Sunday, January 31, 2010

My List Of Awards For 2009

For this article, I have compiled a list of awards to honor once more what were my favorite things about the cinematic year of 2009. Feel free to share your personal favorites as well, as this will most-likely be my final reflective piece on 2009. If you haven't already, you can browse my favorite films of the year right here (more after the cut):

Quick Note: The "Runners Up" are in no particular order.

BEST ACTOR: Colin Firth, A Single Man
  • Runners Up: Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart), Johnny Depp (Public Enemies), Viggo Mortensen (The Road), Nicolas Cage (Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans)
  • Additional Comments: No matter how many awards nominations Colin Firth has received thus far, this performance of his will always seem overlooked in my mind. In a film as textured as this one, emotions don't come pouring out in dialogue and arguments, but they are conveyed rather deeply through the subtleties of this central performance. The temptation to over-act is always present, but Firth never resorts to that. He instead trusts his ability to engage our feelings through mannerisms and facial expressions, and it's a special ability that he possesses. 

BEST ACTRESS: Gabourey Sidibe, Precious
  • Runners Up: Penelope Cruz (Broken Embraces), Carey Mulligan (An Education), Charlotte Gainsbourg (Antichrist), Kristen Stewart (Adventureland)
  • Additional Comments: This was Sidibe's first ever experience with acting, and had Sapphire's novel never been adapted, it's quite possible she never would have been discovered. In appearance, Sidibe is the ideal choice to play this overweight, illiterate Harlem teenager, but this is a role that also requires emotional depth, and this young woman provides plenty of it. If you haven't yet seen this film, you will be stunned by the accomplishments this newcomer is able to achieve.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds
  • Runners Up: Woody Harrelson (The Messenger), Kodi Smit-McPhee (The Road), Christian McKay (Me and Orson Welles), Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Watchmen)
  • Additional Comments: Waltz's Hans Landa is certain to live on as one of Quentin Tarantino's most memorable creations. It's a remarkable villain on paper, and I don't think anyone could have brought it to life as well as Waltz did. He has such distinct authority of his voice. This is a character that owns every room he steps foot in, and Waltz commands the screen in that exact way. The opening scene is reason enough to give him the Oscar.

  • Runners Up: Paula Patton (Precious), Blanca Portillo (Broken Embraces), Gwyneth Paltrow (Two Lovers), Vera Farmiga (Up in the Air), Anna Kendrick (Up in the Air)
  • Additional Comments: Not only did Mo'Nique create the most repulsive character of the year, but she somehow managed to elicit sympathy in the process. She delivers what are perhaps the two most stunning monologues of the entire year (most notably, the film's closing scene). She dominates the screen with remarkable conviction. It is, without a doubt, one of the decade's most definitive female performances.

BEST DIRECTOR: Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker
  • Runners Up: Quentin Tarantino (Inglourious Basterds), Tom Ford (A Single Man), Jason Reitman (Up in the Air), Zack Snyder (Watchmen)
  • Additional Comments: Bigelow's riveting war film was far and away the most suspenseful experience I had in the theater all year long. She is a master of creating tension and distress, and this film is full of both. What might go overlooked, however, is also her ability to direct her actors. One of the things that makes this film so great is the relationships between the leading men, and she gets terrific performances out of all three.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds
  • Runners Up: Mark Boal (The Hurt Locker), Ethan Coen and Joel Coen (A Serious Man), Greg Mottola (Adventureland), Bob Peterson and Pete Docter (Up)
  • Additional Comments: With Inglourious Basterds, Tarantino created his best story to date. It is a clever, epic, and most importantly, cohesive original story that covers everything from Nazis to film critics. Much like Pedro Almodovar did with Broken Embraces, Tarantino makes his love and passion for cinema as clear as ever, but this masterpiece is more than just a film lover's delight. It's a revolutionary piece of ambitious storytelling.

67th Annual Golden Globe Awards - Press Room

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner, Up in the Air
  • Runners Up: Tom Ford (A Single Man), Geoffrey Fletcher (Precious), Wes Anderson and Noah Baumbach (Fantastic Mr. Fox), Spike Jonze and Dave Eggers (Where the Wild Things Are)
  • Additional Comments: Nobody in Hollywood writes dialogue like Jason Reitman. His words roll of the actor's tongues as smooth as silk. His films move from scene to scene with precision and quick pace, in large part because this guy never wastes a single word. He creates complex, well-defined characters that challenge the audience and the way they see the world. It's a good thing Reitman got married when he did, because without the blistering emotional element that this film packs, it wouldn't be nearly as memorable.

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE: Abel Korzeniowski, A Single Man
  • Runners Up: Michael Giacchino (Up), Nick Cave and Warren Ellis (The Road), Elliot Goldenthal (Public Enemies), Alexandre Desplat (Fantastic Mr. Fox)
  • Additional Comments: Korzeniowski's moving score contributes just as important as Colin Firth's leading performance does to the success of this film. It builds up slowly, much like the emotions of the central character, but when it hits the climax, you will definitely feel it. 
MOST OVERLOOKED PERFORMANCES (in no particular order):
  • Joaquin Phoenix, Two Lovers
  • Marion Cotillard, Public Enemies
  • Jackie Earle Haley, Watchmen
  • Jeremy Renner, The Hurt Locker
  • Anthony Mackie, The Hurt Locker
  • Brian Geraghty, The Hurt Locker
  • Lluis Homar, Broken Embraces
  • Ben Foster, The Messenger
  • Paula Patton, Precious
  • J.K. Simmons, Up in the Air
  • Souleymane Sy Savane, Goodbye Solo
  • Matt Damon, The Informant!
  • Sasha Grey, The Girlfriend Experience
  • Max Records, Where the Wild Things Are
  • Michael Stuhlbarg, A Serious Man
  • Zooey Deschanel, 500 Days of Summer
  • Jesse Eisenberg, Adventureland
  • Abbie Cornish, Bright Star
  • Chris Pine, Star Trek
  • Sharlto Copley, District 9
  • Willem Dafoe, Antichrist
MOST OVERRATED FILM: An Education OR The White Ribbon





BEST ENSEMBLE CAST: Inglourious Basterds

BEST SCENE: Mo'Nique's closing monologue in Precious

MOST DISAPPOINTING SCENE: The climactic kitchen sequence in Brothers

BEST ORIGINAL SONG: Ryan Bingham's "The Weary Kind" from Crazy Heart

MOST SHOCKING SCENE: Charlotte Gainsbourg grabs a log and a drill in Antichrist

BEST QUOTE: "When I die, my tombstone'll have my real name on it. Till then, I'm just gonna stay bad." --Jeff Bridges as Bad Blake in Crazy Heart

WORST QUOTE: "If Clyde wants you dead, you're dead." --Michael Kelly as Bray in Law Abiding Citizen

BEST OPENING SCENE: The beautiful monochromatic prologue from Antichrist


BEST POSTER: The Girlfriend Experience, Antichrist OR Up in the Air

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