2011 in Film: “Best Of” Awards

By Jordan Magrath

Schedule:

Part 1: Introduction/Themes of 2011 (Dec. 28)

Part 2: “Best Of” Awards (Today)

Part 3: Top 25 Movies (January 11)

Part 4: Oscar Predictions/Thoughts (Mid-February)

Part 5: Oscar Coverage/Future (Late-February)

Again, I’ll have to reiterate that this “Best Of” post only counts the films I’ve seen.  As of now, that is up to 55 films, but I’m missing key ones.

I also uploaded a .PDF that lists all of the “nominees” for each award.

Here is a .PDF link that shows the shortlist and nominees for each Award and Film, it is worth checking out (and took the longest to make so I’d appreciate a gander):

2011 Nominees

Let me know what you think in the comments.  My Top 25 films (which subsequently will announce the Best Picture) will be available in about a week.  Enjoy!

BEST PERFORMANCE (ACTOR)

Christopher Plummer – Beginners

Ryan Gosling – Drive

Joseph-Gordon Levitt – Hesher

Leonardo DiCaprio – J. Edgar

Woody Harrelson – Rampart

Toughest category to find a winner, but it came down to the bigger role.  I had a hard time choosing between Gosling and Plummer, and if I’d made a “Supporting” category, Christopher Plummer would’ve been a lock.  Gosling is great in all three of his films this year with “Drive” being his best.

BEST PERFORMANCE (ACTRESS)

Kirstin Wiig (Bridesmaids)

Rooney Mara (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo)

Kirsten Dunst (Melancholia)

Elizabeth Olsen (Martha Marcy May Marlene)

Tilda Swinton (We Need to Talk About Kevin)

“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” remake (or re-adaptation) is relevant because of the performance.  The original Lisbeth (Noomi Rapace) was still phenomenal, but Rooney Mara created a performance that fit my personal viewpoint of Lisbeth.  All the other actresses deserve a lot of credit, especially Kirsten Dunst, who was the best part of “Melancholia.”

BREAKOUT PERFORMANCE

Brit Marling (Another Earth)

Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids)

Asa Butterfield (Hugo)

Elizabeth Olsen (Martha Marcy May Marlene)

Craig Robers (Submarine)

This one was two-horse race.  Ultimately, I went with Elizabeth Olsen in “Martha Marcy May Marlene” because I felt like she had the best performance and will get the most recognition.  However, Brit Marling of “Another Earth” did an awesome job and has a future in writing as well, seeing as she co-wrote the film.  Lastly, I disqualified Rooney Mara because I didn’t want to double up too much.

BEST ENSEMBLE

Beginners

Bridesmaids

Drive

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Margin Call

“Margin Call” will be highly overlooked, but it was a solid film.  Although I was a little confused on who the “main character” was, I began to realize that there wasn’t one.  It was about all of the characters simultaneously.  “Margin Call” utilizes each character as best it could, making it impossible to overlook.  “Beginners” and “Drive” were my next choices.

BEST SCENE

Anesthesia (50/50)

Opening Car Chase (Drive)

Tattoo (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo)

Dubai Skyscraper (Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol)

Creation (The Tree of Life)

When you boil Lisbeth down to one defining moment, some will point to a part in the second book (I won’t spoil it), but I vividly remember when she got revenge.  In Fincher’s “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” she is creepy, crazy, and pretty messed up, looking into the camera and acknowledging herself as “insane!”  Dawning some Joker-esque makeup, Mara sold both the role and the scene when she got her revenge.

BEST VISUALS

Drive

Hugo

Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol

Rise of the Planent of the Apes

The Tree of Life

The visual style of “Drive” is what made it work.  I thought “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol” and “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” had great action sequences, but ultimately “Drive” wins out because of the style and how it relates to the story.  It is more than just “looking realistic.”  “Hugo” deserves a nod, too.

BEST INDIE FILM

Another Earth

Beautiful Boy

Beginners

Martha Marcy May Marlene

The Trip

Maybe “Indie” isn’t the best word for “Beginners” since it stars Ewan McGregor and Christopher Plummer.  However, since I saw it playing at independent theaters, I decided to include it.  It is one of the best films of the year, and has great performances, plot, and most of all, style.  It is a unique look on love in a genre that is completely over-saturated.

BEST SCREENPLAY

50/50

Beginners

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Margin Call

Midnight in Paris

The unique thing about “50/50” is that the writer himself went through the story on screen.  Like “Beginners,” it is an autobiographical tale, except this time it is the writer, not the director.  The screenplay makes the film both hilarious and heartbreaking, which is something I haven’t seen perfected up until this point.  I cried tears of happiness and joy all in under 2 hours.

BEST DIRECTOR

Jonathan Levine (50/50)

Nicholas Winding Refn (Drive)

David Fincher (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo)

Martin Scorsese (Hugo)

Terrence Malick (The Tree of Life)

Nicholas Winding Refn created a film that people can look at and automatically know it was him.  Like other great directors, he leaves a signature on all his films.  “Drive” took its “genre” and turned it on its head, spun it around, and submitted something vastly different than expected.  I attribute its greatness to Refn.

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Check back next week for the Top 25 films of 2011.


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