Best Film of 2011: THE DESCENDANTS

Top 10 Films of the Year:

Best Actor: George Clooney – THE DESCENDANTS. Runners-up: Jean Dujardin for THE ARTIST (2), Michael Fassbender for SHAME (3), Brad Pitt for MONEYBALL (4) and Michael Shannon for TAKE SHELTER (5).

Best Actress: Michelle WilliamsMY WEEK WITH MARILYN. Runners-up:Tilda Swinton for WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN (2), Meryl Streep for THE IRON LADY (3), Charlize Theron for YOUNG ADULT (4) and Kirsten Dunst for MELANCHOLIA (5).

Best Supporting Actor: Christopher PlummerBEGINNERS. Runners-up: Albert Brooks for DRIVE (2), Max von Sydow for EXTREMELY LOUD AND INCREDIBLY CLOSE (3), Armie Hammer for J. EDGAR (4) and Kenneth Branagh for MY WEEK WITH MARILYN (5).

Best Supporting Actress: Shailene Woodley – THE DESCENDANTS. Runners-up: Berenice Bejo for THE ARTIST (2), Octavia Spencer for THE HELP (3), Melissa McCarthy for BRIDESMAIDS (4) and Carey Mulligan for SHAME (5).

Best Director: Alexander PayneTHE DESCENDANTS. Runners-up: Michel Hazanavicius for THE ARTIST (2), Terrence Malick for THE TREE OF LIFE (3), Martin Scorsese for HUGO (4) and Woody Allen for MIDNIGHT IN PARIS (5).

Best Foreign-Language Film: A SEPARATION Runners-up: THE SKIN I LIVE IN (2), INCENDIES (3), 13 ASSASSINS (4) and a tie between OF GODS AND MEN and CERTIFIED COPY (5).


Best Animated Film: RANGO Runner-up: THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN


Best Cinematography: THE TREE OF LIFE Runner-up: WAR HORSE.


(Thanks to Hatshepsutely in the Forums)

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  • Glenn

    Actress seems to be a two horse race between Tilda and Michelle with the critics. A lotta love here too for EL&IC – they rank it third – that is huge!! Love the Russell Smith Award too – enough praise cannnot be showered on Kevin!!!!

  • I’ll always remember this lot as the only ones to nominated Maggie Gyllenhaal for her performance in Crazy Heart before she was Oscar-nominated for it. It’s not so much a sign of how influential the DFWFCA is (it’s not), but more a sign of how we ought not to count out any potential contenders, no matter how little support they seem to receive.

  • Fucking typo. >:(

  • I can’t wait for the Poeple Choice Awards and i do mean “Poeple’s Choice” which Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 is nominated for Best Picture, unlike other state or city film critics that never seen the movie or never give it a best picture nod.

  • Outtabucks

    Except for Supporting actress and best director, I’m fine with these… It getting clearer, the race. Still waiting for the late contenders…

  • @Ottabucks what do you think of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, honestly? and do you think it should be nominated for Best Picture?

  • You know I think Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 should get a best picture nod and so does Daniel Radcliffe for Best Actor and here’s why…and this goes for the Broadcast Film Critics Association and Golden Globes

    Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2: BFCA (93/100)[Critcs’ Choice], Rotten Tomatoes (96% based on 267 reviews among all critics and 100% based on 41 reviews among top critics which is Certified Fresh), and was ranked #1 in the summer that beat Midnight in Paris and Tree of Life, also it was ranked #1 in 4,375 theaters.

    The Ides of March: BFCA (91/100) [Critics’ Choice], RT (85% based on 199 reviews among all critcs and 73% based on 41 reviews among top critics which is Certified Fresh), and was ranked #2 in 2,199 theaters.

    The Help: BFCA (89/100) [Critics’ Choice], RT (75% based on 191 reviews among all critics and 68% based on 40 reviews among top critics which is Certified Fresh), and was ranked #2 in 2,534 theaters.

