Last Call Oscar Voters – Top Ten Best Anything

Still from Anna Karenina

Oscar voters have today to mail their ballots.  Tomorrow is a holiday. Then they have the 2nd and the 3rd and that was all she wrote. It feels crushingly early, way too early, way too soon to shove so many objects into that tiny hole.  Most of them, in fact, have long since been turned in. But here are ten anythings from me.  Hannibal did it to amuse himself.

1. The score in Cloud Atlas – Moving, brilliant beyond words.
2. James Spader huffing and puffing, sweaty and spent, in Lincoln.
3. Jessica Chastain saying “I’m not that girl who fucks” in Zero Dark Thirty.
4. The unusually beautiful costumes in Anna Karenina
5. Life of Pi’s use of 3-D just to remind us about the simple beauty of rain.
6. Gollum coming to vivid life in The Hobbit.
7.  Samuel L. Jackson laughing at everything Leonardo DiCaprio says in Django Unchained.
8.  Hans Zimmer, once again, out of the park in The Dark Knight Rises
9. Jack Fisk and David Crank bringing the era of familiar photographs of a time gone by in The Master
10. The natural light of Janusz Kaminski’s frame in Lincoln.

I could go on, and on, and on and on. But 2012 has been one of the best years for film I’ve seen in a while. 2010 is a close second. Here’s to hoping this year’s winner, whatever it may be, might just really be the best film of the year.

Happy New Year dear readers. Thanks for hanging in with Ryan and me through another hard core season replete with too many ads, server shut-downs, commenter wars, and every other crazy piece of our Oscar puzzle.  May 2013 be grand and full of, you know, that thing with feathers.

What are your ten anythings?

Best Moments in Film in 2012

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Top Tens of the Top Tens

54 Comments

  1. December 31, 2012

    Unquestionably, 2012 had a lot of great films- Argo, Lincoln, Life of Pi, The Master, Amour, Beasts, Django, Silver Linings, Moonrise Kingdom, TDKR, The Hunger Games, (and I hear ZDT’s supposed to be really great) and a crapload of indie films that almost emerged fully into the mainstream. But I still think 2010 was better. I mean, since when have critics, the Oscars, and the general public every been so closely aligned? The Social Network, Inception, The King’s Speech, Black Swan, True Grit, Winter’s Bone, Toy Story 3… all nominees for Best Picture. I also feel like 2008 rose a bit higher- The Dark Knight, Slumdog Millionaire, Frost/Nixon, Benjamin Button, Doubt, Gran Torino, WALL-E… the list goes one.

    I know I’m being kind of nitpicky, though. 2012 really was a great year for movies, and I don’t think I’ll be too upset whether any of this year’s typical circuit-trotters win. Just let’s not have a repeat of last year.

  2. Jesse Crall
    December 31, 2012

    Sasha’s #1, 2, and 7 would make my top 10.

    ALSO:

    -The babe in the department store waltzing around with her fur coat in The Master
    -Chastain in her black aviators, ready to rock and roll
    -James Gandolfini delivering 3 terrific performances this year
    -Poor Ray Liotta going through an immense amount of vivid punishment in Killing Them Softly
    -Deakins lighting Skyfall up like billion dollar casino
    -The honest, earnest, and touching vibes Perks of Being a Wallflower gives off
    -Emily Blunt giving Looper a whole new dimension in its 2nd half.

  3. December 31, 2012

    Happy New Year – Hugh Jackman with one look in first scene conveying anguish, fear, loathing, and resolution with one line, “My name is Jean Val Jean” that gets almost echoed half way through with one look and one note as he sings, “Who am I – 24601″. Acting at its highest level even if you don’t like the film.

  4. ChrisFlick
    December 31, 2012

    Top of my head:

    The sheer pleasure of the intelligence and structure of the Lincoln screenplay. Sally Field and Tommy Lee Jones meet on the reception line. Fantastic.

    Matthew McC disproving everything I ever thought about him in all this 2012 roles.

    The look if not the content of Hyde Park on Hudson.

    Scarlett J doing something rather nice with Janet Leigh in Hitchcock.

    Beasts of the Southern Wild, start to finish. Thanks for extolling it’s many virtues; got me to the theater.

    Ewan McGregor unexpectedly stealing The Impossible just like that.

    Helen Hunt’s return to form in The Sessions. More please.

    The physical production in toto of Anna Karenina, the theatrical conceit really worked for me.

    What a treat Skyfall was.

    How literally I took Life of Pi, until reminded of the allegory possibility. Oddly enough what chased me from the book.

  5. Kasia
    December 31, 2012

    My ten anythings this year (I haven’t seen a lot of the frontrunners yet…):

    1. Emmanuelle Riva… in pretty much every second she is on screen in Amour.
    2. Philip Seymour Hoffman singing to Joaquin Phoenix in The Master.
    3. Seeing The Hobbit after years and years of waiting.
    4. Cloud Atlas – weird and flawed, but still probably the best experience I’ve had in the movies.
    5. Michael Fassbender’s head in Prometheus.
    6. Cinematography in The Master – pure perfection.
    7. Javier Bardem messing with Daniel Craig – best villain scene in a Bond movie.
    8. The Intouchables – because it moved me.
    9. Marina Abramovic documentary – because it showed me there was more to her than I’d thought.
    10. The Avengers – because it was so cool to see them all in one movie.

