National Society of Film Critics

BEST PICTURE
*1. Melancholia – 29 (Lars von Trier)
2. The Tree of Life – 28 (Terrence Malick)
3. A Separation – 20 (Asghar Farhadi)

BEST DIRECTOR
*1. Terrence Malick – 31 (The Tree of Life)
2. Martin Scorsese – 29 (Hugo)
3. Lars von Trier – 23 (Melancholia)

BEST ACTOR
*1. Brad Pitt – 35 (Moneyball, The Tree of Life)
2. Gary Oldman – 22 (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy)
3. Jean Dujardin – 19 (The Artist)

BEST ACTRESS
*1. Kirsten Dunst – 39 (Melancholia)
2. Yun Jung-hee – 25 (Poetry)
3. Meryl Streep – 20 (The Iron Lady)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
*1. Albert Brooks – 38 (Drive)
2. Christopher Plummer – 24 (Beginners)
3. Patton Oswalt – 19 (Young Adult)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
*1. Jessica Chastain – 30 (The Tree of Life, Take Shelter, The Help)
2. Jeannie Berlin – 19 (Margaret)
3. Shailene Woodley – 17 (The Descendants)

BEST NONFICTION
*1. Cave of Forgotten Dreams – 35 (Werner Herzog)
2. The Interrupters – 26 (Steve James)
3. Into the Abyss – 18 (Werner Herzog)

BEST SCREENPLAY
*1. A Separation – 39 (Asghar Farhadi)
2. Moneyball – 22 (Steven Zaillian, Aaron Sorkin)
3. Midnight in Paris – 16 (Woody Allen)

BEST FOREIGN-LANGUAGE FILM
*1. A Separation – 67 (Asghar Farhadi)
2. Mysteries of Lisbon – 28 (Raoul Ruiz)
3. Le Havre – 22 (Aki Kaurismäki)

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
*1. The Tree of Life – 76 (Emanuel Lubezki)
2. Melancholia – 41 (Manuel Alberto Claro)
3. Hugo – 33 (Robert Richardson)

EXPERIMENTAL
Ken Jacobs, for “Seeking the Monkey King.”

FILM HERITAGE
1. BAM Cinématek for its complete Vincente Minnelli retrospective with all titles shown on 16 mm. or 35 mm. film.
2. Lobster Films, Groupama Gan Foundation for Cinema and the Technicolor Foundation for Cinema for the restoration of the color version of George Méliès’s “A Trip to the Moon.”
3. New York’s Museum of Modern Art for its extensive retrospective of Weimar Cinema.
4. Flicker Alley for their box set “Landmarks of Early Soviet Film.”
5. Criterion Collecton for its 2-disc DVD package “The Complete Jean Vigo.”

=====
(Previously)

The NSFC announce within hours. While we wait, refresh your bittersweet memories of last year, after the cut.  (Gotta love the NSFC awards motto: “The Truth, Once Every 12 Months.”

2010:

BEST ACTOR
*1. Jesse Eisenberg 30 – The Social Network
2. Colin Firth 29 – The King’s Speech
2. Edgar Ramirez 29 – Carlos

BEST ACTRESS
*1. Giovanna Mezzogiorno 33 – Vincere
2. Annette Bening 28 – The Kids Are All Right
3. Lesley Manville 27 – Another Year

BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
*1. Geoffrey Rush 33 – The King’s Speech
2. Christian Bale 32 – The Fighter
3. Jeremy Renner 30 – The Town

BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
*1. Olivia Williams 37 – The Ghost Writer
2. Amy Adams 28 – The Fighter
3. Melissa Leo 23 – The Fighter
3. Jacki Weaver 23 – Animal Kingdom

BEST PICTURE
*1. The Social Network 61
2. Carlos 28
3. Winter’s Bone 18

BEST DIRECTOR
*1. David Fincher 66 – The Social Network
2. Olivier Assayas 36 – Carlos
3. Roman Polanski 29 – The Ghost Writer

BEST NONFICTION
*1. Inside Job 25 (Charles Ferguson)
2. Exit Through the Gift Shop 21 (Banksy)
3. Last Train Home 15 (Lixin Fan)

BEST SCREENPLAY
*1. Aaron Sorkin 73 – The Social Network
2. David Seidler 25 – The King’s Speech
3. Roman Polanski and Robert Harris 19 –The Ghost Writer

BEST FOREIGN-LANGUAGE FILM
*1. Carlos 31
2. A Prophet 22
3. White Material 16

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
*1. True Grit 31 (Roger Deakins)
2. Black Swan 27 (Matthew Libatique)
3. Somewhere 18 (Harris Savides)

240 Comments on this Post

  1. LOL, “refresh”.

  2. Heath87

    Any twitter link??

  3. Mohammed

    In a perfect world Poetry and A Separation would leave everyone else in the dust.

  4. wisconsinkel

    I think people can expect to see The Tree of Life do well here, as a sort of consolation prize.

  5. Heath87

    Well, IF The Tree of Life wins here and Terry Malick gets a citation in the 5 DGA nominees, then i think TOL and Malick are in for an Oscar nomination..

  6. Carlos is not a foreign language film. 70% of it is in English.

  7. waltizzle!!!

    Oh how I love the nsfc!!!! They’re the most elite, highbrow bunch and I look forward to their announcement every year! Last year’s choices for actor, screenplay, director, and picture were spot on!

  8. This isn’t a consolation prize of any sort. It’s one of the most respectable critics’ awards around.

  9. When Scott shows up, we can recommend more books of Best Movies, selected by the NSFC.
    The A List (the list itself)
    The B List
    The X List

  10. Edkargir

    Tol or Drive might win,but neither is one of the them made my top 20. The top 3 films are 1,The Artist,2 A Dangeous Method, 3 Win WIN

  11. I hope they consider Margaret for their top prize.

  12. I’m not sure about “Tree” winning BP, but Malick will probably win.

  13. Mohammed.
    Hope to see A Separation named among the top 3, at least.

  14. Here’s hoping Olivia Colman wins best actress

  15. Hope Corey Stoll wins!

  16. It’ll be really hard for Oscar voters to fill out their ballots today if the NSFC doesn’t hurry the fuck up.

  17. steve50

    Now that’s funny, Ryan

  18. Heath87

    Corey for the win would be amazing!!

  19. BEST ACTOR
    *1. Brad Pitt – 35 (Moneyball, The Tree of Life)
    2. Gary Oldman – 22 (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy)
    3. Jean Dujardin – 19 (The Artist)

    BEST ACTRESS
    *1. Kirsten Dunst – 39 (Melancholia)
    2. Yun Jung-hee – 25 (Poetry)
    3. Meryl Streep – 20 (The Iron Lady)

    BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
    *1. Albert Brooks – 38 (Drive)
    2. Christopher Plummer – 24 (Beginners)
    3. Patton Oswalt – 19 (Young Adult)

    BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
    *1. Jessica Chastain – 30 (The Tree of Life, Take Shelter, The Help)
    2. Jeannie Berlin – 19 (Margaret)
    3. Shailene Woodley – 17 (The Descendants)

    BEST PICTURE
    *1. Melancholia – 29 (Lars von Trier)
    2. The Tree of Life – 28 (Terrence Malick)
    3. A Separation – 20 (Asghar Farhadi)

  20. julian the emperor

    Casey: you sure are campaigning for Colman this year…Are you on the payroll?;)

    No, seriously…I can’t blame you…she ought to be an Oscar contender (but sadly, surefire nominees will include Williams, Streep and Close all doing middling-to-okay work in inferior films)

  21. Heath87

    Melancholia named Best Picture!!!

  22. @garras: the results, or your predictions?

  23. Eduardo

    Those are the results. They were just published on their official website.

  24. julian the emperor

    Wow! Another great day for my native Denmark!!:)

    Two prices for Melancholia and one for Drive!

    I am doing a little patriotic victory dance in my apartment right about now….:)

  25. Andrew Rech

    Uhh..where’s Director/Screenplay/Cinematography/Foreign?

  26. Heath87

    I’m sorry but…No Best Director??? O.o

  27. Kiki Best Actress!!! I still consider that this could happend…

  28. Robert A.

    Excellent Best Picture choices. The vote was super close between Melancholia and The Tree of Life. You can’t go wrong with either one of those films, so I’m content. And A Separation next in line is just more icing on the cake.

  29. Casey what about your Glenn Close campaign ??? but yeah Coleman was fantastic … to bad her performance is overshadowed by so many others !!!

  30. I believe they’re still voting. No group would leave off a Best Director citation, and especially not this group in particular.

  31. Andrew Sidhom

    Ryan, did you get my email with the charts?

  32. Mohammed

    Melancholia ?????? I’ve never understood the appeal of Trier , nor will I ever understand the attraction of this film. To each his own I guess. But guessing from their love for TSN last year, I hope A Separation becomes this years TKS.

    #Julian: Gratulerer fra Norge. Nå har dere minst tre regisører i verdensklassen.

  33. Thanks, garras. You caught it first.

    Can you keep an eye on them to see when the announce Best Director and other categories? I have to be away from the desk for a half hour or so.

  34. Got it Andrew. Thanks!
    will give it feature post this afternoon.

  35. I believe they’re still voting.

    Note on the NSFC site: “Additional awards will be posted as they become available.”