    The Descendants: BFCA (92/100) [Critics’ Choice], RT (89% based on 170 reviews among all critics and 90% based on 41 reviews among top critics which is Certified Fresh), and was ranked #10 in 29 theaters and #7 in 876 theaters.

    Moneyball: BFCA (91/100) [Critics’ Choice], RT (95% based on 204 reviews among all critics and 97% based on 39 reviews among top critics which is Certified Fresh), and was ranked #2 in 2,993 theaters.

    The Artist: BFCA (91/100) [4 stars], RT (95% based on 85 reviews among all critics and 100% based on 26 reviews among top critics which is Certified Fresh), and was ranked #29 in 4 theaters.

    Hugo: BFCA (87/100) [Critics’ Choice], RT (93% based on 167 reviews among all critics and 92% based on 38 reviews among top critics which is Certified Fresh), and was ranked #5 in 1,227 theaters.

    J. Edgar: BFCA (76/100) [3 stars], RT (42% based on 167 reviews among all critics and 55% based on 40 reviews among top critics which is Rotten), and was ranked #5 in 1,910 theaters.

    Drive: BFCA (91/100) [Critics’ Choice], RT (93% based on 214 reviews among all critics and 84% based on 38 reviews among top critics which is Certified Fresh), and was ranked #3 in 2,886 theaters.

    Shame: BFCA (80/100) [3 stars], RT (78% based on 120 reviews among all critics and 74% based on 35 reviews among top critics which is Certified Fresh), and was ranked #17 in 10 theaters.

    Midnight in Paris: BFCA (85/100) [Critics’ Choice], RT (93% based on 189 reviews among all critics and 95% based on 42 reviews among top critics which is Certified Fresh), and was ranked #13 in 6 theaters and #8 in 944 theaters.

    Tree of Life: BFCA (78/100) [3 stars], RT (84% based on 230 reviews among all critics and 88% based on 40 reviews among top critics which was Certified Fresh), and was ranked #15 in 4 theaters.

    Tinker, Tailor Soldier Spy: BFCA (87/100) [Critics’ Choice], RT (84% based on 123 reviews among all critics and 89% based on 29 reviews among top critics which is Certified Fresh) and was ranked #17 in 4 theaters.

    War Horse: BFCA (80/100) [3 stars]

    The Iron Lady: BFCA (79/100) [3 stars], Rotten Tomatoes (currently 71% based on 17 reviews among all critics).

    When you look at that info you and everybody knows that Harry Pootter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 did better than every movie on that list I made.

  • @OCO 300 “Did better” is such a relative term. HP is a great film – don’t get me wrong. But, if we go by that logic, why didn’t Avatar best pic? It grabbed an 83 Metacritic score, with some 100’s in there, too, and made the GDP of a small country more than The Hurt Locker.

    For that matter, Radcliffe’s performance as best actor? Really? Have you seen the performances he’s up against? He’s acting in middle school theater compared to the master classes put on by Oldman, Pitt, Fassbender, Shannon, and Clooney this year.

  • Josh

    HP won’t get nominated because it’s one if the worst films of 2011. Stop spaming the same comments everywhere.

  • Zooey

    Critics are for Michelle & Tilda, with Meryl taking some majors. But the industry will be all about Viola and Meryl in the end. Natalie Portman had most critics last year. But actually Sandra Bullock had 0 wins, Kate Winslet had only 3 wins and Marion Cotillard had one major (LAFCA) and two or three minor critics’ groups. So in the last four years critics went with Natalie in a big way and that was her Oscar, but Bullock, Winslet and Cotillard were other stories. In their respective years Streep/Mulligan, Hathaway/Hawkins and Julie Christie & (to some degree) Ellen Page had the critics. What actually goes against Meryl, I guess, is that she won most of these two years ago. In the end the Oscars will probably go to:

    PLUMMER (Brooks was snubbed by SAG)
    SPENCER (though I’m rotting for Chastain)

  • Ryman

    Josh is wrong. Harry Potter is one of the BEST films of 2011.