    Happy New Year :)

  6. Perry M
    December 31, 2012

    Here it goes:

    - The chemistry between the actors in Your Sisters Sister
    - The score for Cloud Atlas
    - The enthralling visuals in Life of Pi
    - Sally Field and Tommy Lee Jones at the reception in Lincoln
    - Every moment of Amour
    - The scattering ashes footage from How to Survive a Plague (moved me to weeping)
    - The way Jennifer Lawrence seems to light up and completely inhabit every frame of film she was in this year.
    - The lighting/cinematography in Skyfall
    - The awkward (and enchanted) brilliance of Moonrise Kingdom
    - The way editing, score, cinematography and directing all work together so seamlessly in Argo.

  7. steve50
    December 31, 2012

    2012 was a great year and it will be a chore to have to nominate any clunkers (although it wouldn’t be Oscar without them)

    1) Anything from Cloud Atlas would be nice – break from the herd and acknowledge one of the most entertaining films of the year.

    2) Don’t let Denis Levant scare you – he probably doesn’t always behave like that and won’t spoil the party if you nominate him.

    3) Ditto Joaquin

    4) Remember which directors met the challenges they faced (and which did not)

    5) Spread the love this year. No single film deserves a baker’s dozen nominations at the expense of other worthy recipients.

    That’s all I got. Happy New Year to all of you!

  8. December 31, 2012

    1. Thure Lindhardt in Keep the Lights On – instant heartache-inducing, beautiful film
    2. Production and costume design of Anna Karenina – world-class, among most stunning I’ve seen
    3. Visual design of Life of Pi – defies description
    4. Screenplay of Tabu – beguiling film, subtly, sensitively written
    5. Score of The Hobbit – don’t forget Howard Shore just because you’ve been there, done that, it’s still exceptional
    6. Sound design of Prometheus – astoundingly detailed
    7. Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva in Amour – above and beyond
    8. Denis Lavant in Holy Motors – not on make-up or song shortlists, don’t let Cooper get past Lavant
    9. Score of The Master – Jonny Greenwood got cut last time, don’t do it again
    10. Elle Fanning in Ginger & Rosa – so intuitive, one of the year’s best

    These aren’t so much my ten best, more a selection of the ten choices from my favourite lists of the year, those which I think either need all the help they can get or could be in danger of not fulfilling their promise.

  9. Christophe
    December 31, 2012

    -Strange Love from Frankenweenie – a creepy cool song just like the movie
    -Wes Anderson for best director – ’cause he can do so much with barely $15mil, no need for cgi, only a very creative use of arts & craft
    -or Tom Hooper for best director – ’cause you know he’s always the life of the party you’re gonna miss him at the nominees’ luncheon
    - Pirates! band of misfits and from up on poppy hill for best animated feature – both fresh and full of heart
    -Michael fassbender for best supporting actor – ’cause you can’t ignore him forever – last year votes were split between him and his own penis, don’t make the same mistake twice
    -Frankenweenie for best picture – ’cause it’s really THAT good
    -Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter for best adapted screenplay – sure it’s ridiculous but at least it’s not a bore (looking at you kushner)
    -Ted for best original screenplay – sure it’s a depraved rip off of calvin & hobbes but you’ve got to acknowledge your presenter seth mcfarlane somewhere, it might as well be there
    -anne hathaway for best actress – she might not have much screen time but she’s definitely the main draw for les mis, you know you can pull a winslet any time, this is the time! that way you won’t have to face the dilemma of having to choose between chastain and lawrence.

  10. December 31, 2012

    My ten happiest things about 2012 at the movies

    1. On second viewing of THE DARK KNIGHT RISES, seeing Batman and John Blake fighting side by side and knowing who he truly was. In Nolan We Trust.
    2. Recognizing what CLOUD ATLAS is now instead of decades from now
    3. Seeing all of our movies friends in all the great unsung ensembles
    4. Being aware of all of the craftsman who came together to make the most spectacular of years at the movies
    5. Having nothing but a good time with an immensely rewatchable movie with wall to wall music starring truly talented singers and actors, ROCK OF AGES
    6. Settling in for a stay in Middle Earth and knowing it’s not over yet
    7. Watching childhood idols prove that megawatt star power is not expendable
    8. That Ponyboy stayed gold long enough to save the day for Spider-man
    9. Quentin Tarantino laying waste to the naysayers
    10. The thought that it’s possible, with the filmmakers we have working now, that movies could get even better than they were in 2012. It’s not likely, but possible. :)

    As 2012 ends my favorite ten films are in order: Cloud Atlas, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Dark Knight Rises, Rock of Ages, Django Unchained, Looper, Savages, Arbitrage, Lawless, Get the Gringo

    The hoity-toity ones are further down my list but I’m grateful for them too. ;)

  11. PJ
    December 31, 2012

    I hope Oscar voters don’t forget Perks! Screenplay, Best supporting categories for Miller and Watson!

    Moonrise Kingdom – Best picture!

    Joaquin Phoenix!

    Rise of the Guardians for animated film. Usually Dreamworks doesn’t need help but since it bombed, gotta mention it.

    And one final wish: Please don’t let Lincoln sweep everything! There wer elots of good films this year!

