Best of Film 2011: Best Scenes and Other Bric-a-Brac of the Year

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Midnight in Paris – Meeting the Surrealists
To paraphrase Chevy Chase, “I’m Salvador Dalí, and you just may be, too.”

Bridesmaids – Dress Fitting
“I can’t believe I ate the whole thing.”

Best Death Scenes
1. Final Destination 5 – Worst Dismount Ever
The most creative and surpising of the FD series’ deaths had tension to match the bomb in Touch of Evil.

2. X-Men: First Class – Show Me the Money
My friend Walt asked if the makers of X-Men: First Class were guilty of stereotyping by having Magneto, a Jewish man, kill someone with a coin.  I responded that it would have been truly offensive if they showed him picking up the coin.

Best Action Scenes
1. Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol – Scaling the Burj Khalifa
I have literally been rendered speechless.

2. Final Destination 5 – Highway Bridge Collapse
As Rajeesh Koothrappali would say, “Oh, snap.”

3. Fast Five – Cars vs. Trains
“I believe I can fly.”

Best Scene in an Otherwise Bad Movie:
Another Earth – Space Strawberries
A member of NASA makes contact with her counterpart on the other Earth, and in a WTF?! moment to match any of the revelations on Lost, they simultaneously reveal that they both bought space strawberries during a childhood vacation to Cape Canaveral.

Best On-Screen Chemistry:
Matt Damon and Emily Blunt in The Adjustment Bureau
 

Dogs
1. Uggie as The Dog in The Artist
 

2. Arthur as Cosmo in Beginners
 

3. Snowy in The Adventures of Tintin
 

Best of Film 2011: Best Elements of Film of the Year

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(A.K.A., The Best Parts of Film That Are Oscar Categories, Excluding the Shorts and Foreign Film)

Best Film
Bridesmaids
Moneyball
Crazy, Stupid, Love.
The Muppets
The Descendants
Midnight in Paris
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Margin Call
Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol

Director
Alexander Payne, The Descendants
Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris
Paul Feig, Bridesmaids
Terrence Malick, The Tree of Life
Martin Scorcese, Hugo

Lead Actor
Tom Hardy, Warrior
Brad Pitt, Moneyball
George Clooney, The Descendants
Mel Gibson, The Beaver
Brad Pitt, The Tree of Life

Lead Actress
Charlize Theron, Young Adult
Viola Davis, The Help
Kristen Wiig, Bridesmaids
Keira Knightley, A Dangerous Method
Michelle Williams, My Week with Marilyn

Supporting Actor
Corey Stoll, Midnight in Paris
Jonah Hill, Moneyball
Ryan Gosling, Crazy, Stupid, Love.
Patton Oswalt, Young Adult
Kevin Spacey, Margin Call

Supporting Actress
Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids
Jessica Chastain, The Help
Octavia Spencer, The Help
Mélanie Laurent, Beginners
Judy Greer, The Descendants

Adapted Screenplay
Stan Chervin, Aaron Sorkin, and Steven Zaillian, Moneyball
Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller, The Muppets
Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, and Jim Rash, The Descendants
John Logan, Hugo
Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver, Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Original Screenplay
Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo, Bridesmaids
Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris
Dan Fogelman, Crazy, Stupid, Love.
J.C. Chandor, Margin Call
Diablo Cody, Young Adult

Editing
Christopher Tellefsen, Moneyball
Lee Haxall, Crazy, Stupid, Love.
Conrad Buff and Mark Goldblatt, Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Matthew Newman, Drive
Paul Hirsch, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol

Cinematography
Emmanuel Lubezki, The Tree of Life
Manuel Alberto Claro, Melancholia
Robert Richardson, Hugo
Brendan Galvin, Immortals
Janusz Kaminski, War Horse

Art Direction
Melancholia
The Tree of Life
Immortals
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
The Muppets

Sound Mixing
Hugo
Drive
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
The Muppets
Real Steel

Sound Editing
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Drive
Hugo
Real Steel
Thor

Costume Design
Midnight in Paris
Hugo
Bridesmaids
Thor
The Muppets

Score
Cliff Martinez, Drive
Michael Andrews, Bad Teacher
The Chemical Brothers, Hanna
Cliff Martinez, Contagion
Roger Neill, David Palmer, and Brian Reitzell, Beginners

Original Song
“Man or Muppet,” written by Bret McKenzie, The Muppets
“I Didn’t Mean It,” written by Barbara and Ethan Gruska, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1
“Life’s a Happy Song,” written by Bret McKenzie, The Muppets
“Endtapes,” written by Ritzy Bryan, Rhdyian Dafydd, and Matt Thomas, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1
“Pictures in My Head,” written by Jeannie Luris, Aris Archontis, and Chen Neemn, The Muppets

Documentary
Tabloid
Cave of Forgotten Dreams

Animated Film
Arthur Christmas
The Adventures of Tintin

Visual Effects
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Real Steel
Thor
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2
Hugo

Makeup
I didn’t see any movies from 2011 with particularly great makeup, so I’m going to assume The Iron Lady – with its old people makeup, which I hear is hard to do well – was the best.