  • The Great Dane

    Josh, you can argue that Potter isn’t the Academy’s taste if you want, but PLEASE! Don’t use the “worst movie of the year” shit about the year’s best reviewed film. That’s just being an idiot.

  • Tero Heikkinen

    Daniel Radcliffe for Best Actor? Where, MTV Movie Awards? He wouldn’t even win there, Twilight would.

    People’s Choice Awards? Yes, I can see a Best Picture nomination there. Maybe a win. Those awards have very little to do with a website like this, but they will be mentioned. AD tries to mention all award shows, no matter how insignificant with Oscars.

    But… but… I thought we already passed this HP hijacking every thread after all its losses. Apparently not. We will be talking about this movie in 2024, it seems.

  • Tero Heikkinen

    The critics’ Foreign Language Film lists seem to be bad indicators (apart from A Separation). Half of those titles are from previous year (like Incendies) or are non-submitted films (like The Skin I Live In).

  • Bono

    Check out this
    ‘Behind the Magic’ video over on the ILM YouTube channel featuring “Rango”.

    Wow, they didn’t use TECHNOLOGY to capture emotion and performance.
    Just pure actor acting for reference. and Pure great animation (by animators).

    Really impressive, they trust animators’s talent to bring characters to life, instead of TECHNOLOGY.

  • @Tero Keikkinen aren’t you forgetting the Hollywood Movie of the Year and for Daniel Radcliffe how many awards for Best Actor has he got nominated for and won

  • dan

    I wish the oscars would go for Theron, such a brave fearless terrific performance, i think it’s Theron best career-performance, not your typical hero character, it’s so unique it’s rare to see those kind of characters on screen.

  • dan

    Also Young Adult have 82% fresh Rotten Tomatoes based on 105 reviews.

  • Aaron

    Michelle is winning the bulk of the critics’ prizes. I don’t understand why many are saying she doesn’t have a chance for the Oscars, because obviously there is support for her.

    And please stop with the Harry Potter trolling. It’s getting obnoxious and slightly desperate.

  • Bharat
  • The Great Dane

    Harry Potter deserves to be nominated for Best Picture (the best box-office and the best reviews of year combined should guarantee a automatic nomination, hell maybe even a win for Best Picture – how could you argue against the critics’s AND the public’s favorite film of the year?)

    It’s just weird that if it, as the evidence has shown, that Potter IS the strongest film of the year with the critics, when it comes to the critics’s AWARDS it’s just not good enough to vote for? Or are they just feeling too ashamed to vote for it? Maybe if it (like some earlier Potter films) had been a November release, it would be in stronger contention for a nomination? Fresh in people’s minds and “the talk of the town”? Problem is, good reviews and strong box-office or not, Potter is already old news.

    I feel sorry for the Potter fans out there. But I’m already mad about so many of them who are gonna flood the blogs on nominations morning: “F*** YOU ACADEMY! HOW COULD YOU IGNORE POTTER??!”
    FACE IT: It’s not going to happen. There is NO hope for it to happen. The Dark Knight didn’t get in, so Potter most certainly won’t.
    SAG cemented that Potter won’t make it. SAG represents the industry and the actors. Actors are also the biggest branch at the Academy, and if the actors can’t even nominate Potter for Best Ensemble of the Year (which everyone CAN agree on IS the best ensemble of the year – no film can top the list of actors that Potter 7B has), then there’s no hope. Potter’s ensemble IS its strength and biggest reason to get IN – and it didn’t. IT IS OVER. Face it now – there is not going to be a last minute surprise. It didn’t pass the SAG test – and it had to if it wanted to have a prayer left.