  36. Tero Heikkinen

    I’m starting to believe that there’s something wrong with me (or in my water, as you keep saying). I can’t see the love for Melancholia. What’s wrong with me?

    Yay, Denmark!!! A country that I actually LOVE, but Julian – you fool – what on earth are you saying?

    “…sadly, surefire nominees will include Williams, Streep and Close all doing middling-to-okay work in inferior films.”

    Streep is doing ABSOLUTELY magnificent work in an inferior film. Have you seen the film at all? Do you think Viola Davis should win from a mediocre film as well? I root for Tilda, but Meryl is my second choice for personal matters (a lot of it concerns Oscar history and previous acclaim).

  37. I think somebody is making fun of Sasha at the NSFC’s site. See the comments. That can’t be her!

  38. julian the emperor

    Mohammed: Mange tak! Hvem er den tredje instruktør du henviser til? Der er mange at vælge imellem efterhånden…:)

    Tero: Well, “the fool” thinks Streep is in an inferior movie first and foremost. She is doing well, I guess, if you consider the obstacle of doing something slightly redeeming of the awful mess of a script. But still, I consider this another routine job for Meryl (she did something very similar in another loathsome film, Julie and Julia) and my patience with her choice in roles is wearing thin…fast! That, most of all, makes me cranky.

    I root for Tilda as well, but we both know that she doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of winning…so this year leaves me frustrated (last years’ competitors were so much more deserving of the praise).

    I guess I’m rooting for Michelle after all, because it could be considered an Oscar for all of her previous great roles (which could have deserved an Oscar in my book).

  39. I just noticed that, sijmen. Sasha’s rarely one to hold her tongue but that is uncharacteristically coarse. She would have tweeted something if she was that pissed off.

  40. Robert A.

    @sjimen:

    No, that’s not Sasha, clearly. Just some anonymous boob with an ax to grind with Sasha who is hiding behind her name because he/she thinks it’s clever. The Internet is full of these boobs.

    I really am curious to know when their best director pick becomes available. Von Trier or Malick?

  41. Mohammed

    Julian# LOL. For det første; Jeg tenkte på Bier som den tredje. Har en svakhet for henne. For det andre, pass deg for hovmod, det har tendens til å stå for fall.

    I det nordiske broderskapets ånd gleder vi oss med dere, selv om vi gjør det med sammenbitte tenner ( og janteloven ikke langt unna)

  42. I’ve told them they’re falling for an imposter but they’re holding the correction in moderation. Dim bulbs.

  43. As have I, Ryan. They’re as slow to post out comments as they are to post who’s one their other awards…

  44. Hey Ryan is every member of the NSOFC and the Academy biased agaianst Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 just because it’s a high grossing film.

  45. Sasha Stone

    Some dumb asshole trying to cause trouble. Gee, I remember when I was 12.

  46. “Hey Ryan is every member of the NSOFC and the Academy biased agaianst Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 just because it’s a high grossing film.”

    No, they’re just 21 and older.

  47. BEST DIRECTOR
    *1. Terrence Malick – 31 (The Tree of Life)
    2. Martin Scorsese – 29 (Hugo)
    3. Lars von Trier – 23 (Melancholia)

    BEST NONFICTION
    *1. Cave of Forgotten Dreams – 35 (Werner Herzog)
    2. The Interrupters – 26 (Steve James)
    3. Into the Abyss – 18 (Werner Herzog)

    BEST SCREENPLAY
    *1. A Separation – 39 (Asghar Farhadi)
    2. Moneyball – 22 (Steven Zaillian, Aaron Sorkin)
    3. Midnight in Paris – 16 (Woody Allen)

    BEST FOREIGN-LANGUAGE FILM
    *1. A Separation – 67 (Asghar Farhadi)
    2. Mysteries of Lisbon – 28 (Raoul Ruiz)
    3. Le Havre – 22 (Aki Kaurismäki)

    BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
    *1. The Tree of Life – 76 (Emanuel Lubezki)
    2. Melancholia – 41 (Manuel Alberto Claro)
    3. Hugo – 33 (Robert Richardson)

  48. julian the emperor

    Mohammed: HA! Det skal jeg huske… (desuden: i Norge har I jo en yderst talentfuld ny Trier på vej…Reprise og Oslo, 31.august er super film)…nå, vi må hellere skifte til engelsk fra nu af…:)

    Ok, last intra-Nordic exchange….I don’t know if there’s any rule against writing in foreign languages on this site? That would only be fair, btw…

  49. Heath87

    Ok, Terrence Malick just won for Best Director…now, WAY TO THE DGA!!!

  50. …and fake Sasha deleted:)
    They have to chose a new motto: “Push the refresh, once every minute.”

  51. Sasha Stone

    If they were going to impersonate me I wish A) they’d have been funny at least, and B) been right. I love Dragon Tattoo, of course, but the film I hoped they’d have picked was Hugo. Also, Melancholia is a really great movie. So is Tree of Life or The Artist had they gone in those directions. The only movie I would have complained about probably is War Horse.

  52. Interesting how close Scorsese came to winning Best Director despite the fact that Hugo isn’t in their Top 3 films. I know predicting a split is rarely wise, but I still think that Scorsese will take the Oscar with another film winning Best Picture.

  53. @cc I just don’t get how it was overlooked by every crtic award ceremony, even the Critics Choice Awards (which the movie got a 93 by the Broadcast Film Critics Association), I mean after all this movie did, don’t these critics think it deserves to be nominated for Best Picture?

  54. Robert A.

    “I mean after all this movie did, don’t these critics think it deserves to be nominated for Best Picture?”

    Apparently not.

  55. Mohammed

    Screenplay & Foreign , yes!! Consider the Academies shoulder poked. Now , my hope is Bayets name rises as a shocker and gets a nomination in support.

  56. Thanks, garras! Main page updated now.
    & thanks, sijmen for noticing that tomfoolery in the NSFC comments.

    It takes a village!

  57. Ryan: You’re welcome. I’m a “refreshpusher” expert:)

  58. “I mean after all this movie did, don’t these critics think it deserves to be nominated for Best Picture?”

    Um… not if they liked other movies more than they did Harry Potter.

    During a presidential election, should I vote for the candidate who makes more money in fundraising?

  59. During a presidential election, should I vote for the candidate who makes more money in fundraising?

    Don’t joke.
    :?

  60. @cc i don’t mean the boxoffice, I mean what about Rotten Tomatoes, Metacritic, BFCA, IMDB, and all those reviews movie critics say about this film?

  61. manrico1967

    The Picture, Director and Actress winners are not in the run for even being nominated for Oscars. Or so the conventional wisdom says.

    I think the CW has it right.

  62. one thing reliable about conventional wisdom — it’s dependably conventional

  63. IMDB isn’t made up of movie critics, as I’m sure you know already.

    And just because MORE critics may like the movie doesn’t mean a greater number of them like the movie BEST.

    Now stop with the questions, and find a like-minded person to help you with the coping process. It’s a movie. It’s not your life.

  64. Edkargir

    Best picture and Best Director are bad choices. Best picture The Artist Best Director Michel Hazanavious.

  65. steve50

    Have to toast the best pic and best director choices – could be the last hurrah this year for some of them.

    Very happy to see them honor Pitt – well-deserved win should make him a lock now. Still rooting for “the Michaels” to join him and Dujardin + whoever.

    Ditto for Dunst, but I don’t think it’s going to happen for her. Would love to see her join Williams, Swinton and Mara in the final race (let Close, Streep and Davis wrestle for the last spot)

    As usual with the NSFC, I can’t argue with any of these choices.

  66. Jessica Chastain now has wins from LAFCA, NSFC and NYFCC. That’s a pretty formidable threesome there. I would say it’s pretty safe to say that she’s definitely in with Oscar, but Sally Hawkins won these same three for Happy-Go-Lucky and failed to be nominated. That was a strong category that year, but so is Supporting Actress this year, and Hawkins wasn’t fighting herself. Also, look at how low the tallies are for Supporting Actress – there were surely many other actresses who fell just shy of making that top three.

  67. @cc well do you think it might win an OSCAR this year?

  68. I see a Pitt ,I see a Oldman and Iam satisfied after all the( Oldman ) snubs !

  69. nooo club88 it doesnt might win an oscar this year. At least that the academy wants to recognize it in visual effect category. Although it doesnt deserve that.

  70. How can Brad Pitt NOT win Best Actor now?

  71. As Paddy pointed out, Jessica Chastain now has the Critical Trio (NYFCA, LAFCA, NSFC) and she is the only acting contender this year who pulled that off. Although there is a small chance she will cancel herself out IF the Academy goes for ‘The Tree of Life’ in a big way and she splits the votes with that and ‘The Help’, but I think if she gets the nod (very likely) and gets it for ‘The Help’ (also very likely based on the SAG-GG-BFCA), then she will win. Her role is so damn likeable/adorable that I can’t see the Academy go for anyone else. Sure, she could split votes with her co-star and allow Bejo take it, or Spencer could just emerge as the one to beat once the big ones start announcing their winners, but for now, I think Jessica Chastain should be considered the frontrunner in the best supporting actress category. Although three actresses have the SAG-BFCA-GG trio (Bejo, Spencer), only she has substantial critical support, as well. And though critics don’t vote for the Oscars, when their support is this obvious, they might influence the ones who do.

