as a young woman at a festival taking place in Bunol, Spain, called the “La Tomatina” festival, where tomatoes are thrown in what is apparently one of the biggest food fights in the world (all of this info courtesy of Google and not the film itself).  Eva is covered in tomato remnants and crowd surfing, and although she seems to be in a euphoric state, the ominous music suggests that the red substance all over her is a sign of the blood that Eva will have on her hands for the rest of the film.

Director Lynne Ramsay, in what I do not hesitate to call one of the three greatest directorial efforts of the year, is at her best in these dreamlike moments.  Seeing the relationship play out between Eva and Kevin does not tell the story as well these scenes of pseudo-psychological horror.  There is one scene, also near the beginning, in which some trick-or-treaters come to Eva’s house.  Eva doesn’t have any candy to give them, and in her fragile state she cowers in the corner of her living room, while the children’s shadows come through the moonlight in the window, and appear to be arms strangling Eva. 

One of the central ideas of the film is that Kevin and Eva have a terrible relationship even though they are very similar people.  Eva tries to be a good mother to Kevin, but deep down they both know that there is a hate inside of her that runs as deep as his does.  Thus, they share contempt for one another because they both see themselves reflected in the other person.  The only difference is that Kevin doesn’t try to hide or deny it, while Eva does, even to herself.  However, there is still an odd bond between the two, and as the story plays out we see this strange connection take various shapes and forms.    

It’s not a perfect film by any stretch.  The casting of John C. Reilly as Eva’s husband, Franklin, was an odd choice, and he came off as an oblivious doofus while the story mandates that the character is intentionally turning a blind eye to the dark side of Kevin.  Additionally, the teenage Kevin is played by Ezra Miller, who at points shows flashes of brilliance and other times was a little too brooding for the character’s own good. 

I’m not a parent, but I can only imagine that this film accentuates perfectly what it is like for a parent to have a child that they understand so deeply, yet still massively fail to reach them or form any sort of attachment.  That, to me, is the most depressing aspect of the film, and Lynne Ramsay’s use of visuals to remind us of the guilt that Eva carries around because of this is nothing short of masterful, and the chief reason that this film has lingered for so long in my mind.  8/10.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

2011 Movie Awards

I still have a few lingering 2011 movies that I plan to see in the next couple of weeks, including Oscar-nominated fare such as Hugo, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, My Week With Marilyn, as well as foreign sensations A Separation and Pina, and if I ever somehow get my hands on a copy of the elusive Margaret, I might just cry.  After that I think I will be ready to declare a Top 10 of 2011 list, and as usual I will write a column that is far longer than anyone is actually interested in reading. 

However, I am ready to write one of my favorite columns that I write every year: my 2011 Movie Awards.  2011 was an odd year for film if you ask me.  My top-3 most anticipated (Carnage, The Descendants, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo) were all varying degrees of disappointment to me.  However, some films that I hadn’t been anticipating as much came out and totally surprised me (more on that in my Top-10 list).  Additionally, and unsurprisingly, 9 of the top 10 grossing films of the year were all sequels (and the other was the Smurfs, not exactly original material), so this trend will be aptly reflected in these awards.

As usual, I have my “serious” awards mixed in with my not so serious awards.  As a twist on the way I’ve done it in the past, for my acting awards, I’ve not only recognized my personal win, but I’ve listed what my nominees would have been as well. 

Hope you enjoy. 

Berenice Bejo in The Artist
Best Actress in a Supporting Role: Berenice Bejo, The Artist

Other Nominees: 
Jessica Chastain, The Help
Melanie Laurent, Beginners
Anne Heche, Cedar Rapids
Jennifer Ehle, Contagion

Biggest Letdown: The Descendants

Biggest Surprise: Contagion

The “Only Adam Sandler Would Think This Was A Good Idea” Award:  Adam Sandler, Jack & Jill

The “Oh, Actually Kevin James Would Also Think That Was A Good Idea” Award: Kevin James, Zookeeper

Best Original Screenplay: 50/50

Best Adapted Screenplay: Moneyball

Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Patton Oswalt, Young Adult

Other Nominees:
John C. Reilly, Cedar Rapids
Christopher Plummer, Beginners
Brad Pitt, The Tree of Life (dude was on top of his game this year)
Kermit the Frog, The Muppets (okay, you know what, screw you! It’s my blog and I’ll nominate whomever I want to, man or Muppet!)

The Cinematography in The Tree of Life is some
of the best I've seen in years.  
Best Cinematography: The Tree of Life (easiest award to decide on this year)

Movie My Mom Would Be Most Ashamed Of Me Seeing: Shame

Best Original Musical Score: Contagion

Most Overrated: Source Code

Most Underrated: Jane Eyre

The “100%, Unadulterated Cool” Award:  Everything about Drive

The “Are We Done With This Franchise, Yet?” Award:  Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon

The “No, Seriously, Are We Done With This Franchise Yet?” Award:  Scream 4

The “Okay, We’re Finally Done With This Franchise” Award: Harry Potter #19

The “Fine, Just Keep Pumping These Out” Award: Fast Five

Best Actress in a Leading Role: Charlize Theron, Young Adult

Other Nominees:
Viola Davis, The Help
Elizabeth Olsen, Martha Marcy May Marlene
Mia Wasikowski, Jane Eyre
Rooney Mara, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

Best Movie About Sleeping With A Friend: Friends With Benefits (narrowly edging No Strings Attached).

Movie That Made Me Feel Like Crap The Most: We Need to Talk About Kevin

The “Phoning it In” Award: Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, & Ed Helms, The Hangover: Part II

The “Surprisingly Not Phoning it In This Time” Award: Matthew McConaughey, The Lincoln Lawyer

The Funniest Movie That You Haven’t Heard Of: Tucker & Dale vs. Evil

The “Okay, It wasn’t That Good” Award: Bridesmaids

The “Yeah, it was That Good” Award: The Artist

The Biggest Waste of $250,000,000: Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

The Biggest Waste of $1,000,000,000:  Everyone who went to see Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

The “Dripping With Oscar Bait” Award: War Horse

And finally, my last award for 2011:

What does this guy have to do to get some recognition
 for this unbelievably good performance?
Best Actor in a Leading Role:  Michael Shannon, Take Shelter

Other Nominees:
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, 50/50
Jean Dujardin, The Artist
Brad Pitt, Moneyball
Ryan Gosling, The Ides of March