    I didn’t love the last Potter film, but based on (mostly) everyone’s feeling about the film back in the summer, I will gladly admit that I am in the minority and the film DOES deserve a Best Picture nomination. It DID get the best reviews of the year AND the biggest box-office. End of story. No discussion. How could that NOT make it the frontrunner of ALL films to get a Best Picture nomination? Problem is, it just isn’t. The Academy has NEVER truly embraced a sequel without having embraced all the previous installments of the series. Toy Story, Lord of the Rings, The Godfather – they embraced the last part of those series. But they had been embracing the first two installments all along.

  • The Great Dane

    MTV just announced The Best Film of the Year 2011: “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”… And with all the attention Daldry’s film has gotten today, it’s getting SO confusing.

    A lot of people were saying War Horse, Dragon Tattoo and Extremely Loud were dead – critics, SAG and Golden Globes largely ignored them, but then from all corners today comes all these amazing notices for the films. I just can’t get my head around those films. Are they great or what? Every time someone says “they suck” or “they’re dead”, someone calls them “The Best of the Year”. Are people’s emotions really that split about them. Or are the awards groups so far just saying: “Well, fuck you, studios – if you embargo us or won’t give us enough time to see your films, we’re not even gonna vote for them, even if we DO see them in time?”

  • Alexandra

    I smell a pesky TROLL that specializes in making in pity spam…

  • Alexandra

    Typo…making pity spam

  • aaron

    This is the best year for Streep…no clear alternate to vote against her. This seems like her year.

  • julian the emperor

    Seriously the HP trolling should stop now…please! It’s a real nuisance to the dedicated film lovers of this site having to sort through all this junk about a movie that is completely irrelevant Oscar-wise. Love it all you will, but, as Tero points out, there is a place for that type of movie, it’s called MTV Movie Awards.

  • notenoughtime

    Yes, there has always been limited love for Michelle Williams on this site, regardless of the quality of her performance. And so many absolutes about Viola Davis (who I adore)being Streep’s sole competition, even though I don’t believe she’s won much of anything so for. Conundrums Galore. However, when you throw Dame Meryl in the mix, rationality goes out the door.

    An earlier blogger stated “Meryl could fart for two hours on a stage, and still get a nomination”, it’s funny because it’s true.

  • We seem to be following a pattern with thiis year’s critic awards. The pattern arrives in this order the artist, the descendants, hugo, drive and the tree of life. These are the best picture front runners for this year’s oscars.

  • vlad

    I think Williams gave better performance than Davis.Williams clearly has critics behind her and i think she fas solid chance at Oscars.

  • MikeScott

    Finally a mention for Dunst.

  • Tero Heikkinen

    “The pattern arrives in this order the artist, the descendants, hugo, drive and the tree of life. These are the best picture front runners for this year’s oscars.”

    IF all those five would make it to BP nominees, that would be amazing. Not gonna happen, though. Maybe the first three will make it.

  • Tero Heikkinen

    IF they MADE it… 🙂

  • Ryman

    I’m so sick of Plummer winning Best Supporting Actor for Beginners. He’s a great actor but why do people consider his performance in THAT movie so great? It was bland as hell. His performance was no different than De Niro’s in New Year’s Eve. He’s an old man dying. Wow… haven’t seen that before in any other movie… oh wait I have. Jason Robards in Magnolia anyone? Oh but he is playing an old man who turned gay at the last minute before he kicks the bucket. That changes everything, right? Not at all. He still uses the same character and tone as every other old person that dies in a movie. It’s nothing we haven’t seen before. No matter how well his character was developed, it still doesn’t change the fact this plot has been done before. Christopher Plummer still deserves to win an Oscar no doubt, but not for Beginners. He should’ve won 12 years ago for The Insider for playing Mike Wallace. That’s not bland at all, because he was playing a character we hadn’t seen in every other movie, not to mention he was portraying someone in real life. Plummer can definitely portray almost any character, but at least let it be a powerful character. Maybe a villain. Someone like Bernie Rose from Drive.

