Sunday, January 15, 2012

Best of 2011

One of my favorite things about being a film critic is drafting my annual Best Of list. I don’t mean posting my Top 10 of the year, but rather, filling out and choosing winners for major categories seen at most awards shows.

Basically, if I was the sole member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, this is what my Oscar ballot would look like, with my winners in bold.

Note: Because Incendies was eligible for Oscar consideration last year, it will not compete in any category here. Likewise The Double Hour. Also, fair warning, if the movie begins with “Sh” and ends with “ame,” then I probably liked it.

Another Happy Day
The Tree of Life

Terrence Malick – The Tree of Life
Steve McQueen Shame
Lynne Ramsay – We Need to Talk About Kevin
Nicolas Winding Refn – Drive
Martin Scorsese – Hugo

Jean Dujardin – The Artist
Michael Fassbender Shame
Ryan Gosling – Drive
Peter Mullan – Tyrannosaur
Michael Shannon – Take Shelter

Ellen Barkin – Another Happy Day
Bérénice Bejo – The Artist
Kirsten Dunst – Melancholia
Rooney Mara – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Tilda Swinton – We Need to Talk About Kevin

Albert Brooks – Drive
Ben Kingsley – Hugo
Ezra Miller – Another Happy Day
Brad Pitt – The Tree of Life
Christopher Plummer – Beginners

Jessica Chastain – The Tree of Life
Charlotte Gainsbourg - Melancholia
Liana Liberato – Trust
Carey Mulligan – Shame
Shailene Woodley – The Descendants

Woody Allen – Midnight in Paris
Paddy Considine – Tyrannosaur
Sam Levinson – Another Happy Day
Steve McQueen and Abi Morgan – Shame
Lars von Trier – Melancholia

Hossein Amini – Drive
John Logan – Hugo
Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash – The Descendants
Agustín Almodóvar and Pedro Almodóvar – The Skin I Live In
Lynne Ramsay – We Need to Talk About Kevin

Werner Herzog – Cave of Forgotten Dreams
Werner Herzog – Into the Abyss
Asif Kapadia - Senna
Errol Morris – Tabloid
Richard Press – Bill Cunningham New York

(Note: I was unable to find Steve James’ The Interrupters anywhere)

Joe Bini – We Need to Talk About Kevin
José Salcedo – The Skin I Live In
Thelma Schoonmaker – Hugo
Joe Walker – Shame
The no fewer than five editors it took to assemble The Tree of Life

Newton Thomas Sigel – Drive
Jeff Cronenweth – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Manuel Alberto Claro – Melancholia
Sean Bobbitt – Shame
Emmanuel Lubezki – The Tree of Life

Alexandre Desplat – The Tree of Life
Harry Escott – Shame
Alberto Iglesias – The Skin I Live In
Cliff Martinez – Drive
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Listen to my podcast on my Favorite Films of 2011:


  1. aka... if the Academy had any balls at all.

    I miss the 1970s.

  2. @Anonymous YES! Exactly. And I'm right there with you.

  3. I'm sensing that you enjoyed Shame?

  4. This is great. A lot of your nominees would match up with mine if I updated them (adding in Dragon Tattoo and Hugo to a lot of categories), with the exception of Shame - seeing it on Thursday. I really have to check out Another Happy Day if Ezra Miller takes out Supporting Actor (over Kingsley, Pitt and Brooks). Yikes.

  5. Go to and ask them for a screener - saying that you'd like to review the film.

    They'll sent it to you. At least they did so for me.

  6. Great list! Shame was really one of the most excellent movies of the year. Ditto to anonymous.

  7. @Andy Buckle I don't know if you've ever known an angst ridden, legitimately manic depressive teenager (I've know a few), but Miller's performance in Another Happy Day is the most accurate incarnation of that "person" that I've ever seen.

    Can't wait to read what you think of SHAME.

  8. @M. Hufstader Blew me away. Figuratively, of course. Maybe.

  9. Great to see Shame walk away with so many of your awards. I'm getting the sense that you'd like me to see Another Happy Day too. It hadn't been on my radar before but your recommendation makes me think I should check it out.

  10. @NeverTooEarlyMP Oh I highly recommend Another Happy Day. A truly hidden gem.

  11. Hey buddy, i love the blog. I never did get around to Shame- my girlfriend really wanted to see it too. Great list, my favorite entry to which was the nomination of Michael Shannon- he's amazing, and i loved Take Shelter

  12. I see Shame killed it here :) Last year for me Black Swan got everything, I'm hoping this will be the case with Shame too.

  13. @J. Clarke Thanks man, good to hear from you! I really dug Take Shelter too. Go in to DC to catch Shame!!

  14. @Sati. Black Swan was my favorite film from last year as well, loved that movie. But yeah, when we're talking Shame, we're talking greatness all around.

  15. I found very insulting the fact that The Descendants (it was okey), Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, The Help and War Horse were nominate for best picture and The Girl With Dragon Tattoo wasn't. And Jonah Hill nominated for supporting actor (wtf?), he was okey - and I would gave him an Oscar over Michael Fassbender, (even that I believe that Fassbender gave the 2013 best performance) for The Wolf of Wall Street - but he wasn't better then Albert Brooks, Ben Kingsley or Brad Pitt. This is why 2011 was kind of a bad year. It had it's saving graces: Shame, Drive, The Kid with a Bike, The Artist and The Skin I Live In were masterful enough for me to say, 'okey is a good year', but other than that not really. Weekend, Midnight in Paris, Melancholia, Certified Copy, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, A Separation and Senna were great but like you said The Year of the Great Performance in the Mediocre Film.
    Your nominations are kind of great, 2011 highs. I didn't see Another Happy Day, yet. Ramsay over von Trier? Fair enough. Why you don't make post like this anymore? I love this post.

    1. You know, reading over this post, I definitely realized how much I miss doing posts like these. I honestly don't remember why I gave them up. I'll pick it back up in 2015, for sure. I agree, while 2011 wasn't the best year, it does have Shame, which I absolutely love.

  16. Love this ballot very much.

    If you look at mine, you'll see that we have some things in common:

    1. Hell yeah, great list. 2011 was a solid year. For me, no film released since Shame has come close being as good as that one.