  72. steve50

    @Patryk

    Excellent question. If he takes the SAG, we have our winner.

  73. And it doesn’t bode well for ‘The Descendants’ that it only managed to get ONE mention and even that is a 3rd place, when it is widely considered top2/top3 in picture, director, screenplay, actor…and yet it received a 3rd place in supporting actress and nothing else.

    Could it be ‘Up in the Air’ all over again ? Early frontrunner losing steam by the time the big ones start awarding ? I guess the DGA-nominations will be the dealbreaker here. If Payne received the nod as it is widely expected, then no worries, if it doesn’t…

  74. Sasha Stone

    How can Brad Pitt NOT win Best Actor now?

    I think he will win…

  75. if HE doesn’t, sorry, I thought I had written ‘if The Descendants receives the DGA-nod, then no worries, if it doesn’t.

  76. Gustavo Horn

    “And though critics don’t vote for the Oscars, when their support is this obvious, they might influence the ones who do.”

    “Might” is a key word here. Amy Ryan swept the critics prizes and the BFCA for Gone Baby Gone in 2007, but still lost the Oscar. Although in this case, I believe Chastain has the edge too. Seems safe to predict her as the winner. For now, at least.

  77. All the AMPAS members who are mad about Tree of Life getting shut out can vote for Brad in protest. All 50 of them. But 50 votes is enough to tip it.

  78. Brad Pitt IS Billy Bean. Oops, I mean Billy Beane! I know what his next MLB biographical role should be :-)

  79. Eric S.

    Wins for the LA, SF, Toronto, Chicago, (and now) the NSFC and still AD has Malick in 6th place for a Best Director Oscar nom. Hmmm…

  80. Bill_the_Bear

    The problem is, what is Jessica Chastain going to be nominated for? The NSFC could give her their prize for three films, but Oscar can’t nominate her for three; they (or rather, the Oscar voters) have to choose one.

    Many seem to think that she’ll get in for “The Help.” Others think it will be for “The Tree of Life.” Others, including myself, think she was better in “Take Shelter” than in the other two. Maybe, just maybe, there are others who preferred her in “Coriolanus” or even “The Debt.” The question is, will there be a split in her votes which would cancel her out?

  81. My personal favourite Jessica Chastain performance of last year is Take Shelter, but I can’t see her winning enough support from Academy voters for it. She might have enough to be nominated for The Tree of Life, but is unlikely to have more for it than for The Help. If she’s nominated, it’ll probably be for The Help. I’d say she’s more likely to cancel herself out entirely than to be nominated for any other performance.

    As I said above, Sally Hawkins also won LAFCA, NSFC and NYFCC three years ago, and she failed to secure an Oscar nomination. She also won the Golden Globe that year.

    But I don’t think she’ll win. I think there’s still more buzz for Octavia Spencer in that film – Chastain’s Celia Foote has emerged as her most likely performance to be Oscar-nominated, but that doesn’t mean it’s more likely than all the other performances this year to win. Spencer has the bigger role and has received more acclaim for it. Additionally, she has received more awards attention than Chastain has for that individual performance. Ask yourselves this: If Celia Foote were the only performance Jessica Chastain had given this year, would she be such a favourite? Would she have wins from LAFCA, NSFC and NYFCC? I don’t think so. The award is still Spencer’s to lose.

  82. Eh, maybe I’m defective. I’m happy that Gary Oldman is in there. Maybe that’s a good sign for him. Otherwise, I’m not feelin’ it. But I probably wasn’t going to anyway. Looking over their choices last year, I am not in sync with them.

  83. Gustavo, agreed, “might” is definitely the key word.

    Bill / Paddy, although she could EASILY cancel herself out, IF she gets the nomination for ANY film (The Help is the most likely, although The Tree of Life could also happen, Take Shelter – also my fave turn of hers – seems like a film that has a better shot at critics groups than the Academy, The Debt/Coriolanus are out of question), I think she will win. We’ll see!

  84. Quite the pretentious group from the looks of it.

  85. Good to see some love for A Separation, a great film
    Please don’t anyone pretend that TOL’s strong showing here (NSFC) has any bearing at all on its Oscars chances. Its dead in the water
    Its a shame that Dunst wont get Oscar love, its a great performance in what I, as a big Von Trier fan, thing was a bit of a mess of a film

  86. steve50

    Pretentious? That word is passed around here like a full bedpan. I’d really like to know what the perceived definition is and how it pertains to some films and not others.

  87. I agree with Scotty. I’m not too worried about this awards group. Melancholia for Best Film? Sure it is. I guess it’s interesting watching a girl in a wedding dress walking around a feel, depressed.

  88. *field

  89. kirenaj

    Tree Of Life and Melancholia are the two best films I have seen so far from 2011 so I am quite happy with these awards. I can’t see why people view these movies as pretentious or difficult to get; Melancholia is one of von Triers most easily accessible movies and Tree Of Life is an autobiography that is just told through flashes of memory instead of a clear narrative. Both movies are works of individual artists as opposed to by committee as is usually the case, and as I grow older I start to want more from movies as an art form than just a story and good special effects, even if movies like that still can work for me (Dragon Tattoo did just that).

    I still haven’t seen Hugo, but Scorsese hasn’t made a movie that he has seemed to care deeply about since The Aviator, and he hasn’t made a really artistically successfull one since The Age Of Innocence, so I am a bit skeptical. That said, he does love movies, so maybe Hugo has brought out the best in him.

  90. @kirenaj
    I actually really like your response. It doesn’t make me like the movies more, but you defend the movies well (esp. Tree of Life).

  91. Beth Stevens

    Four awards (or partials) for Tree of Life: Director, Pitt, Chastain, Cinematography. Even though it barely missed Best Picture, this is very cool.

    Love the love for A Separation here. I hope it translates to an Oscar screenplay nom.

    Melancholia and Dunst are good choices.

    Glad to see Marty a close runner-up for director, and a special award for the Georges Melies restoration.

  92. cc says:
    January 7, 2012 at 1:45 pm
    “Hey Ryan is every member of the NSOFC and the Academy biased agaianst Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 just because it’s a high grossing film.”

    No, they’re just 21 and older.

    Quite the stupid response cc considering that over 75% of Deathly Hallows audience was 21+.

  93. Robert A.

    “Melancholia for Best Film? Sure it is. I guess it’s interesting watching a girl in a wedding dress walking around a feel, depressed.”

    Boy, is it ever! (Oh, by the way, I guess you forgot to mention that other little plot thread: the impending apocalypse!)

    “Both movies are works of individual artists as opposed to by committee as is usually the case, and as I grow older I start to want more from movies as an art form than just a story and good special effects, even if movies like that still can work for me (Dragon Tattoo did just that).”

    I agree with you, kirenaj. Unfortunately, I think a majority of today’s moviegoers are more comfortable with the “movies by committee.” Give them a familiar story they can easily follow over their popcorn buckets along with some nice special effects and thrills, and they’re happy. Such movies don’t have to get their minds involved or even their hearts in any real way (crying on cue because sweeping scores announce it’s time for you to cry don’t count). For many people art has become a bad word, so a film that offers a unique vision or doesn’t follow the traditional storytelling path becomes instantly suspect. What is this? I haven’t seen THIS before? Why the hell is the earth forming in this movie? You’re not supposed to do that! And why is everyone talking inside their heads? Doesn’t this Malick guy know what the hell he’s doing? Planetarium show, style over substance, blah blah blah!

    In short, I think a lot of moviegoers just don’t like to think, to be provoked, to be challenged, to see something new, to look at something from a unique perspective, to feel in any way other than in familiar and sloppy sentimental ways that now pass for “feeling” in the movies. There’s something pleasant and comforting, I guess, in those movies that are paint-by-number and don’t really surprise, that give you exactly what you know you’re going to get when you pay for your ticket. If a movie does something other than give the easy entertainment–in fact if it dares to shake you up a little or rattle your cage–many people recoil and can’t be bothered. It’s then we start to hear the tired old knee-jerk criticisms: This sucks! It’s overrated! It’s pretentious!

    Just be happy, kirenaj, that you’re one of the people who can appreciate the more artistic impulses in film. There’s a lot of beauty to be had there if you’re willing to open yourself up to it.

  94. @Ryan: “It’ll be really hard for Oscar voters to fill out their ballots today if the NSFC doesn’t hurry the fuck up.”
    Now THAT’S funny.

  95. It drives me nuts when an actor wins with multiple films listed – seems to cheapen it to me. Have a Best Body of Work award to recognize that sort of thing.

  96. manrico1967

    Ryan wrote “one thing reliable about conventional wisdom — it’s dependably conventional”

    So is the Academy.

  97. Robert, that comment is largely insulting. You see, there are plenty of us that watch films which are unique visions (ie Children of Men), non-traditional storytelling (ie Memento), thought provoking (ie Donnie Darko), not sloppy sentimental fare (ie Platoon, etc) etc, etc yet still find The Tree of Life to be a load of pretentious crap.

  98. I really don’t understand the lack of Corey Stoll love. Is he a prick or something? Does everyone hate him? He was brilliant.