    Drive may be my favorite movie of the year, but that’s not the main reason why I want Albert Brooks to win. I want Albert Brooks to win because he played a character that many audiences thought was out of his league, but he fooled everyone by pulling it off perfectly. He played a character that hasn’t really been in any other film. The character of Bernie Rose had his own tone and created his own environment around him. He never played a villain that copied off of every other villain you see in a movie today. You never know what he’s going to do next, and that’s what every villain should be like. Brooks should be the one to win the Oscar, not Plummer. Plummer should receive an Honorary award for all his better work he’s done in the past instead of winning one, taking away the achievement from the more deserving for playing an easily forgettable character. I still loved the film Beginners, but Christopher Plummer’s character of Hal Fields was only used to establish Ewan McGregor’s character in how he can overcome his grief. If anyone, Ewan McGregor should be in the Oscar race, not Christopher Plummer.

    So I hope the Academy does the right thing by giving the Oscar to Albert Brooks for Drive and not Christopher Plummer for playing a forgettable character we see in every other film. That’s especially why I’m really pissed off at the SAGs for nominating those who have played characters we’ve all seen before, and I’m not just talking about Christopher Plummer. There’s Nick Nolte for playing Mickey from Rocky… wait my bad… Paddy Conlon from Warrior. Seriously, he even tries using the same voice Burgess Meredith used in Rocky to play a trainer. That’s not acting as much as copying. Oh, and what about Armie Hammer for J. Edgar. An awful lot like James Franco’s character from Milk if you ask me. The only difference is that he’s sleeping with J. Edgar and not Harvey Milk. Has the same type of dialogue and complains about the same shit as we’ve seen before. He may support the development of the character of J. Edgar, but not for his own character of Clyde Tolson. He never really has his own back story written for him to show off the audience his true character except for complaining. If all he does is complain throughout most of the film, than the intensity in his character decreases which makes the performance seem bland and cliche. Still a good performance for how Armie Hammer acts in the movie, but NOTHING compared to Albert Brooks in Drive. I’m okay with Kenneth Branagh and Jonah Hill getting nominated, and not because they’re playing biographical characters but because they have more to offer in the film which gives the actor playing the character multiple options in how to portray them. At least the Golden Globes got it right by nominating Brooks.

    All I can say now is that I hope Albert Brooks wins the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. It would totally make up for last year’s Oscars awarding Best Picture to a film that’s been done over a hundred times before and not giving it to a film more inventive like The Social Network or Inception.

  • EricWang

    Somehow, I am more interested in the Best Supporting Actress race. These 5 are my favorite. I hope one of my first 2 will win Oscar. I won’t complain if anyone of them wins.
    1. (tied) Shailene Woodley – The Descendants
    1. (tied) Jessica Chastain – The Help
    3. Octavia Spencer – The Help
    4. Melissa McCarthy – Bridesmaids
    5. Elle Fanning – Super 8 => so overlooked!

  • Koleś

    Quite a high spot for ELIC (over Hugo)and correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t it the first time Von Sydow pops up on the radar?

  • Question Mark

    Look at the Carey Mulligan train picking up steam…I think she’s suddenly a big contender for not just a nomination, but maybe even the supporting actress Oscar itself.

  • Jordyn

    yaya charlize!!! I think Charlize will eventually get in before Close. Vote sensibly oscar peoples!

  • Henrick

    Most of the American critics have been choosing Michelle Williams because they are very familiar of Marilyn Monroe, so they know how uncanny and close Williams’ performance is. On the other hand, not many of them are familiar of Thatcher so they don’t even realise how brilliant Streep’s performance is and so close to the real persona of the British PM.

  • @The Great Dane yeah ur absolutely 100% right, at least there’s a few critics who seen this movie what potential it has, I mean it has a higher score/reviews than any film this year. I mean if it was that bad nobody would pay to see HaRRY pOTTER AND THE deathly hallows part 2, I mean did any of the state/city critics association see the movie?!

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