Sunday, January 6, 2013

Dave's 2012 Movie Awards

In honor of the Academy Award Nominations which will be announced on Thursday January 10th, I give you my personal 2012 year-end movie awards. 2012 proved to be an extraordinary year in cinema, one that will certainly leave its mark in history. Having seen nearly 100 new releases over this past calendar year, here are my top 5 picks for each of the 6 major races:

Notable films I missed in 2012: Amour, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Skyfall and Rust and Bone

Best Supporting Actress

#5 Sally Field - Lincoln

#4 Helen Hunt - The Sessions

#3 Pauline Collins - Quartet

#2 Amy Adams - The Master 

and the winner is ...

#1 Anne Hathaway - Les Miserables

Much like the Academy is sure to do in late February, I reward Anne Hathaway with the Best Supporting Actress role of 2012. For all of the focus on Jean Valjean's character in Tom Hooper's Les Miserables, it's Anne Hathaway who serves as the film's heart and soul. Her emotionally-crushed rendition of "I Dreamed a Dream" will live on as a Hollywood highlight reel forever, making her the clear cut winner here.

Best Supporting Actor

#5 Benicio Del Toro - Savages

#4 Philip Seymour Hoffman - The Master

#3 Sam Rockwell - Seven Psychopaths

#2 Ezra Miller - The Perks of Being a Wallflower

and the winner is ...

#1 Christoph Waltz - Django Unchained

Quentin Tarantino's Spaghetti Western Django Unchained stood out as one of the year's funnest movie experiences. The film's most lovable character was Dr. King Schultz, played by Academy Award Winner Christoph Waltz. While I am starting to feel as though Waltz will be the odd man out in the Best Supporting Actor category when Oscar nominations are announced on Thursday (read about my 2013 Oscar Nomination Predictions), it would be a shame for the Academy to omit his transcending performance. 

Best Actress

#5 Helen Mirren - Hitchcock

#4 Naomi Watts - The Impossible

#3 Zoe Kazan - Ruby Sparks

#2 Jennifer Lawrence - Silver Linings Playbook

and the winner is ...

#1 Jessica Chastain - Zero Dark Thirty

After storming onto the scene in 2011 with a handful of unforgettable roles, it seemed like a forgone conclusion that Jessica Chastain was a star in the making. Taking home my 2011 Best Supporting Actress Award for Take Shelter, Chastin raises the bar again with her phenomenal portrayal in Kathryn Bigelow's Zero Dark Thirty. Chastain's character transforms throughout the feature and her development becomes a valuable aspect of the narrative. Although she finds worthy Oscar competition from my runner-up, Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook), Chastain gives the most decisive female performance of the year.

Best Actor

#5 Bradley Cooper - Silver Linings Playbook

#4 Denzel Washington - Flight

#3 Joaquin Phoenix - The Master

#2 John Hawkes - The Sessions

and the winner is ...

#1 Daniel Day-Lewis - Lincoln

This race feels like the biggest "no-brainer" to me. For as many brilliant lead actor performances as there were this year (and believe me there were a TON), none of them were even in the same stratosphere as Daniel-Day Lewis' once in a life time portrayal of Abraham Lincoln. Every chance I get to watch Day-Lewis deliver groundbreaking role after groundbreaking role, it becomes more apparent that I'm experiencing greatness. Steven Spielberg's Best Picture contender, Lincoln, survives solely on the shoulders of the actor's performance. There's no question who deserves this win.

Best Director

#5 David O. Russell - Silver Linings Playbook

#4 J.A. Bayona - The Impossible

#3 Quentin Tarantino - Django Unchained

#2 Kathryn Bigelow - Zero Dark Thirty

and the winner is ...

#1 Ben Affleck - Argo

The Best Director race was the most difficult for me to decide. The Kathryn Bigelow/Ben Affleck debate becomes very difficult to dissect. The direction's outstanding in both Zero Dark Thirty and Argo, but the difference-maker was Affleck's ability to conjure up a multi-dimensional movie experience. Bigelow's feature is more of a character based journey, while Affleck focuses on bringing a remarkable true story to life. Distinct opposites in approach, both films are premier examples of modern day filmmaking. However, I just happened to enjoy Argo slightly more than Bigelow's gripping manhunt tale.

Best Picture

#5 Perfect Sense

#4 The Sessions

#3 Zero Dark Thirty

#2 The Impossible

and the winner is ...

#1 Argo

No one can question the abundance of top tier films released in 2012. It was a difficult decision and very close, but I'm going with Argo as the Best Picture of 2012. A roller coaster ride of emotions, Ben Affleck's Argo interweaves between espionage thriller and comedy. The pacing and tone is perfect, making Argo the most enjoyable film of the year. Its Oscar hopes are still very much alive, despite a major December-long onslaught of competitive releases. Affleck continues to solidify himself as a bonafide filmmaker and gives us Argo, 2012's Best Picture.

*** Where am I right and where am I wrong? Leave a comment and spark a debate

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