    Kathy Bates, too, really. She only showed up in The CRAPTAs this year.

    Boo.

  99. @Scott well well well, ur right that was stupid. I mean you got give Harry Potter alot of credit for working darn hard these past ten, and do you thing they should get an honorary OSCAR fo that?

  100. Other films (separated by categories) which I think merit at least one viewing (many of which do not fall under the descriptions Robert spewed out)…

    Leon: The Professional
    Blood Diamond
    Basic Instinct
    The Dark Knight
    Shutter Island
    L.A. Confidential
    Prestige
    The Usual Suspects
    Fight Club
    Se7en
    Inception
    Love Actually
    The Philadelphia Story
    It Happened One Night
    Casablanca
    Romeo and Juliet
    West Side Story
    His Girl Friday
    Bringing Up Baby
    Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
    Duck Soup
    In Bruges
    Snatch
    The Graduate
    Goodwill Hunting
    The Breakfast Club
    The Outsiders
    The Shawshank Redemption
    12 Angry Men
    One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
    It’s a Wonderful Life
    Citizen Kane
    American History X
    Forrest Gump
    American Beauty
    To Kill A Mockingbird
    Saving Private Ryan
    Network
    Doctor Zhivago
    The Grapes of Wrath
    Chinatown
    The Bridge on the River Kwai
    Rain Man
    A Few Good Men
    A Beautiful Mind
    Anatomy of a Murder
    Crash
    Days of Heaven
    The Hurt Locker
    Up in the Air
    Lord of the Rings Trilogy
    The Harry Potter Series
    The Curse of the Black Pearl
    Big Fish
    The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
    The Princess Bride
    Harvey
    The Wizard of Oz
    The Green Mile
    American Pie
    American Pie 2
    Fast Times at Ridgemont High
    40 Year Old Virgin
    Superbad
    Wedding Crashers
    Knocked Up
    Porky’s
    Zack and Miri Make a Poro
    40 Days and 40 Nights
    National Lampoon’s Animal House
    Defiance
    Pearl Harbor
    Hotel Rwanda
    Munich
    Troy
    Apollo 13
    300
    21
    The Bank Job
    Changeling
    Into the Wild
    Freedom Writers
    American Gangster
    Catch Me If You Can
    Black Hawk Down
    Erin Brockovich
    Titanic
    Glory
    Mississippi Burning
    La Bamba
    Raging Bull
    Bonnie and Clyde
    Zodiac
    Psycho
    The Shining
    Halloween
    Identity
    Jaws
    Sleepy Hollow
    Final Destination
    Bram Stoker’s Dracula
    Almost any of the Disney Classics
    Rear Window
    To Catch a Thief
    Spellbound
    North by Northwest
    Strangers on a Train
    Dial “M” For Murder
    Rope
    The Lady Vanishes
    Shadow of a Doubt
    The Big Sleep
    The Maltese Falcon
    Double Indemnity
    Mystic River
    Mulholland Dr.
    Star Wars
    The Matrix
    Avatar
    Star Trek
    V for Vendetta
    Children of Men
    12 Monkeys
    Transformers
    Jurassic Park
    Iron Man
    Field of Dreams
    Bull Durham
    The Natural
    Cool Runnings
    A League of Their Own
    Major League
    Remember the Titans
    Hoosiers
    Rocky
    Raging Bull
    Cinderella Man
    The Pride of the Yankees
    The Blind Side
    Brian’s Song
    Friday Night Lights
    Radio
    Brokeback Mountain
    Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
    Unforgiven

    from here- http://www.cosforums.com/showpost.php?p=5520276&postcount=132 (it’s in need of updating though)

  101. rufussondheim

    Memento is extremely conventional, if you really want to break it down. First off, there is only one plot thread, one way to interpret what’s going on. Sure, it’s not easy to follow for a casual viewer, but it’s definitely followable with some effort. The themes and characters are pretty one-note. It’s a gimmick film, no more, no less. It’s a nice gimmick, but that doesn’t make it a great movie.

    Donnie Darko is not thought-provoking. When you break it down, it makes no sense, there are too many inconsistencies and logical errors. It just doesn’t hold up under scrutiny (and, trust me, I scrutinized it.)

    I love Children of Men, but I wouldn’t say it had a unique vision. It had some great technique, a tight script, a solid point-of-view. It’s a great science fiction flick, one of my favorite movies of the last decade. But I would hardly call it’s dystopian vision to be unique. That’s one line of praise I wouldn’t give the film.

    But that’s just me. I’m really, really hard on movies. I think that comes from my love of literature. 99.9% of the movies out there can’t hold a candle to my favorite books, many of which stop me in my tracks at the inexplicable beauty of a well-written sentence, or a sentence that captures the essence of life in just a few words.

    Take this passage from Michael Cunningham’s A Home at the End of the World. Alice is a middle-aged woman who believes her only college-attending son hates her, she wants to leave her absent husband. She has nothing. But she likes to cook, so she decides to teach a cooking class at the local YMCA. She writes, “This is what you do. You make a future for yourself out of the raw material at hand.” I know I can’t do it justice, but it’s heartbreaking when you come accross it. You stop and think, and you realize of the immense truth in that statement.

  102. Just saw the Tree of Life last night! Now I understand why it has won almost all of the cinematography awards so far…wow! I have never seen a film so driven by cinematography, score, and a complete lack of dialogue! It was really interesting to look at but it still lacked alot in my opinion. Still for the amazing creation of the universe sequence it at least deserves a B-. Yet for the NSFC it gets 2nd place for Best Picture, no way..as for the winner Melancolia, I am scared to watch that film, it looks soooooooo depressing! And after just watching A Better Life last week, I am still ready to slit my wrists and to think I made my poor boyfriend watch it with me!

  103. rufussondheim

    Nice list Scott, while I certainly can’t agree with some on that list (Major League) the one thing that strikes me about the list is how conventional it is. I don’t get a sense of who you are when I look over the films in that list. You speak of films with a unique vision, but what I would like to see in a list of movies is a list with a unique vision.

    I know you’re young so please don’t take this post with a note of criticism, because I know as the years pass, as you mature and as the number of films you have to draw from grows larger, your list of films will begin to gain that unique vision.

  104. The Great Dane

    People in general still don’t “get” Memento. I thought it was easy as hell to follow, especially after the last scene spelled everything out in detail, but everyone I talk with about the film still jeep talking about the wife’s murderer. How is it so difficult to understand?? Did they miss the last scene?? There is no two ways to understand that film!

  105. rufussondheim

    I find everything by Nolan to be that way, once you strip away the gimmick, what you have left is a bunch of plastic wrap.

  106. So Scorsese was runner-up with the NSFC, the NYFCC, and the LAFCA?

  107. Love Melancholia and the other works by von Trier. Dogville and Manderlay are supposed to be the first 2 installments of a trilogy. Anyone here knows whether the third one’s in the works?

    It’s great Kirsten won, hope it translates into an Oscar nom.

    And cheers to Malick, crossing my fingers for a DGA nod.

  108. So these are the films I’ve seen since the creation of that thread which I’ve given a grade B or higher (80+)

    The Thin Man
    Touch of Evil
    Treasure of the Sierra Madre
    Gone With the Wind
    Miller’s Crossing
    Terminator
    The Night of the Hunter
    Full Metal Jacket
    Wall-E
    Blue Velvet
    Wild Strawberries
    Hot Fuzz
    Dead Poets Society
    Harry Brown
    Sugar
    The Godfather Part 2
    Meet John Doe
    Scarface (1932)
    The Insider
    Les Diaboliques (AKA “The Greatest Film Hitchcock Never Made”)
    Good Night and Good Luck
    Laura
    Ball of Fire
    The Lady Eve
    Adam’s Rib
    Barry Lyndon
    Boogie Nights
    Sergeant York
    Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
    The Phantom of the Opera
    The Birds
    Winter’s Bone
    The Innocents
    Across the Universe
    The Reader
    Robin Hood
    Something’s Gotta Give
    The Town
    The Dreamers
    The Social Network
    The Kids Are Alright
    Naked
    Get Low
    The American
    Easy A
    The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
    Black Swan
    True Grit
    Enchanted
    The Fighter
    Atonement
    127 Hours
    The King’s Speech
    Kind Hearts and Coronets
    Love and Other Drugs
    Badlands
    Sullivan’s Travels
    To Be Or Not To Be
    You Can’t Take it With You
    Mr. Deeds Goes to Town
    The Awful Truth
    Unstoppable
    The Game
    Donnie Darko
    Gangs of New York
    The Rainmaker
    Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
    A Streetcar Named Desire
    On the Waterfront
    Sabrina
    Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
    Stalag 17
    Shall We Dance?
    Fargo
    Stand By Me
    The Way Back
    The Adjustment Bureau
    Source Code
    Super 8
    Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
    Before Sunrise
    Before Sunset
    Moneyball
    Rise of the Planet of the Apes
    Crazy Stupid Love
    Water for Elephants
    Submarine
    Midnight in Paris
    Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
    The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
    War Horse
    Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol

  109. rufus, that’s cause I like just about everything! lol

  110. BTW, what I meant by un-conventional storytelling with Memento is the non-linear structure. Nolan is a master at it. Prestige being another great example.