  12. December 31, 2012

    From the bottle of my heart:

    07 Movies and performances in it:

    The Amazing Spider-Man
    Amour
    Argo
    The Hunger Games
    The Master
    The Perks of Being a Wallflower

    And 03 performances, beyond its movies

    Hunt in The Sessions
    Holland in The Impossible
    Watts in The Impossible

    All they put a smile upon my face. :)

  13. December 31, 2012

    Oops, I include now the 7th movie, Life of Pi. :)

  14. John
    December 31, 2012

    1–2012 will be a year in which the stuff Oscar accepted was actually the best stufff we could all agree upon. Last year, that was not the case. If LES MIS, ARGO, LINCOLN, 0 DARK 30, AND SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK are the top 5, then I will say that’s a pretty good group.
    2–Grand finale of THE AVENGERS. On the one hand, this was one of the silliest action finales in tentpole history. But that Joss Whedon proved with at least 4 out of 7 Buffy season finales,he can get us engaged in mass chaos over otherwise silly–scratch that–fantastical sounding apocalypses.
    3–Hitchcock directing the audiences screams like a symphony in the lobby of the premiere screening of PSYCHO.
    4–HUNGER GAMES and BRAVE finally give my niece a pair of heroines that actually do stuff, unlike the bulk oif those damned Disney princesses she’s so enamoured of!
    5–LES MISERABLES, HITCHCOCK, ARGO, LINCOLN achieved that rare feat of convincing me I’d gotten in a time machine and gone back intime. (MEN IN BLACK 3, you failed on that account! Never once believed I was in 1969!) Quentin had me for awhile, but I wish he’d actually told his perfectly good story without trying to turn it into someone else’s movie from the 1960s.
    6–The writers/director of SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED took the most cynical, bleak genre ever (the indie hipster comedy)and gave it the most ridiculously awe-inspring, fantically gleeful ending possible.
    7–DREDD, JACK REACHER, and LOCKOUT brought back the dumb-ass action movies of the early 90s… I didn’t realize that I’d missed them so much!
    8. I’m not the biggest LES MIS fan, but I HATE musical theatre because it usually employs the worst acting known to man. So God bless Tom Hooper that he actually wanted acting in his movie!
    9. The makers of 21 JUMP STREET and THE HUNGER GAMES took concepts that did not need them to work hard in order to make money and did every thing possible to make something worthwhile.
    10. Richard Gere and Matthew McConnaughey finally got decent roles. Scarlett Johanson, who hasn’t had a decent role since 2005, pulled another 2003 and nabbed two money parts (as did Anne HAthaway and Jennifer Lawrence).

  15. JMC
    December 31, 2012

    1. The score of Cloud Atlas – I’d also mention the Visual Effects, Costumes, and Production Design…while I’m at it, the performances of Cloud Atlas – Doona Bae at the interview table, Bae and Sturgess together (Not to mention all the others in the ensemble, of course)

    2. The plane crash in “Flight.” I’ve never experienced a more tense cinematic experience.

    3. Keira Knightly and Steve Carell looking at each other as the screen fades to white at the end of “Seeking a Friend For the End of the World”

    4. Selma Hayek chewing up the screen in “Savages”

    5. Tom Wilkinson playing cricket…and sitting on the swing in tears…in “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.”

    6. Jennifer Connelly’s stellar performance in the otherwise ridiculed “Virginia”

    7. Sally Field’s tiny hand tremors in “Lincoln”

    8. Siegel begrudgingly looking at the camera talking not so lovingly about his wife, Jackie, in “Queen of Versailles.”

    9. Bill Murray and Frances McDormand arguing in “Moonrise Kingdom.” “Counselor.”

    10. Javier Bardem stroking the cool Daniel Craig’s thigh in “Skyfall.”

    Haven’t seen: “Amour,” “Zero Dark Thirty,” “Rust and Bone,” “Anna Karenina,” or “The Impossible,”…but my top ten films of the year so far:

    1. Cloud Atlas
    2. Lincoln
    3. Flight
    4. Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
    5. Beasts of the Southern Wild
    6. The Master
    7. Magic Mike
    8. The Queen of Versailles
    9. Moonrise Kingdom
    10. (Tie) Django Unchained or Savages

  16. Harry
    December 31, 2012

    - The actors who portrayed the six American fugitives in Argo.
    - The theme from Beasts of the Southern Wild.
    - The pinpoint casting in Django Unchained.
    - “On My Own” in Les Miserables. Not a huge fan of the movie, but I think they got this song exactly right.
    - James Spader in Lincoln.
    - Every single choice in Moonrise Kingdom.
    - Each of the Barden Bellas in Pitch Perfect. Can they please perform at the Oscars?
    - Recurring things throughout Silver Linings Playbook – running, letter-writing, Jennifer Lawrence yelling “Hey!”
    - Adele’s contribution to Skyfall. Can she please perform at the Oscars?
    - Sarah Silverman’s voice work in Wreck-It Ralph.

  17. Bball_Jake
    December 31, 2012

    1)sitting there at the end of The Dark Knight Rises and thinking, that is the greatest film Ive ever seen!
    2)When the title The Hobbit came up and the score was playing! Brought back memories and I realized that the wait was over
    3)Anne Hathaway and Tom Hardy in TDKR blew my mind, and the score and cinematography are the best of the year
    4)Prometheus also amazed me, along with Noomi, Fassbender, and Therons performances
    5)Seeing Lincoln star in a movie about himself..oh wait, that was Daniel Day Lewis

  18. danemychal
    December 31, 2012

    Fun idea!

    * Ben Affleck going 3 for 3 as a director with “Argo”
    * Jack Black’s criminally underrated performance in “Bernie”, particularly in the confession scene
    * Ann Dowd has arrived and hopefully studios will take notice
    * Nice surprises like “Pitch Perfect” that really shouldn’t be good but somehow are
    * Tony Kushner’s screenplay for “Lincoln”
    * The fearlessness of everyone involved in “Django Unchained”, particularly Leonard DiCaprio for not shying away from such a thankless role
    * Daniel Day-Lewis’ unparalleled cocktail of talent and dedication
    * Three show-stopping numbers in “Les Mis”: One Day More, On My Own & I Dreamed a Dream
    * Ang Lee’s determination (and success)
    * Blockbusters that were actually worthy of the dollars they made (TDKR, Skyfall, The Hobbit, The Avengers, Cabin the Woods, etc.)

