Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Best (and Worst) of 2011

By s. Thursday, January 26, 2012 , ,
Best movie: The Artist 
(Runner up - Shame)
Although without question "Shame" is much braver film it is also definitely one of the heaviest and most overwhelming movies I ever seen. Also we must ask the question - what if the movie would be made without Michael Fassbender's exquisite performance? With "The Artist" all the elements are top notch. It's the most magical, enchanting movie I've seen since "Amelie", a film that paradoxically by telling a story set almost a century ago, in a matter from a century ago, feels so edgy and unique - precisely because it went back, doing something nobody thought about doing. Almost wordless film, without any stars in it, captures the audiences everywhere - because of the talent and pure love for cinema of everyone involved.
Best Actor in the Leading Role: Michael Fassbender, Shame  
(Runner up - Jean Dujardin, The Artist)
Michael Fassbender's harrowing performance as Brandon, a young, rich, successful sex addict struggling to get through the day is perhaps in my top 5 of the best performances ever. It may be even higher since the only performance that comes to my mind that has a shot at being better than what he did is what Fiennes did in "Schindler's List". Fassbender captured the void and desperation of his character in a matter so painful and powerful I wept during last 15 minutes of the movie, precisely because he completely became his character and during those minutes we get to see him hit rock bottom. There were many great male performances last year, but in comparison to what Fassbender does here they all look silly.
Best Actress in the Leading Role: Rooney Mara, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo 
(Runner up - Charlize Theron, Young Adult)
Mara's performance may be my favorite of the year - when I saw "Shame" I knew Fassbender will be great. But when I went to see "Dragon Tattoo" I had no idea that this, pretty much unknown actress will create one of my all time favorite performances. Mara is so amazing here she makes Noomi Rapace's version of Lisbeth Salander look one dimensional, almost like a mannequin artificially brought to life. In Mara's interpretation Lisbeth cares, feels, takes care of others and even smiles. But she is also capable of great violence and cruelty. Her performance is truly worthy of this fascinating girl created by Larsson and so beloved, all over the world. She is Lisbeth - girl you want to have as ally and you would never want to have as an enemy. The girl you root for and feel for.
Best Actor in the Supporting Role: Alan Rickman, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2  
(Runner up - Patton Oswalt, Young Adult)
Rickman's performance as unlikeable and harsh professor Snape has always been a highlight of "Harry Potter
 movies but it's only in the last part of the series we get to realize just how important the character was in reality. The series was always filled with amazing actors who had very little screen time to establish strong performances, but they always managed to do so - however Rickman, during the series's most emotional and beautifully tragic moment manages to channel so much beauty and sadness with his performance it left the audiences all over the world shattered. It is a performance that is superior to McKellen's Gandalf, yet it was mercilessly snubbed during Award season.
Best Actress in the Supporting Role: Jessica Chastain, The Help
(Runner up - Octavia Spencer, The Help)
If you would ask who the hell Jessica Chastain was two years ago, nobody would know the answer. But in 2011 she appeared in so many movies it would be exhausting to list them and delivered all around beautiful work. Although beloved by movie goers and critics for her performances in "The Tree of Life" and "Take Shelter" Chastain is most highly praised for her performance in "The Help" where she stars as sweet, naive and innocent Celia Foote. In a cast with so many great actresses and performances Chastain manages to shine the brightest being hilarious, adorable and when the script needs her to - completely heartbreaking. He scenes with Octavia Spencer are the best and most touching in already very moving film.
Best Director:  Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
Best Screenplay: Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
Best Music: Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Best Track: Mycheal Danna, Moneyball - It's a process
Best non-soundtrack track: Enya, Orinoco Flow, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Best Cinematography: The Artist
Best Editing: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Best Visual Effects: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2
Biggest Disappointment: The Tree of Life
Worst Performance by Actress: Keira Knightley, A Dangerous Method
Worst Performance by Actor: Justin Timberlake, any movie he is in
Most Overhyped: The Tree of Life
Worst Movie of the Year: Horrible Bosses
Biggest Miscast: Justin Timberlake, in everything
Best Kiss: Drive  
(runner up - Marianne and Brandon, Shame)
Best Love Scene: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo 
 (runner up - Marianne and Brandon, Shame)
Best Fight: Container Park, Hanna 
(runner up - Lisbeth vs Martin, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo)
Best Line: "Lisbeth, can I call you Lisbeth? 
I want you to help me catch the killer of women." -  
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo 
(runner up - "If only he could speak!", The Artist)
Best Scene: Prince's Tale, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2  
(runner up - threesome scene in Shame)
Best Opening: Opening titles of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
(runner up - Drive)
Best Ending: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo 
 (runner up - Shame)
TOP 10 of 2011:
Shame (97/100)
Melancholia (94/100)

(films I have yet to see that look promising: "My week with Marilyn", "Hugo", "A Separation" and "Take Shelter" )


  1. Yay for Alan Rickman! Woowoo! Cool post! Of the ones I've seen in your top ten, the one I didn't like was Melancholia. I felt it was far too dense and slow. Glad to see HP pt. 2 getting in there though! :D

  2. Oh, it makes me so happy to see Jessica Chastain and Rooney Mara here. Two great actresses who have such immense talent that I have to wonder whether they even belong in Hollywood - they're outdoing everyone else, that's for sure. Ooh, and Fassy being better than Fiennes? Well, I'll have to see Shame now won't I? And yay for Alan Rickman!

  3. Great post and I love your choices and categories- Alan Rickman for Supporting? Hell yeah, the man deserves something for all his hard work.

  4. Nice post. I also like the look of your site too

  5. Great post, I like your "other" awards categories, cool idea. Will have to give that track a listen from Moneyball right now!

  6. AWESOME list, love the special categories. I too loved Mara - she's my pick for Best Actress. No shot at winning, but still.

    Obviously, I am ecstatic to see your love of Shame here.

  7. I may be a little late to the party, but I discovered your site yesterday and have been reading through your posts for most of the time since. Just wanted to say that I love this blog (it's one of the best I've ever seen) and that the reason I'm commenting here is because I actually cheered out loud when I saw Alan Rickman's name (and got a lot of odd looks for it). I can't believe he was never even nominated for an Oscar. RIP.

    1. I don't recommend binge reading my stupid posts :) But thank you so much for kind words! And yes Alan is so underrated. I think I saw all of his movies and he always delivered exceptional performances

    2. I wouldn't consider your posts stupid in the slightest - I'm actually hoping to set up my own review blog soon, and reading through here has been hugely inspirational.

      I think it would have been very easy to ham up the part of Snape, and just spend the whole time chewing the scenery and shouting. It's to Rickman's enduring credit that he actually humanised the character and in the end made us love him. Such a subtle, understated performance in the last film, but easily the most emotional. I imagine knowing the end to the character's arc beforehand helped immensely.

    3. Oh thanks :) Do leave the url to your site when you do, I'd love to check it out!

      It's a damn shame that he was not given a bit more to do but even with what he was given it's such an iconic performance. The award bodies always underrate all those wonderful performances in ensemble casts