  111. julian the emperor

    James: No, Von Trier has discarded the trilogy (I think even he grew tired of the white chalk on a huge blackboard premise…that, and Manderley was box office catastrophe).

    Rufussondheim: I really enjoyed your take on Scott’s “unique” films (and nice to see I’m not the only one who things that Memento is overrated). I met Michael Cunningham a while ago in Copenhagen and got a nice chat with him, a really affable fellow!:) And, yeah, literature is number 1 for me, too…(music is probably second, so why I am spending all this time on movies…?;))

  112. “Quite the stupid response cc considering that over 75% of Deathly Hallows audience was 21+.”

    Oh, you mean parents? Don’t make the mistake in thinking that the people who drove you to the movie theater and bought your twizzlers for you liked the movie as much as you did, just because they saw it with you. They were obligated to be there to make sure you didn’t trip on your unlaced Sketchers when climbing up the stairs. :P

  113. I still think Dunst can pull a Maggie Gyllanhael – Crazy Heart surprise and score a nomination. And she has a lot more critical support.

  114. Um cockroach, you must have no familiarity with the Potter franchise. The first book was released in 1997. Those kids that were reading it then (such as myself) are now in their mid-20’s. Also, the series gets progressively darker and ceases to be children’s books/movies after Goblet of Fire.

  115. Tero Heikkinen

    “I guess I’m rooting for Michelle after all, because it could be considered an Oscar for all of her previous great roles (which could have deserved an Oscar in my book).”

    Goodbye, Julian. If you saw that movie – way worse than The Iron Lady.

  116. @julian, that sucks, I was really looking forward to the third one, Kirsten could star in that one

  117. @blue, “I guess it’s interesting watching a girl in a wedding dress walking around a feel, depressed.”

    It wasn’t just depression she was portraying the entire time she was in the wedding dress. Be more observant and think beyond what is apparent next time.

  118. Absolutely, utterly meaningless choices vis a vis Oscar nomination day. Just a bunch of critics who think a movie from a fan of Hitler was worth two shits. This was Melcncholia’s Super Bowl today.

  119. No PaulH, Melancholia’s Super Bowl was the European Film Awards, big winner there.

  120. Oh and Super Bowl refers to the big game, but when the team wins, it gets the Vince Lombardi Trophy. So, this prize was Melancholia’s Vince Lombardi Trophy, or something like that.

  121. Tero Heikkinen

    “You see, there are plenty of us that watch films which are unique visions (ie Children of Men), non-traditional storytelling (ie Memento), thought provoking (ie Donnie Darko), not sloppy sentimental fare (ie Platoon, etc) etc, etc yet still find The Tree of Life to be a load of pretentious crap.”

    The last line killed everything you said before. I’m sad now. I am dead.

  122. Tero Heikkinen

    Tell us non-Americans more about Lombardi. Heard about him in movies. Must be some kind of an athlete…

  123. Absolutely, utterly meaningless choices vis a vis Oscar nomination day.

    For most of us, our entire lives don’t revolve around Oscar nomination day.

  124. Craig Z

    Tero, Lomardi was an American football coach. Won a bunch of championships. Now the championship trophy is named after him.

  125. Very happy with Melancholia and the Tree of Life. Glad to see unconventional movies making their way.

  126. btw rufus, can you further explain what you mean by all those films I listed being “conventional”? I rather thought there was quite the eclectic mix…

  127. Scott, it’s a conventional list. The films on it are largely American, largely English-language, largely live-action, largely well-known and largely pretty successful at the box office. That makes it a conventional list.

  128. Craig Z

    I’m actually gonna jump to Scott’s defence here. I didn’t ever really read his list (honestly don’t care, Scott seemed to be answering a question nobody asked) but anyways I don’t like it when someone calls another persons list words like “conventional” or “mainstream”. People can only go by what they have seen. Am I right? Not everybody has seen a bunch of obscure or foriegn film.

    I think anybody who calls someone elses list conventional is trying too hard. I’m sure your list is full of choices that are unconventional for unconventional’s sake. Too self aware with films added simply to look cool or hip. You are probably being dishonest with yourself.

    I don’t care what the film on the list are personally as long as it seems honest. I have a hard time believing someone who would call someone elses choices “conventional” is being honest with themselves. Reaks of self awareness cause you have obviously put thought into wether your own list is conventional or not. Which is phony. Scotts list doesn’t appear phony to me. Which is all I can ask for.

  129. The films on it are largely American, largely English-language, largely live-action, largely well-known and largely pretty successful at the box office. That makes it a conventional list.

    Well ok, but nevertheless I think it’s an eclectic mix of genre and age.

  130. p.s. in regards to the live action criticism note that I mentioned Disney films. I thought it would be ridiculous to list all of them. I suppose I could have pointed out a few worthy non-Disney animations though. But you see I’ve largely outgrown animations.

  131. btw, those lists were responses to this comment of Robert A’s

    “In short, I think a lot of moviegoers just don’t like to think, to be provoked, to be challenged, to see something new, to look at something from a unique perspective, to feel in any way other than in familiar and sloppy sentimental ways that now pass for “feeling” in the movies. There’s something pleasant and comforting, I guess, in those movies that are paint-by-number and don’t really surprise, that give you exactly what you know you’re going to get when you pay for your ticket. If a movie does something other than give the easy entertainment–in fact if it dares to shake you up a little or rattle your cage–many people recoil and can’t be bothered. It’s then we start to hear the tired old knee-jerk criticisms: This sucks! It’s overrated! It’s pretentious!”

    And I felt it rather insulting for him to imply that I fit in to such a crowd just cause I think The Tree of Life is a pretentious load of crap.

  132. Edwin Drood

    LOL at the inherent pretentiousness of the suggestion that Scott’s list reflects immaturity and that it will necessarily change as he ages (and presumably attains greater wisdom). Clearly he has already viewed many films including a number of those which are touted by some as “art” and has come to the not-unreasonable conclusion that some of the films one is “supposed” to appreciate are unworthy. It is utterly conventional – and predictable – for those who fancy themselves film aesthetes to favor titles from Cahiers du Cinema and, generally speaking, the more abstruse the film, the more praise is lavished upon it, as if the commentator seems to feel the need to show off how “smart” s/he is and how refined his/her tastes. I feel confident in saying that it is entirely possible to be quite intelligent, well educated and (un)comfortably into middle-age and still have disdain for some of the self-indulgent claptrap which “highbrow” critics and their slavish followers deem “art”…

  133. Well said Edwin. And if they want a non-American, non-English example well let’s talk Bergman. I’ve seen 2 of his films, both which are highly touted but I only found one worthy of appreciation, and it’s already listed above. The other, The Seventh Seal, I found to be quite horrendous. The only thing of interest were the scenes of “Death” and the knight playing chess. But yeah, if that film is “art” they can shove it where the sun don’t shine…

  134. “the more abstruse the film, the more praise is lavished upon it, as if the commentator seems to feel the need to show off how “smart” s/he is and how refined his/her tastes.”

    A remark like that is just full of flabby hot air as any other dismissive self-satisfied judgement.

    Different people like different kinds of movies. It’s wrong to cast aspersions on the sincerity of someone else’s preferences, and looks quite dumb to get pissy about movies outside one’s own DVD collection.

    You seem to feel the need to declare how “smart” you are in spite of your ordinary tastes.

    Am I wrong about that? Isn’t that exactly what you’re saying?

  135. I’ve been meaning to see Persona one of these days…is it more like Wild Strawberries or The Seventh Seal?

  136. ^
    it’s not like either one.

  137. julian the emperor

    Scott, please……I know many people on this site have been giving you a hard time for your HP fixation, but do you seriously expect to be redeemed by slashing one of the all-time greats (perhaps THE all-time great) of cinema?

    I can appreciate your enthusiasm, but focus on that, instead of randomly lashing out on anything that is beyond your grasp (or current horizon). Ok? Otherwise you are just going to annoy the hell out of a lot of people.

    Your love for HP rings true to me, don’t blow it by making stupid statements like the above…

  138. julian the emperor

    …”beyond your grasp” sounded condescending, that was not my intention. Wrong choice of words.

  139. julian the emperor

    Persona is nothing like Wild Strawberries or The Seventh Seal…but go see for yourself. To me, Persona is the pinnacle of Bergman’s decidedly modernist films. You probably won’t like it, because it lacks a narrative coherence, that would prove troublesome with your taste…but go for it, and prove me wrong:)

  140. Well, the Seventh Seal was the first I watched…and it was so terrible I wasn’t sure I wanted to give Bergman another try. But I eventually did (spurred I think by my quest at one point to watch all the Top 250 films) and I found Wild Strawberries to be an excellently made film, if not exactly my cup of tea. As for Persona…I figured that would be the response, but I was just curious if there any similarities in style or whatnot to either of the prior films I’d seen.

  141. Yes it was the wrong choice, because I believe nothing is beyond my grasp and if a film seems to be nonsense it’s an issue with the film, not myself.

  142. You’re not helping yourself at all, Scott.

    You just sound certain that you are the final arbitrator of a film’s value. You are not.

  143. “nothing is beyond my grasp and if a film seems to be nonsense it’s an issue with the film, not myself.”

    hey, where’s Edwin Drood now?
    he’s missing a good “LOL at the inherent pretentiousness”

  144. *rolleyes* Is everyone not their own final arbitrator of a film’s value?

