With Critics Choice, Indy Spirit, and Golden Globe nominations already out there, and the Writers and Producers Guilds releasing theirs tomorrow, the time is right for me to release my own top films list. Throughout the year, I gauge critical and fan reaction to films, crunch a bunch of numbers, and make my predictions as to which films will win the most hardware when the award season heats up. Here is my list, starting with #10, for 2012.
Note: The awards I follow are the Academy Awards, the Golden Globes, Critics’ Choice, Independent Spirits, the BAFTAs, and the guild awards (SAG, Producers, Writers, and Directors). As far as my predictions go, this list only covers awards given to films, and not individuals or groups. For example, it accounts for the prediction that Les Miserables will be nominated for Best Picture, but not Anne Hathaway receiving a nomination for Best Supporting Actress (even though I think she will).
#10 – The Master – (Paul Thomas Anderson)
A film that has divided critics, The Master seems to walk the razor’s edge between being intellectual and being boring. Most people that like Anderson’s films liked it though, and audiences somewhat warmed to it later on. On the individual front, look for a few nods for Joaquin Phoenix for Best Actor-type award nominations.
#9 – Beasts of the Southern Wild – (Benh Zeitlin)
Quvenzhane Wallis has captivated viewers as the brave Hushpuppy, who has to contend with a missing mother, a sick father, and semi-mythical creatures unleashed by melting polar ice caps. One of the most original films of the year, it will have to battle with films farther up on this list to bring home even Indy awards.
#8 – Moonrise Kingdom – (Wes Anderson)
Wes Anderson’s work isn’t for everybody, but there’s a lot to like here. Bruce Willis, Bill Murray and Edward Norton don’t normally make for a warm tale of family faithfulness and the true meaning of love (and scouting), but here they do. A modern day Tom Sawyer tale that will have grown-ups nostalgic for simpler times and every Boy Scout troop applauding, this is a great film.
#7 – Django Unchained – (Quentin Tarantino)
A usual bloody ordeal from Tarantino that will have to deal with controversy surrounding its depiction of life for Confederate slaves and its use of a certain n-word. DiCaprio will be getting some Oscar love for his villainous portrayal of Calvin Candie.
#6 – Les Misérables – (Tom Hooper)
It is getting to be that every time Tom Hooper directs a film, the cast is brilliant and perfectly suited to their roles. Jackman, Crowe, Hathaway, Barks, Seyfried, Redmayne, Carter, Cohen…wonderful performances. Of course the big debate here is the singing. While too raw for some, others are hailing the film as a masterpiece. I loved it, but I can see where some detractors are coming from. I just happen to disagree with them.
#5 – Life of Pi – (Ang Lee)
This is basically a tie with Les Miz, but the vision required by Ang Lee and company to make this film happen might put it up just a bit. You might think making a movie where the main character has to spend months in the Pacific Ocean with a tiger could be challenging. You’d be right, but they do a banner job here with great 3D and effects.
#4 – Silver Linings Playbook – (David O. Russell)
Jennifer Lawrence should get her due here (not for The Hunger Games), and Robert De Niro and Bradley Cooper as well. Covering mental illness is always a tough thing to do, and this is a well written and performed film that might fly in under the radar and snag some gold before everything is said and done.
#3 – Zero Dark Thirty – (Kathryn Bigelow)
Most people haven’t got the chance to see this yet, but the story of the capture of Osama Bin Laden could surprise, in more ways than one. We’ll see if the buzz can generate box office success in January. Look for Jessica Chastain to keep picking up Best Actress nominations. Here’s my take on all the torture controversy.
#2 – Lincoln – (Steven Spielberg)
Spielberg’s latest masterpiece is many folks prediction for Best Film. It will be up there, but at times the film gets a little sentimental, which could hurt its chances. People are ready to sit through Les Miz and the Hobbit for almost three hours, but there has been some talk that it ran a bit long for people. I think the length is fine, but I don’t mind my films that way.
#1 – Argo – (Ben Affleck)
Affleck is turning into quite the director, and he should at least get a Best Picture nomination for this one, which some people have written off. It might go without any acting nominations except Alan Arkin’s supporting role, but I think it is a solid contender that could bring in the coveted Best Picture Oscar. We shall see.
I should note that these rankings are based on certain calculations I make throughout the year. Based on these calculations, I rank the films. The number one film, will, according to my calculations, receive the Best Picture Award, and all ten should have a chance at receiving nominations, depending on how many films are chosen for that year.
I’m both a realist and a believer in objective and subjective truth. The films I listed are the films I believe to be the best of 2012 based on the response of viewers and critics. I’m aware my favorite films may not make the list, but I don’t let that get in the way. My five honorable mentions, five solid films which will only be taking home minor awards (if any), are as follows:
1) The Avengers – (Joss Whedon)
2) Skyfall – (Sam Mendes)
3) The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – (Peter Jackson)
4) Looper – (Rian Johnson)
5) The Dark Knight Rises – (Christopher Nolan)
Be on the lookout next week for my favorite films list, which may come (or it may not).
Thanks for reading!