  19. Nic V
    December 31, 2012

    1. Sally Field and Tommy Lee Jones dueling intelligently in the reception line with Lincoln watching carefully.

    2. Emily Blunt in both Salmon Fishing and Looper.

    3. Joseph Gordon Levitt in Looper when he finally realizes how to end the cycle. Mr. Levitt is now in the same class as Ryan Gosling. It’s always so great to watch actors mature and become actors.

    4. Rian Johnson’s screenplay for Looper.

    5. The girls in Pitch Perfect who made you wanna snap your fingers and hear them sing over and over. Who knew Anna Kendrick and Rebel Wilson had it goin’ on like that. That was a musical. No fantasy love lorn trauma just a real competition with some good old fashion laughs but incredible voices. I’d see Pitch Perfect over Les Mis any day.

    6. Channing Tatum given the chance to flex his acting ability just a bit beyond the stud range in Magic Mike.

    7. I have to count this one this year because I refused to see Moneyball last year. I’m just not a Brad Pitt fan but if anyone was ever robbed of an Oscar for a performance that deserved it it was Brad Pitt last year for Moneyball. Such an understated and subtle performance.

    8. Sally Field’s and Gloria Reuben sitting quietly in the balcony of the congress in quiet support of her husband and Ms. Reuben’s quiet support of her friend.

    9. Anne Hathaway in The Dark Knight Rises.

    10. Ben Affleck for his growth as a director with Argo.

  20. Jack Traven II
    December 31, 2012

    Being back from my hometown we already have 2013 here. Pretty strange how fast this year went by – at least for me. And I can’t wait to see some of the Oscar hopefuls in the upcoming weeks – Silver Linings, Django and Lincoln.

    My Top, well, Four Best Anything (from what I’ve seen – and that wasn’t that much this year):

    1) Argo’s finale – just breathtaking.
    2) Jeremy Renner in The Bourne Legacy – a worthy successor.
    4) The Intouchables – wonderful from start to finish.
    5) Total Recall’s special effects – pretty impressive.

    And last but not least: Happy New Year dear Sasha, Ryan and all my fellow readers.

  21. Jack Traven II
    December 31, 2012

    ^
    Can’t even count. :-)

  22. David
    December 31, 2012

    Found myself thrilled at the movies this year:

    The entire experience of BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD
    Eddie Redmayne singing EMPTY TABLE EMPTY CHAIRS
    The rain and colors of THE LIFE OF PI
    Being an Anna Hathaway hater and having to say, um, wow, in the DARK KNIGHT RISES
    Ezra Miller breaking down in PERKS OF BEING A WILDFLOWER
    The flash of anger from husband Jean-Louis to wife Emanuelle in AMOUR
    The sweet humor of THE SESSIONS
    Doona Bae in CLOUD ATLAS

  23. David
    December 31, 2012

    That’s Anne Hathaway.

  24. December 31, 2012

    1. The accordion entracte in “Holy Motors”
    2. Logan Lerman saying “I feel infinite” from “The Perks Of Being A Wallflower”
    3. The musical cue of Richie Havens’ “Freedom” from his Woodstock performance in “Django Unchained”
    4. The very first processing session (“don’t blink”) in “The Master”
    5. The raid on Bin Laden’s compound in “Zero Dark Thirty”
    6. Bradley Whitford finally seeing a Merman in “The Cabin In The Woods”
    7. Christopher Walken’s relationship with his dying wife in “Seven Psychopaths” (actually just Walken’s whole performance as well as the actress who plays the wife whose name is Linda Bright Clay).
    8. Making the climb out of the pit without the rope in “The Dark Knight Rises”
    9. The cinematography in “Skyfall”
    10. The return of quality stop motion animation with “ParaNorman”, “Frankenweenie” and “The Pirates! Band Of Misfits”.

  25. Alex
    December 31, 2012

    Haven’t seen a few (particularly, Zero Dark Thirty and Silver Linings), but here’s from what I have in no particular order:

    The score, and auroch scenes, in Beasts of the Southern Wild
    Anne Hathaway singing I Dreamed A Dream
    Argo: The scenes where the children are pasting together the shredded pictures
    All of DDL’s anecdotes in Lincoln – particularly the water closet/George Washington one
    When Richard Parker walks away without turning back
    When the dwarves sing The Misty Mountains
    Noomi Rapace cutting the alien out of her stomach in Prometheus
    The Master: When Amy Adams is training Joaquin to “turn her eyes black”
    The final reunion scene in Les Miserables
    When John Hawkes finally has sex with Helen Hunt and is having that flashback/thinking about of all those different sensations

  26. kasper
    December 31, 2012

    1. The third time watching Holy Motors in the theater and was just as captivated, and in awe as the first time
    2. I’ll second, third, fourth the Matthew McConaughaissance (not my coinage)
    3. Judi Dench upgraded to main Bond Girl in Skyfall
    4. Alexander Desplat’s self-referential homage to Benjamin Britten during the closing credits of Moonrise Kingdom
    5. Teresa confronts her lover on the beach in Paradise: Love
    6. The trio of James Spader, Tim Blake Nelson (?), and John Hawkes in Lincoln (would love to see a spin-off about them!)
    7. Scoot McNairy giving one of the year’s best performances, though unsung, in Killing Them Softly.
    8. The music in The Master
    9. The music in Tabu
    10. The sister telling her brother what kind of teacher he would make at their grandparents’ cabin in The Color Wheel

  27. JamDenTel
    December 31, 2012

    This was a good year, but for my money, 2009 is the best film year of the last decade, at least in terms of films I love (Inglourious Basterds and In the Loop are two of my top 10 favorite films). Anyway, my ten best anything:

    - The cemetery battle in Seven Psychopaths–I missed dialogue because the audience was laughing so hard, which I think says it all;
    - Tom Hiddleston’s moment of unspeakable cruelty in The Deep Blue Sea (“For the gas meter. In case I’m late for dinner.”)
    - Mads Brugger dancing with drunken Pygmies in The Ambassador;
    - “What’s going on in this candy-coated heart of darkness?!”
    - The double-act of Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman in The Master;
    - Monsieur Merde, who wasn’t created for Holy Motors but was awesome in it;
    - Benicio del Toro’s psychopathy and Salma Hayek’s femme fatality in Savages;
    - Michael Shannon in Premium Rush. Enough said;
    - “She’s a rat! A bitch! A…rat-bitch!”
    - Silva’s first monologue in Skyfall.