  145. ^
    Yes, everyone is their own final arbitrator.

    that’s not what you’re saying Scott.

    You’re saying you think that because The Seventh Seal is nonsense to you, then there must be some problem with the film.

    “…if a film seems to be nonsense it’s an issue with the film, not myself.”

    No way is it your fault. (You can grasp anything!) Gotta be Bergman fucked it up.

  146. If I recall correctly Mullholland Dr. has drawn a lot of comparisons to Persona, right? Well Lynch’s film doesn’t necessarily have narrative coherence (do any of his? lol) yet I loved it (first time around anyways)

  147. Dominik

    Would love to see Brad Pitt giving an Oscar acceptance speech (anyone remember his Golden Globe speech for “Twelve Monkeys” a couple of years ago? Really funny guy)!
    But on the other hand, as much as I love the National Society, I wouldn´t draw conclusions from their votes. They are much more ambitious in their choices than the Academy members.
    That´s why I´m for example not expecting Kirsten Dunst to get nominated, but I´m very happy for her that she gets some praise for her great work in “Melancholia”!

  148. It looks like Scott is something of a celebrity, or at least a known personality, in these comment sections. So I’m honored to have been called a cockroach by him.

    Sorry, Scott. But when you say “quite a stupid response”, I’m obliged to respond in kind. I’m sure you understand. And anyway, “because they’re over 21″ was not a stupid answer. It was an accurate answer, and I’ll be happy to elaborate if you’re interested.

  149. Simon Warrasch

    Sasha i totally agree with you! I also think that Brad Pitt will win Best Actor! With 2 phenomenal moivies and 2 phenomenal performances in 1 year his peers will give him his well deserved Academy Award! He is alos one of our finest Actors working today! His remarkable work in the past include performances in movies like Seven, 12 Monkeys, Fight Club, Snatch, The Assasination of Jasse James by the Coward Robert Ford, Curious Case of Benjamnin Button, Inglourious Basterds and now The Tree of Life and Moneyball! His biggest competition is – in my opinion – Jean Dujardin for “The Artist”! We will see but i’m 100% sure that George Clooney will not win! But, we will see!

  150. Tero Heikkinen

    I don’t like Melancholia much, but there’s nothing wrong with that film’s quality (since it gets a lot of praise). The problem is in me.

  151. oy

  152. I’m still of the opinion that if Ampas nominates Fassbender for Shame, he’ll win. Pitt does seem to be picking up speed. Dujardin was excellent as well. I didn’t see J. Edgar yet (tuesday!), so I’ll withhold judgment on the old age makeup, does seem like the kind of role Ampas might really go for. I’m seeing Tinker on wednesday and I’m very excitied to see Oldman get the silver. It would be nice to see him nominated for ONE oscar before he really is an old man.
    Also, while Chastain or Spencer seem to be the favorites for supporting actress, I’d watch out for Woodley in an upset. I don’t think her’s was the best supporting performance by an actress of the year but it was very good and surprising

  153. Edwin Drood

    @Ryan – I said that I believe it’s possible to both be intelligent and to find many of those films touted as “art” to be overrated; my post never referred directly to my own intelligence. I take exception, however, to the definition of my tastes as “ordinary,” which implies that others (presumably those who typically laud “arthouse” fare) are possessed of “extraordinary” taste by comparison. Such a characterization is suggestive of the very sort of snobbery to which my original post was reacting. I might also point out that I haven’t mentioned a single film in particular which I do or do not appreciate; my tastes are actually fairly eclectic…

    Despite the dozens of posts attacking Scott, I don’t see any by you referring to those who are dismissive of his taste in film as “full of flabby hot air” (though a number of them certainly would fit that description in my estimation). You remained silent on the topic until you chose to characterize a defense of him as such. I can only assume from this that you are squarely of the same opinion as those criticizing him; further, your choice of words suggest that you are actually angered by my defense of him…

    @ Scott – don’t let the film snobs get you down :) I agree that you should continue viewing all kinds of film but clearly you are (and have been) doing just that. However, there’s certainly nothing wrong with being underwhelmed by some of them; your “current horizons” are just fine…

  154. Edwin Drood

    On the other hand, Scott, you might want to avoid calling people “cockroach” – and statements such as “nothing is beyond my grasp and if a film seems to be nonsense it’s an issue with the film and not myself.” It was wrong on my part to say that your current horizons are sufficient – there’s always room for greater awareness on each of our part…

    @Tero – do I know you from elsewhere by another moniker?

  155. I think Ryan assumes that every participant here is intelligent (unless one’s proven time and time again that he/she’s stupid). But as the tagline goes, “It’s a matter of taste.”

  156. I’ve actually defended Scott’s right to his own opinion on more than one occasion.

    I don’t go on a search and destroy mission to target every comment that’s out of line. Some rub me the wrong way worse that others.

    I didn’t call you by name (so I’m not singling you out.) I’m using that kind of comment as an example of an attitude that I think is insulting.

    We can talk about the relative value of movies and even look askance (or in horror) at each other’s tastes. But it really bugs me to hear how a critics’ group is “trying to be hip” or some readers are “trying to show off their refined tastes”

    How about consider the possibility that the Central Ohio Critics ARE HIP.

    How about allowing that some readers actually DO HAVE REFINED TASTE. Without sneering about it being a falsified affectation.

    Nobody comes at you and Scott telling you your taste is all a big circus act, that it’s an intentional clown show to celebrate the commonplace, “Trying To Act Like” you’re regular Joes.

    That’s why I sometimes call out those kinds of dispersions. We can disagree about the movies we like without insulting each other’s integrity.

  157. julian the emperor

    The problem for Pitt at this point, is the fact that both his New York and NS win was for BOTH Moneyball and Tree OF Life. I don’t think he would have won any precursor solely on the basis of Moneyball. So when you think about it, that hardly makes him a frontrunner (at least not until the SAG Awards goes his way).
    I agree, though, that several factors favor him in competition with the others: he is a superstar (he would loathe that description, I’m sure) who have never won an Oscar (which is Clooney’s big disadvantage when up against PItt and to a lesser extent, DiCaprio), he is a previous nominee, he is very well respected within the business, he is a serious, dedicated personality etc. And when the nomination for Moneyball is secured (and he is snubbed for TOL in supporting), maybe people who liked TOL will cast a vote for him (on the grounds that a win for Moneyball is still a reward for his turn in TOL as well).

    Still believe Dujardin is the most likely winner, though. The Artist is such a strong vehicle and his turn so likable that it will be hard for voters to resist.

  158. Craig Z

    I regret sticking up for Scott………

    He seems to genuinely think film opinion isn’t subjective.

    He once tried to blame his behavior on Aspergers but I’m starting to wonder if it isn’t some kind of autism….

  159. Tero Heikkinen

    Edwin: I don’t think so. I only use my real name, and this is the only English language movie site I care to write comments to. Sure there are music sites where I use a nickname.

  160. I think someone, in good faith even, consider all the roles in The Tree of Life to be supporting rolls. I would think that would be very rare for a movie.

  161. I can only assume from this that you are squarely of the same opinion as those criticizing him; further, your choice of words suggest that you are actually angered by my defense of him…

    I don’t think Scott should be a target of blanket criticism as he often is. I’ve suggested before than people lay off Scott and OCO300 — because constantly browbeating them for their taste is just as tedious as their constant harping on their preferences.

    Edwin Drood, you just had the misfortune to post your comment at the wrong moment. We all get fed up with stuff. What you said wasn’t the last straw — it was just the closest.
    ;-)

    and yes, I can put up with Scott to a point, but his arrogant stance this morning has became indefensible right around the time you entered the conversation.

  162. @ Craig Z

    I haven’t put any thought into whether or not my list is conventional. I couldn’t care less if someone were to think it was conventional, and tell me so. But if someone were to look at a list of my favourite films and to accuse me of being dishonest and including unconventional films for the sake of it, I’d be offended. And I’m not trying too hard. But I don’t think Scott is aware of a great deal of high quality filmmaking purely because of the fact that it is foreign, or under-the-radar, and his comments about pretentiousness, particularly in regard to The Tree of Life, don’t help his cause.

    And I don’t think what could be wrong with autism in this context…or any other…

  163. Craig Z

    Don’t worry about Scott, Ryan. He apparently already has the entire world already figured out.

  164. Craig Z

    Paddy, people can only rank what they have seen

  165. Nate, that’s not rare at all. Consider Syriana, there is only one character there that could pose as lead — George Clooney’s, and he won the Oscar for best supporting actor. Crash, Slumdog Millionaire and now Margin Call try to use this tactic to commit category fraud.

  166. Also, I feel like people Aren’t talking about Best Supporting Actor anymore. A few months ago there was a lively debate between Brooks and Plummer. The debate seems to have fizzled; does it seem like Albert Brooks has it locked up? Best Supporting Actor has, seems to me, been one of the most predictable categories the past few years. I don’t mean that in a bad way. Maybe ‘overwhelmingly clear who the winner would be going into the ceremony and that person deserving it’ would be a better way of putting it. I feel like every year since I saw Javier Bardem in No Country for Old Men, I would go to the theater and come out saying. That’s the one, thats the guy that wins Best Supporting Actor. And not because I have such super taste, I think a lot of people felt that way. Bardem, Ledger, Waltz, Bale. They killed it, they each had fantastic roles and they each killed it. I felt that way about Brooks coming out of Drive, although I don’t think it quite compares to the previous four.

