I was waiting to discuss my Best Picture picks until I had seen all 10 nominees. Sadly, this year, I failed in my annual mission to watch them all before the telecast. L So, here are my personal picks (not including 127 Hours) for my favorite nominees. To me, a Best Picture should affect me deeply and I should find myself thinking about it afterwards. I should find a deeper connection with them and they should stand the test of time as being something important at that moment in our culture. I’d also like to give a shout out to Scott Pilgrim vs. the World which I think should have been on this list.
1) Inception: I will never forget this film. Utterly original and engrossing, it showed us what a true genius Christopher Nolan is. I always expect the best from him, but he delivered something so amazingly entertaining and complex, I barely blinked in the theatres.
2) Toy Story 3: I knew the geniuses at Pixar would deliver a charming, beautifully animated film to cap off this wonderful series. What I didn’t expect was the emotional depth they would bring to a story that was, in the end, not about the toys, but about a boy’s journey from child to adult. I was bawling from the time Andy’s mother hugged him goodbye till the credits rolled.
3) The Social Network: This is a film about a moment in time. David Fincher managed to create such drama out of seemingly simple events and completely drew me in to this story of how social media has completely altered our culture. The subtle performances, the brilliant script and the haunting score will all stick with me long after Facebook is a thing of the past.
4) Black Swan: Utterly disturbing, I was very impressed with this film. This reality-bending drama/thriller grabbed a hold of me and never let go until that final fall from the stage. It is seemingly impossible task to bring the realities of mental illness to the screen and Darren Aronofsky showed me once again how extraordinarily talented he is at warping reality. Natalie Portman’s decent into madness was subtle at first, but seeing her completely break down was beyond frightening and fascinating.
5) The King’s Speech: Charming film. It was my favorite buddy film of the year and Geoffrey Rush and Colin Firth’s chemistry was undeniable. I very much enjoyed watching it, but there wasn’t much that stuck with me in the long run.
6) The Fighter: I admire Mark Wahlberg so much for single-handedly getting this project made. His quiet strength held together the film and he surrounded himself with incredible acting talents. Christian Bale was completely over the top, but that’s Dicky and my heart broke for him. Excellent film.
7) Winter’s Bone: This was such a quiet film. I had no expectations going in and I thought Jennifer Lawrence was a revelation. Almost documentary-like in feel, the tension created in this Ozark drama was very impressive. I’m looking forward to seeing the creative team behind this in future projects.
8) The Kids Are All Right: I’m not sure why this film didn’t affect me more. Perhaps it couldn’t possibly live up to its hype. It was very sweet, sexy, sad, etc. Excellent performances and I certainly appreciated how it depicted a realistic long-term marriage between two people who both happened to be women.
9) True Grit: This was the least impressive film of the year for me. I enjoyed watching it, but it didn’t make too much of an impression. I really enjoyed Matt Damon’s performance and Hailee Steinfeld was incredible. I completely forgot while watching that she was only 13 when she made this! I was more impressed with her performance after seeing her look so lovely and so young on the red carpet last night. I hope that she can continue to prove herself and stay as grounded and charming as she is right now.