  28. rufussondheim
    December 31, 2012

    My top 10 performances that are either unlikely to be nominated or don’t have a chance in hell of being nominated. I’d like to put them in order, but, frankly, I don’t feel like it. So here goes.

    1) Anders Danielson Lie in Oslo, August 31st – Mostly morose throughout but when he’s smiling or laughing, he still has an undercurrent of depression in his demeanor. You can always see the character’s mind working, processing, figuring how in the hell he can get from one action to the next. This is a great performance that I’ve not seen anyone mention as great.

    2) Hans Olav Brenner, Oslo August 31st – As Anders’s former best friend he’s only in the movie about 20 minutes. But it’s a tightrope walk for him, not knowing what to say, how to react. His nervousness and tentativeness turns eventually turns to sadness and then to a more relaxed state, and eventually to a supportive role. It’s a great little character arc and he hits every note of it perfectly along the way.

    3) Logan Lerman, The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Somehow he manages to be melancholy without being annoying. He’s simulataneously expressive and reserved and when it’s time for the payoff, he doesn’t go there but stays in the moment and allows us to cry for him. His ability to underplay nearly everything is impressive.

    4) Ezra Miller, The Perks of Being a Wallflower – His ability to overplay everything and yet still be completely natural is impressive.

    5) Eddie Redmayne, Les Miserables – His natural charisma turns the normally dull Marius into the star of the second half of Les Miz and his performance of Empty Chairs at Empty Tables is revelatory. Never has that song been so emotionally effective.

    6) Aubrey Plaza, Safety Not Guaranteed. – She perfects her indie hipster routine here, but infuses it with so much humanity throughout that it stops feeling like a routine. Time will tell how talented she really is, but this movie is an impressive step forward.

    7) Michelle Williams, Take This Waltz – She’s now reached the states of Oscar Bait but she continues to do films the Academy loves to ignore. She’s vulnerable and a little dim here, but you entirely believe her when she makes a bad decision and you doubt yourself. She’s thet convincing in this role.

    8) Ben Affleck, Argo – His character doesn’t allow him the ability to express too much emotion, but watch his eyes and you always know what he’s thinking. It’s great work that no one notices because it’s decidely unflashy, but it’s probably the most affecting male lead of the Oscar Favorites because you feel every emotion that he’s not allowed to show.

    9) Daniel Craig in Skyfall – These roles never get the credit they deserve (see Matt Damon in The Bourne Trilogy) but the entire success of the movie rests on how well the role is performed. And Daniel Craig is as cool and charismatic as you can possibly get.

    10 Anna Kendrick in Pitch Perfect – Who knew? She’s a star.

    Honorable Mention to Emily Blunt in Looper and Your Sister’s Sister. Neither role was good enough for the top 10 here, but between the two roles, she’s just as impressive as anyone I listed.

  29. Cameron
    December 31, 2012

    In no particular order:

    -The Overall Experience of Cloud Atlas
    -Daniel Day-Lewis’s performance in Lincoln
    -The screenplay/structure of Looper
    -Cinematography/VFX of Life of Pi
    -The Escape from Iran in Argo
    -The Actors of Django Unchained
    -The Moment when Bilbo decides to run away on an adventure in The Hobbit
    -Jennifer Lawrence in Silver Linings Playbook
    -The Ensemble of Moonrise Kingdom
    -Hushpuppy

  30. Jerry Grant
    December 31, 2012

    -Daniel Day-Lewis as Abraham Lincoln
    -Joaquin Phoenix in “The Master”, especially the early therapy scene with PSH
    -Ang Lee and spirituality
    -”Seven Psychopaths” — all of it
    -Realizing that the trailers to “Lincoln”, “Life of Pi,” and “Silver Linings” were indescribably terrible in comparison to the movies themselves
    -David O. Russell’s newest (and finest) attempt to establish his cinematic voice
    -Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins
    -Zach Galifianakis in “The Campaign” (guilty)
    -The Wachowskis proving me wrong in thinking “Cloud Atlas” was an unfilmable novel
    -Steven Spielberg reminding people once again that he is the greatest living filmmaker

  31. Jerry Grant
    December 31, 2012

    Oh, and……!
    -Discovering Ben Affleck is an amazing director

  32. Dan Katz
    December 31, 2012

    - The intentionally jerky animation of the Fix-It Felix townspeople in Wreck-It Ralph

    - And speaking of which, every moment of Paperman

    - The intense “don’t blink” scene between Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman in The Master

    - The gloriously unrestrained creativity of the last act of The Cabin in the Woods

    - Wes Anderson’s perfectly simplistic framing in Moonrise Kingdom

    - Every time Christoph Waltz meticulously explains himself as an agent of the law in Django Unchained

    - The post-dance-competition celebration in Silver Linings Playbook

    - Praying for someone to answer the damn phone in Argo

    - Praying for Whip not to grab the damn bottle in Flight

    - Hulk dealing with Loki in The Avengers

    - And adding an 11th even though it was never in theaters and thus doesn’t really belong here, one of the best films I saw all year: A Scandal In Belgravia, the fourth practically-movie-length episode of Sherlock