  167. Craig Z

    Nate, pretty much the opposite it seems. Plummer is looking like he has got it locked up ever since Brooks missed the SAG nod

  168. James, I said Tree of Life could do it in good faith, and that’s what I think is rare. It was also slightly tongue in cheek because I was implying that the universe is in the lead role. Which is a philosophical conversation I’m not sure I want to get into today. lol.

  169. julian the emperor

    Yeah, I think Plummer is the most secure winner in the race right now in all of the major categories (including best picture where The Artist seems a sure bet as well). Even the screenplay categories will be 50/50: The Artist vs. Midnight in Paris in original and Moneyball vs. Descendants in adapted.
    Lead actor and lead actress are both three horse races right now and the same goes for supporting actress (Chastain, Bejo, Spencer).
    I can’t remember a year where so many of the main awards have been up for grabs as this season. Refreshing. Cinematography could easily elude TOL as well (even though it has been very dominant with the critics’ groups), it’s not difficult to envision the Academy going for something more “safe” like Hugo, The Artist or, hell, even War Horse (if that is not a dead horse, by now, awards-wise)

  170. In my mind it will be Brad and Meryl.

  171. Craig Z

    After what happened last year I’m gonna wait til after the guilds before I say how secure the Artist is for best picture.

  172. Nate & Craig Z,

    I’m in the teeny tiny minority who feels Albert Brooks nearly ruined Drive. He took me right out of the movie every time he opened his mouth.

    I don’t care if he stabbed an eyeball with a salad fork, pitch fork, or a fork lift. The guy doesn’t come across as threatening to me. Wouldn’t have been surprised if Michelle Williams had smashed his skull.

    Not to mention, it’s annoying that he’s been acting like he’s anointed and entitled to the nomination.

    But hey, lots of critics are wowed by him. Thousands, maybe millions of moviegoers think he’s the cat’s pajamas.

    it’s one of a dozen things this year that are totally beyond my understanding. Just not feeling it. I wish he’d go away. I can name 20 better supporting actor performances this year — heck, a couple of better ones in Drive.

    So you see why it almost feels pointless to discuss. I’m prepared for the worst.

    Some years we get a Javier Bardem. Some years we get Jack Palance.

    Maybe Albert Brooks will do pushups or pilates or something for us.

    I like the guy! Just hate him in Drive.

    (Brooks has been kissing up to Guy Lodge all year — but this morning Guy threw Brooks under the bus for Plummer.)

  173. julian the emperor

    I agree with Ryan on Brooks. I’ve stated this earlier and will be happy to repeat it: Brooks is the weak link of an otherwise flawless movie.

  174. Craig Z

    Gotta disagree with you on Brooks, Ryan. Loved him!

    Cranston was great in the same movie too.

  175. I agree with you Ryan too. Brooks did absolutely nothing for me in Drive. I thought he was totally miscast. Cranston was way better.

  176. Brooks excelled at getting angry, even when he was not supposed to be angry.

  177. I know, I know. I feel crummy for being such a grouch about it.

    For me, Cranston, Perlman, Oscar Isaac*, Kaden Leos** were all more convincing and had greater impact in Drive

    * Standard (the husband)
    ** Benicio (the kid)

  178. James, Brooks anger is nothing we haven’t seen before, right? Hell, he’s always cross, touchy, prickly. That’s his schtick. Only thing different this time is He’s Got A Fork And He’s Not Afraid to Use It.

  179. Craig Z

    Booooooo!!

    :)

  180. I rather liked Albert Brooks in Drive, although I don’t think it was as well-acted a film as many give it credit for. There were no weak links for me, but I didn’t like Bryan Cranston’s character. That, for me, brought the film down significantly. It was 10/10 aside from that character. He did a good job, but it didn’t work for me at all.

  181. but yay! Drive!
    My #1 favorite film of the year.

    I wish Refn would be nominated. I wish Drive could be nominated for Best Picture, Best Cinematography, Best Editing, Best Sound, Best Production Design. Best Actor for Gosling.

    The problem, as meticulously crafted as is it, only Brooks and Refn are “showy”.

    ** here’s something we don’t see often — rare IMDb Top 250 cluster:

    198. Deathly Hallows, Pt 2
    199. Hugo
    200. Ratatouille
    201. Drive
    202. Dragon Tattoo

    only other films from 2011 are
    98. A Separation
    139. Warrior

  182. I guess so Ryan. His schtick worked really well though in Mother (1996), terrific film where Debbie Reynolds was pitch perfect.

  183. Not disagreeing with you at all, James. It’s his signature attitude. Petulant, frustrated, peevish, — not the kind of personality who should be carrying a loaded gun around.

    :-)

  184. “Nobody comes at you and Scott telling you your taste is all a big circus act, that it’s an intentional clown show to celebrate the commonplace, “Trying To Act Like” you’re regular Joes.”

    Except I’m not a regular Joe, lol. I talk about movies with everyone and I know very few who are as obsessed with film as I am, with such an eclectic mix of variety to what they watch, spanning almost all decades and genres.

  185. julian the emperor

    “I talk about movies with everyone and I know very few who are as obsessed with film as I am, with such an eclectic mix of variety to what they watch, spanning almost all decades and genres.”

    Wow, Scott. You are in a self-congratulatory mood today! (…slightly shaking my head in disbelief…)

  186. Scott, that may be so. However, the majority of regular commenters on this site are much more knowledgeable than you seem to be. The arrogance in your last comment perplexes me; I don’t know how anyone could call your above lists eclectic. Certainly not anyone who is at least ‘as obsessed with film’ as you are.

    I would say you’re obsessed with the film you expose yourself to. I wouldn’t say you’re obsessed with film.

  187. What, just because I also listed films like American Pie and Major League? Well you see, I’m not afraid to admit I like more then highbrow quality :p

  188. Sure, I haven’t seen many foreign films, but I live in America for fuck sakes!

  189. steve50

    AHHH! “American Eclectic.” Kind of like preferring filet ‘o fish over a big mac.

    It’s a big world out here, Scott – you should give it a go.

  190. Top 10 American Films

    It Happened One Night (1934, Frank Capra)
    Casablanca (1942, Michael Curtiz)
    Rear Window (1954, Alfred Hitchcock)
    The Apartment (1960, Billy Wilder)
    The Graduate (1967, Mike Nichols)
    Raging Bull (1980, Martin Scorsese)
    The Shawshank Redemption (1994, Frank Darabont)
    Saving Private Ryan (1998, Steven Spielberg)
    Memento (2000, Christopher Nolan)
    The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (2001-03, Peter Jackson)

  191. steve50

    Solid list, Scott. Never was a Casablanca fan (gasp), but understand the inclusion. It would be tough to narrow down to ten, I would think. Funny how comedies fade from the list after the 60s. Maybe not so funny because we’ve lost our narrative sense of humor and rely on sketch/gag giggles now.

  192. I live in Northern Ireland, Scott. We get far, far fewer non-English language and independent films than you do, I guarantee you. There’s one arthouse cinema here, with two screens. And I like more than highbrow quality films too. I could name dozens of pretty lowbrow films which I happen to like very much.

    You live in the best country in the world for international cinema.

  193. Yes well I’ve got a number of favorite comedies from recent years Steve, but few are a patch on the classics. It was really hard to leave off Bringing Up Baby, The Lady Eve, Some Like It Hot, and a number of others.

    Unfortunately not able to think of anything in about the last 10 years (in any genre) to merit inclusion either, although The Departed, Children of Men, The Hurt Locker, and Inception are in the recesses of my mind and perhaps a few years down the road one of them would creep on.

  194. steve50

    How about You Can’t Take It With You (’38) – can’t miss with Jean Arthur – or City Lights (’41). If you want a light comedy about filmmaking – Day for Night(’73, I think). Definitely funny stuff.

  195. So happy for Melancholia and Kirsten!! Now if only Oscar would wake up to the excellence of this film

  196. Yeah, You Can’t Take It With You is another hard exclusion. City Lights is a bit meh, watched it recently, as well as Modern Times. Really don’t think silent films are my cup of tea, lol…but I’m trying to prepare for when The Artist hits theatres.

  197. steve50

    Give Day for Night a try, Scott – we’ll get you converted to foreign films, if it kills us.

  198. The best foreign film I’ve seen so far has been Les Diaboliques. One that really intrigues me is Cinema Paradiso but I haven’t been able to find it…

  199. I can only say one thing:
    After living with A Separation for a week now and continually thinking about it, the best award that I’ve
    seen this year is giving it Best Screenplay. That and a snausage for Uggie. I didn’t ‘love’ 2011 so much, I guess.

  200. “I haven’t seen many foreign films, but I live in America for fuck sakes!”

    There’s Netflix. There’s Amazon. There’s Turner Classic Movies. There’s your local public library, for god’s sake, if it’s decent enough.

    How do you think the rest of us Americans get to watch foreign language films? By purchasing airplane tickets?

  201. steve50

    Scott
    Les Diaboliques – Simone Signoret, one of the 5 best screen actresses, ever. Try Army of Shadows, which was made in the late 60s but was never released in N America until a couple of year ago. If you like Clouzot, Wages of Fear has some good suspense (truck full of explosives on a rickety bridge, anyone?)

    If you find Cinema Paradiso, go for the theatrical version, not the extended cut. There is a reason they have film editors and the long version takes the punch out of the ending.

  202. Paddy M and cc, that wasn’t the exactly what I meant by the America comment..

  203. @scott – what exactly did you mean by the American comment? That you were born in North America and prefer to watch movies made in North America?? Just throwing it out there because you forgot to clarify what you meant, and chose to waste your time, and everyone else’s by saying ‘that’s not exactly what you meant’ without clarification. Is it a secret? Are you 7? Did you burn your toast?

  204. Tero Heikkinen

    Get ready for a shitstorm if you meant something like: “I don’t need to watch foreign films, cause I live in a country with great film business. Plus I hate to read movies”. On IMDb you would see a lot of this, and it’s the very definition why a lot of people consider Americans to be ignorant.

    BUT you have already watched quite a bit of foreign films. So I don’t think this is the case.

    I would imagine that something like Cinema Paradiso would be quite easy to find in USA.

    Someone already stated that USA is one of the luckiest countries to get world cinema. If not THE luckiest. Sure, we have it good here in Finland, but we sure don’t have cities (NYC and LA) where ALL high quality films get at least a one week’s theatrical run. In many cases we have to wait until it’s on DVD, but we do get everything eventually. Something like Cinema Paradiso would be a top-seller on blu-ray when it gets released.

    Do you live in a big city where you have theaters for foreign films/US independent? Would you still rather go to the nearest multiplex to see this weekend’s biggest thing?

    Makes me think of the “Belly Epoh-queue”-scene in The Fighter.

  205. Well yes sorta…haven’t you heard that to Americans the rest of the world doesn’t really exist? :p But seriously, why spend my time watching a bunch of films in a language I don’t understand when are plenty of great films in English working out just fine? If it ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it…

    Now I’m not saying I’m completely closed off to the idea of non-English films…obviously I’m not, because I’ve already listed a number I’ve seen, but to indulge in them would be silly, unless I happen to find they are so superior, which I haven’t yet. So I’ll watch one occasionally, but it should by common sense that an American would watch largely American and/or English language films, if no other reason then he doesn’t need to look outside his borders because of the vast availability.

  206. *of films in his native language

  207. Tero Heikkinen

    “Haven’t you heard that to Americans the rest of the world doesn’t really exist?”

    I kind of refuse to believe this. Or… you always seem to find a non-existing country to bomb.

    When “talkies” came around, some feared that movies were no longer international. People like Chaplin were right about USA.

  208. Ignorance is bliss…

  209. In addition to the aforementioned Persona and Cinema Paradiso these are the others on my radar…

    Seven Samurai
    The 400 Blows
    The Lives of Others
    La Dolce Vita
    Breathless
    M
    The Wages of Fear
    The Rules of the Game
    Y Tu Mama Tambien
    Amores Perros
    City of God
    3 Colors
    8 and 1/2

  210. Tero Heikkinen

    I think that at least Breathless, 3 Colors (all three?) and 8 and 1/2 will bore you to death.

    Where’s Let the Right One In on your list? That’s as accessible as anything from Hollywood.

  211. The perhaps hilariously ironic thing is…I kinda want to move to a different country, lol (since America has been going to shit)

  212. Tero, I’m about as much of a fan of vampire movies as I am zombies…and looking at this year’s film prospects, has Brad Pitt really dropped so low as to be in a zombie movie?

  213. Sorry, that came out wrong. I didn’t mean to imply he’s been dropping…but I would think any self respecting actor would turn down such a film role.

  214. Tero Heikkinen

    My American friend took Finnish citizenship (=dual). Every time he goes on holiday to America, he gets this weird feeling that he is no longer welcome. Even at the airport he must show his American passport (as opposed to EU) to avoid trouble.

    “Love it or leave it – for good.” (That’s how it should say, for real).

  215. Tero Heikkinen

    Let the Right One In is hardly a vampire film. You’ll see. Let Me In IS a vampire film.

  216. I’m thinking Sweden might be nice…

  217. Tero Heikkinen

    You are into blonds :)

  218. They’re both vampire films. One is really good and one is ok.

  219. You avoid foreign language films because watching English-language films is easier? It’s almost as if you crave the abuse you get on this site, Scott – each one of your comments is more infuriating than the last. Tero said that one of your statements represented why a lot of people consider Americans to be ignorant. I can’t disagree. Your horizons are limited by your own ignorance towards the majority of international cinema.

  220. Craig Z

    Ryan, I love Drive too! One of only three film this year I really loved. The other two being Hugo and Midnight in Paris. If I gave ratings they would probably be my only 10/10’s.

    I used to for HP 7.2. When I saw it in theaters I was smitten but I bought it on Blu Ray when it came out. Watched it once and lost interest. Not as good as I thought it was initionally. I think the emotional high wore off (I watched all the other HP movies that week and was really in the mood). It still deserves more recognition than it has gotten though.

    Anyways, Go Hugo, Drive and Midnight in Paris

    (It should be noted that I haven’t seen The Artist, A Seperation or The Descendants yet, which I am really looking foreward to, to name some big ones. Haven’t seen Melencholia either but I don’t plan to. Cant stand Von Trier but to each his own)

  221. Craig Z

    Paddy, to be honest. Most people just don’t have the time to see a bunch of foriegn or obscure or old films.

  222. Craig Z

    I don’t know if Scott is one of them but I don’t think it is cool to bash someone for not seeing as many films as you have. There are more important things.

  223. I’m not bashing Scott for not having seen as many films as me. In fact, he may well have seen more than me. There’s no use in suggesting that people don’t have the time to see foreign films, though. If you’ve got the time to watch shit American films, you’ve got the time to watch quality foreign films.

  224. steve50

    We have to cut Scott some slack. I have no doubt that his viewing history will expand and catch up to his enthusiasm, which I hope he never loses. I envy his position of discovery right now – my late 20s/early 30s were the best years of my life for finding and watching movies. And that was before home video and the internet.

  225. Tero Heikkinen

    There’s a treasure box waiting to be opened. I think Scott already has the key to it.

    I remember when I started to watch all the classics. It took a decade (of heavy-using) or so, but it was great. It’s still great to revisit these titles (especially on blu-ray which I own by the hundreds; I only collect great films or absolute masterpieces). Most films are viewable only once – if that.

    There are still hundreds of classics – or at least semi-classics – that I never got around to. Those I can only see on TV really, cause no-one cares to distribute them on DVD/BD.

  226. Tero Heikkinen

    I also had to go through all the trouble to find them – before the internet. But I had VHS and Laser Disc to help me.

  227. Tero Heikkinen

    I also joined a few film clubs that showed 2-3 pictures a week on a big screen. These were all titles from 20’s-60’s, so I saw stuff like Grand Illusion and Seven Samurai in theaters.

  228. Bill the Bear,

    I’ve been fearing that may happen to Jessica Chastain for some time now. With five solid supporting performances in one year . . . what DO you choose her for? Personally, I think her performance in Take Shelter was the best of the lot (and I thought she was actually more of a lead actress in that movie anyway). Splitting the vote for a performer who gives great performances in great films has happened before. Sidney Poitier failed to get a Best Actor nomination in 1967 (“In the Heat of the Night”, “To Sir With Love”, and “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner”). The votes split three ways and he ended up empty handed.

    Chastain has a similar, unique problem this year. Votes could be split FIVE ways and she could end up empty handed. And it’s not as if she doesn’t have any competition out there. Shailene Woodley, Octavia Spencer, Charlotte Gainsborough, Marion Cotillard, Vanessa Redgrave, Judi Dench, Rachel McAdams, Melissa McCarthy, hell even Viola Davis could end up in supporting (she’s won two critics awards in that category – and only one in lead), thereby eliminating the split votes in five films. It could happen.

    While everyone says Chastain has a lock for a nomination . . . I think the big surprise could be she doesn’t obtain one . . . and only because of the multiplicity of good performances in five different films and because she has such strong competition from other actresses.

  229. One more thing. I was a great supporter of a great overlooked performance from Olivia Williams in “The Ghost Writer” last year. The National Society of Film Critics voted its Best Supporting Actress to her most deservedly that year, and I’ve been a big fan of that organization ever since. Their motto is right . . . they get it right. I like the list they’ve chosen this year as well.

    The screenplay award for “A Separation” is particularly astute.

    Also nice to see the love for Gary Oldman and Patton Oswalt on making the top 3.

    Brad Pitt winning the New York Film Critics and now NSFC for “Moneyball” makes me want to see this film now.

  230. I don’t understand why MELANCHOLIA, easily one of the best films of the year, receives so much acclaim, yet one of its most important elements is always criminally ignored: the music.

    Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde prelude is used practically every five minutes, yet with the exception of the Wikipedia entry, this is rarely touched upon by critics and viewers.

    The piece, though used slightly incorrectly (as T+I is all about eroticism and human sublime transcendence, rather than depression or melancholia), virtually makes the film.

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