  33. Aara
    December 31, 2012

    1. The cinematography of Skyfall, the perfect opportunity to give Deakins his first Oscar!
    2. The outstanding production design of Anna Karenina, which single handedly elevates the film to a must-watch experience in a theater screen
    3. The score of The Amazing Spiderman by James Horner which gave Spidey a beautiful and delicate new aural identity
    4. That scene when Matthias Schoenaerts punches though the ice in Rust and Bone…
    5. Daniel Craig and Christian Bale in Skyfall and TDKR respectively, both at their very best in the trilogies
    6. The amazing lighting and color palette of Take this Waltz
    7. The lovely song Mark Duplass sings to Aubrey Plaza in Safety Not Guaranteed
    8. All of the scenes in Django that took place around the dining table
    9. The fantastic, rich adapted screenplay of A Royal Affair
    10. That breathtaking shot in Life of Pi when Mamaji jumps into Piscine Molitor

  34. christiannnw
    December 31, 2012

    Ohh this is fun:

    1) Watching Naomi Watts suffer and shriek her way through a tsunami(The Impossible)
    2) The flabbergastingshot of Abraham Lincoln in his office following the passing of the 13th Amendment (Lincoln)
    3) AJ and Colin’s eventual, totally understandable respite in taboo (The Color Wheel)
    4) Emily Blunt’s no-nonsense, gun-toting farmer (Looper)
    5) Hester contemplating and eventually forgoing suicide on a subway platform (The Deep Blue Sea)
    6) Helen Hunt’s unassuming approach to nude scenes (The Sessions)
    7) Anders inevitable, horrifying relapse into drug usage (Oslo, August 31st)
    8) An eight-course sushi meal rendered symphonic (Jiro Dreams of Sushi)
    9) Jennifer Ehle baking a cake! (Zero Dark Thirty)
    10) Emmanuelle Riva turning in the year’s best performance despite practically working with no character whatsoever (Amour)

    And for the hell of it, my top ten and some superlatives:

    Top Ten:
    1) Zero Dark Thirty
    2) Oslo, August 31st
    3) The Deep Blue Sea
    4) Lincoln
    5) The Color Wheel
    6) Jiro Dreams of Sushi
    7) Holy Motors
    8) The Sessions
    9) Looper
    10) The Kid With a Bike

    Best Director: Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty) Actor in a Leading Role: Anders Danielson Lie (Oslo, August 31st)
    Actress in a Leading Role: Emmanuelle Riva (Amour)
    Actor in a Supporting Role: Jude Law (Anna Karenina)
    Actress in a Supporting Role: Isabelle Huppert (Amour), Helen Hunt (The Sessions)
    Original Screenplay: Calen Altman, Alex Ross Perry (The Color Wheel)
    Adapted Screenplay: Tony Kushner (Lincoln)

  35. Geremy
    December 31, 2012

    10) The stirring and dark rendition of the song of the Lonely Mountain in the Hobbit
    9) The unrelenting 3 hour momentum of Cloud Atlas
    8) The townspeople in Bernie
    7) The last 10 minutes of The Grey
    6) Skyfall reminding me why I love James Bond
    5) Jamie Foxx’s wardrobe in Django Unchained
    4) Ann Hathaway in Les Miserables
    3) The Oroxes in Beasts of the Southern Wild
    2) Everything Joss Whedon did
    1) The use of “Closing Car Door Cam” in Killing Them Softly

  36. December 31, 2012

    “Logan Lerman, The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Somehow he manages to be melancholy without being annoying. He’s simulataneously expressive and reserved and when it’s time for the payoff, he doesn’t go there but stays in the moment and allows us to cry for him. His ability to underplay nearly everything is impressive.”

    Rufussoundheim,
    Great words.
    I feel so much love for Perks.
    And for Lerman’s performance. It’ s so deeply touching.
    This movie is amazing. It deserves several noms.

  37. Unlikely hood
    January 1, 2013

    My top ten is this thread

  38. January 1, 2013

    Yeah, kasper, wasn’t the music in Tabu beautiful? So evocative! And I loved that scene in Paradise: Love – Margarete Tiesel was outstanding in that film.

  39. Notenoughtime
    January 1, 2013

    Best running scene – Meredith vickers in her space suit before she gets squished
    Best bitchy looks – most of Amy Adams scenes in the Master.
    Best scene to turn a gay man straight – when the lost maid became the cat woman. Meow Ann
    Best movie intro music – Adele
    Best one sided fight scene – hulk and Loki
    Best movie that got mediocre reviews – the hobbit. I thought it was delightful.
    Best supporting character I cared about – clea duvall’s embassy character in Argo.
    Best movie to watch over and over again because it’s a hoot – cabin in the woods
    Best actor that just gets better and better – John goodman
    Best actor who would have been great in Lincoln – John goodman

  40. Jonathan
    January 1, 2013

    Oh, there are so many! And to think of the films I haven’t managed to see yet: The Master (apparently they didn’t let it out of the big cities, particularly not to Tuscaloosa, AL), Zero Dark Thirty, Argo, Amour . . . so many others. But off the top of my head, here are ten., in no particular order.

    William Friedkin returning to (surpassing?) form in Killer Joe.

    Bardem flirting with Craig (or is it the other way around?) in Skyfall.

    First gunshot: a man’s head. Second gunshot: a horse’s head. I laughed out lout at the outrageousness. Wonderfully sets the tone for the rest of Django Unchained.

    The long, slow crawl of the word MISSISSIPPI from right to left and filling the screen from top to bottom in the style and typeface used for the title in Gone with the Wind, perhaps putting the final nail in the coffin of that reprehensible film. (And if you don’t get the point, there is that final big blowup at the end of Django Unchained . . .)

    Matthew McConaughey turning in 3 of the best supporting performances of the year, each one totally right, specifically delineated, perfectly realized. What gets me: why are people so surprised?

    The further coming of age of 3D in the hands of filmmakers who know what they are doing and why. Scott and Lee follow brilliantly along the path set by Cameron and Scorsese. (Jackson’s was more than competent but not as crucial to the project.)

    The charm of Taylor Kitsch in John Carter. Didn’t anybody notice other than me?

    Fassbinder’s David in Prometheus. Every time I see that performance I like it more. Oh, I do hope the series continues, for I can’t wait to see how David develops.

    Looper’s brilliant depiction of how trauma experienced in the “past” affects the body in the “future.”

    The Dark Knight Rises brilliantly keeping its secrets until Just the Right Moment!

  41. Mike
    January 1, 2013

    If The Perks of Being a Wallflower isn’t at the very least nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay I’ll be incredibly disappointed. It’s a shame Logan Lerman’s wonderful performance will go unnoticed. Would be great if Watson or Miller could sneak into the Supporting categories. Come on Academy, don’t let me down!

  42. January 1, 2013

    In this week’s podcast I named Perks as one of my picks to get a WGA nomination. Sent Sasha and Craig my Top 50 American films list last night so they could have a chance to stop me from pulling any grievous boners. I have Perks of Being a Wallflower in my #10 slot.

    But we have to prepare ourselves for the likelihood that it will appear on the surface to be just another teen angst movie aimed at the YA audience, and a lot of Academy members will not have seen it. A lot, a lot.

  43. rufussondheim
    January 1, 2013

    Yeah, but at least it’s writers that would be nominating him. Many years, it seems like the writing nominations are pretty topnotch and they often find one or two films that got no attention elsewhere because they were too “small” or too character oriented.

    If I were a writer, I would be impressed (and mostly jealous) that Chbosky took his own book and then adapted AND directed it for the screen. It would be hard not to admire his efforts and I would hope that would get a lot of them to admire that effort and at least watch the film. If they do, I am pretty sure they will reward him for his achievement.

    If Chbosky gets a nom for his screenplay adaption, I wonder if that will be an Oscar first, a person getting nominated after he directed the movie version of a book they wrote and adapted. I can’t imagine it’s a very common occurance.

  44. brendon
    January 1, 2013

    Excepting the daytime exteriors, I doubt there’s much of any ‘natural light’ in Lincoln — lots of 18K HMIs shining through windows, though.

    Great moments I had watching a movie in a theater this year:

    - The late realization that Take This Waltz isn’t a romance at all, but a character study, and the best of the year.

    - The panic attack outside the movie theater in Silver Linings Playbook.

    - The chemistry between Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield on that rooftop in Amazing Spider-Man.

    - The “Intermission” of Holy Motors.

    - The Narrator’s scenes in Moonrise Kingdom.

    - The oh-so-Kushneresque scene with Tommy Lee Jones near the end of Lincoln.

    - Jafar Panahi rides down the elevator to take out the trash in This is Not a Film.

    Also:

    - Douglas Sirk double-feature at Film Forum — both of my favorite films of his in stunning film prints(!).

    - Pialat’s We Won’t Grow Old Together at Lincoln Center, followed by Beasts of the Southern Wild at Lincoln Plaza Cinemas — the former to make clear how impoverished and unlikable the latter is.

  45. brendon
    January 1, 2013

    Ooh, also: the cafe scene in Oslo, August 31st — beautifully expressionistic camerawork.

  46. Meredith Leigh
    January 1, 2013

    1. Jack Black in Bernie. Why more people aren’t talking about this is beyond me. Glad Golden Globes noticed.
    2. Score from Beasts of the Southern Wild
    3. Hulk smashing
    4. Mother/daughter relationship in Brave (tears man…lots of tears)
    5. John Goodman in Argo and Flight
    6. Tony Kushner’s screenplay for Lincoln
    7. Anne Hathaway as Catwoman
    8. Scene with Don Johnson and Jonah Hill and others in Django Unchained
    9. Chronicle. And Dane Dehaan showing up all over the place, and proving he’s going to have a nice future
    10.Opening scene in Lincoln with the President speaking to 2 black soldiers

  47. Emily
    January 1, 2013

    1. Life Of Pi reminded my why 3-D was invented in the first place.
    2. The fact that a movie has been released that can truelly be called an epic; Les Mis.
    3. The amazingness of Argo.
    4. The summer release of To Rome With Love.
    5. Skyfall
    6. Hitchcock- not for everyone but for someone like me who loves his films, it was nothing short of a true gift.
    7. Adele’s ‘Skyfall’ song.
    8. Lincoln.
    9. The music in Life Of Pi.
    10. The screenplay for Silver Linings Playbook.

  48. Rob
    January 2, 2013

    1. sometime, in the first third of holy motors, totally unsure of where the f@*# this movie is going, messing with your inertia, but thrilled not to have any idea what will be coming next.

    2. The beauty of Ang Lee’s storytelling both on the water and the face of Irrfan Khan

    3. That despite having many serious misgivings about Les Mis, there are STILL some moments to move and affect and surprise you. (Eddie Redmayne is one example)

    4. That Kirby Dick took a horrific topic and was able reflect the nightmare he saw in the most humane way. (Invisible War) Brave, daring, bold filmmaking. I can compliment it in many ways, but i will merely say it is truly terrible experience to sit through this and it gets worse as the movie goes on.

    5. The Sessions showing a depiction of sex in a non-judgemental way. humanizing the desire and act for all of us.

    6. For Bradley Cooper tapping into a whole different gear to come up with a vibrant, interesting character that we could root for.

    7. eiko ishioka for giving us one last brilliant set of costumes to luxuriate in. (mirror mirror) RIP

    8. How to Survive a Plague. How often to we get to see regular individuals take on indifferent governments and corporate profits despite all the odds to make a meaningful difference for themselves, for others, their communites and future generations!

    9. for 56 up, a testament to the dedication of patient filmaking over a period of 49 years now, and to the participants who with dignity and class invite us into their world time and time again.

    10. To the dictator for (like les mis), having its moments despite being flawed. amongst all the exciting historical films, 3-D blockbusters and indie docs, comedy is still hard, and still very much needed!

  49. The Dark Alfred
    January 2, 2013

    13. Emily Blunt appearing with a shotgun in “Looper”
    12. Mark Duplass’ opening speech in “Your Sister’s Sister”
    11. Matthew McConaughey’s fried chicken scene in “Killer Joe”
    10. The hiding in the outhouse in the “Headhunters”
    9. Tag-Team Fight in “The Raid”
    8. Mads Mikkelsen’s breakdown in the church in “The Hunt”
    7. Michael Fassbender’s head in “Prometheus”
    6. The montage with Michelle Williams during the Leonard Cohen song in “Take This Waltz”
    5. “Jack Reacher” car chase, no music, just engine roar
    4. The very first processing session (“don’t blink”) and the moment when Amy Adams is training Joaquin Phoenix to “turn her eyes black” in “The Master”
    3. The cinematography of “Samsara”, the most beautiful cinematic experience of the year
    2. Making the climb out of the pit without the rope in “The Dark Knight Rises” with Hans Zimmer’s incredible score in the background, IN NOLAN WE TRUST
    1. Philip Seymour Hoffman’s “pigfuck” scene in “The Master”

  50. Andrew Sidhom
    January 2, 2013

    I have A LOT I’m still going to see during the next couple of months, but for now, here goes…

    1. The display/parade of tributes at the opening ceremony of The Hunger Games, with James Newton Howard’s rousing score directly implicating the audience in the enjoyment of this exploitative spectacle. Another moment from the film: Katniss saluting the people back in the districts through cameras in The Hunger Games (after the death of a character).

    2. Argo’s neat docu-style shooting and editing, always rife with tension, a la Hurt Locker.

    3. The editing in Flight. I know many don’t agree but I found the beats in that film kind of perfect.

    4. Jude Law’s delicious voice performance in Rise of the Guardians.

    5. Setting the climactic shootout of a Bond film away in the quiet, open fields in the countryside. A rustic old house, Albert Finney, a shotgun, and a long wait… That’s how you fuckin’ do an action scene!
    Also from Skyfall: The theme song, and the montage with M’s speech to the MP’s while MI6′s systems fail and Silva escapes.

    6. So many things from The Hobbit, which is a deeply flawed film but also absolutely wondrous. If I have to name one thing, it would have to be the Dwarves’ Misty Mountains song, which is pure magic (+ its theme as used in the score).

    7. The Amazing Spider-Man, which was surprisingly very, very good. I realize it has flaws but I didn’t care because I loved the direction, editing, score and atmosphere (all those scenes of Peter coming in through Gwen’s window for instance)

    8. The montage sequence following Bane’s destruction of the stadium in TDKR (his speech intercut with stuff happening throughout the city). Such an intense rendering of a populist revolution as heralded by one man.

  51. Mike
    January 2, 2013

    *”Which story do you prefer?”- Life of Pi
    * “I Dreamed A Dream” (Oscar already engraved) & “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables” (Redmayne is totally deserving of a nomination in a LOADED category but I don’t see how he overtakes Jones, DiCaprio, DeNiro, Hoffman, Bardem, or Arkin/Goodman/McConoughey as spoiler)
    *Klansmen Komedy in Django
    *Liam Neeson screaming at the heavens in The Grey
    *The dry-erase board in Cabin in the Woods
    *Terrifying power unleashed in Looper
    *The score of Beasts of the Southern Wild
    *Hoffman and Phoenix: the first therapy session of The Master. Scene of the year.
    *Hulk vs Thor
    *Jeff, Who Lives at Home in my top five.

    Still yet to see: Hobbit, Amour, Cloud Atlas, Zero Dark Thirty, Killing Them Softly

  52. Victoria
    January 19, 2013

    First of all, I’d just like to say that all of the movies in 2012 were excellent. I haven’t had the chance to watch all of them, but here’s my thoughts on the ones I watched and what I thought of them:

    - The Hunger Games: Great adaptation of the book…It was pretty intense, I enjoyed it.
    - Avengers: I thought it was awesome how everyone was together. Hulk smashing was awesome. Makes me excited for the new Avengers movie to come out in 2015. Second favorite movie of 2012.
    - Amazing Spiderman: I was really awaiting Andrew Garfield’s performance after seeing The Social Network. I thought he did a great job as Spiderman, and the chemistry between him and Emma Stone was very interesting to watch.
    - Perks of Being a Wallflower: It was a really nice watch, Logan Lerman did a great job.
    - Pitch Perfect: At first, I didn’t really want to see it, but I really enjoyed the plot and especially the music. Such a quotable movie…
    - Brave: I think this was a great Pixar movie, and it was both funny and sentimental.
    - Les Miserables: This is by far my favorite movie. The cast was spectacular, and the music, it was incredible. I can’t stop listening to it. It captured so many strong emotions, with some minor humorous relief. Tom Hooper did an amazing job, deserves lots of awards this year, 2013.

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