Best of Film 2011: Best Movies of the Year

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As I look at my choices for the best movies of 2011, one thought comes to my mind: “Nobody’s perfect.”

1. Bridesmaids

With all due respect to Paranormal Activity 3 and Insidious, Bridesmaids may just have been the scariest movie of 2011.  During the food poisoning scene, while the rest of the theatre roared with laughter, I was rendered paralyzed as I was terrified and profoundly disturbed.  To lose control of one’s bodily functions in a situation full of social mores strikes me as one of the frightening possibilities of life in the 21st century.  That scene served a microcosm of the whole movie, as the stress of being a maid of honor led Annie to lose control of everything in her life.  As she sank to her lowest point, with no job, no money, no friends, no reason to leave the house – it was deeply scary to witness such a change over the course of only a few months.  The life changes depicted in Bridesmaids are hardly unusual – everybody grows up, or at least gets older.  The people in our life move on, life goes by, and it is all hard to handle if we do not have anybody to support us.  That is why occasionally it is a good idea to get in somebody’s face and declare, “Hey!  Guess what?  You do have friends!”
Memorable Line: “You know what I find interesting about that, Annie?  It’s interesting to me that you have, you have absolutely no friends.  You know why it’s interesting?  Here’s a friend, standing directly in front of you, trying to talk to you and you choose to talk about the fact that you don’t have any friends.”

2. Moneyball

I’m not the only who’s said it (Rolling Stone’s Peter Travers is among those who mentioned it before me): Moneyball is about baseball the same way that The Social Network is about Facebook: not really at all.  It was about questioning the conventional wisdom – a pursuit that can be meaningful in any field.  In fact, it is, simply put, how to gain knowledge.  With its focus on statistics and its antiestablishment attitude, Moneyball could have been a preachy lecture.  But thanks to its fully fleshed-out humanity – Billy Beane’s managing style was driven by his skepticism regarding the conventional wisdom after it did not help his playing career; amalgam character Peter Brand introduced statistical analysis to the baseball office because he loved the game, and wanted to make it better – Moneyball presented a lesson that was easy to take in, thanks to the personal connections it offered.
Memorable Line: “It’s a metaphor.” “I know it’s a metaphor.”

3. Crazy, Stupid, Love.

The confluence of almost every major character of Crazy, Stupid, Love. in that climactic scene may have been unlikely, but the improbable is often the most entertaining.  And what, if not love, is one of the most improbable things of all?  It would often be sensible to not give in to what love demands.  Perhaps it strains credulity to accept that a middle schooler would be allowed to make a graduation speech about how love doesn’t exist, or that his dad would be allowed to interrupt him and give an alternative, just as dramatic, speech.  But that scene did accurately represent the bigness of feelings regarding love and life, as displayed in Crazy, Stupid, Love.  So much of C, S, L. strained credulity.  But to live life lovingly, straining credulity is often a necessary strategy.
Memorable Line: “It’s easy to just look at a thirteen-year-old and say, ‘You don’t know what you’re talking about.  You are wrong.’  But I’m not so sure.”

4. The Muppets

The Muppets is a rare breed: a movie about itself that is successful at being so.  Prior to the release of this film, the Muppets had lost much of the luster of popularity, just as they were down and out in the fictional world in which they are living, breathing creatures.  There are plenty of real fans of the Muppets as devoted as Walter, and most people who are not huge fans are at least familiar with them.  But in the 21st century, they have only been popular in legacy terms.  Because it had been so long since the Muppets had even attempted something significant, it did not even seem like it was worth trying.  But, sometimes you just have to ask your friends for help, and you may just be surprised at the response.  Usually, I consider box office performance to be beside the point when determining a film’s quality, but The Muppets kind of needed to be a hit to prove its point, and that kind of worked out.  Oh, and the songs are fun, Fozzie Bear’s puns are stupidly hilarious as always, Chris Cooper raps, and there are plenty of celebrity cameos (including the number one star in the world.  You hear me? Bang! – The world).
Memorable Line: “And we’ll keep giving the world the third greatest gift: laughter!

5. The Descendants

Our lives are not always what they seem.  In fact, they are never exactly what we think they are.  George Clooney has made a career out of playing himself.  He has taken on an array of characters, but he has generally imbued them all with some degree of that unmistakable George Clooney persona that says, “I know what I’m doing.”  As Matt King, he backs off, and offers his most vulnerable, and best, performance yet.  Vulnerability is the shared quality for every character in The Descendants, as everyone has lost or stands to lose something important: a wife, a mother, faith in a spouse, mental faculties – even seemingly the entire state of Hawaii worries how the fate of the King family property will affect them.  As Matt eventually realizes, he is not in control of everything, but he knows what he does have, and he knows that he better cherish it.
Memorable Line: “Elizabeth is dying.  Wait… Fuck you!  And she’s dying.”

6. Midnight in Paris

When a character from a realistic world enters a fantastical setting, it is best if his surprise is only temporary.  Gil Prender does remain excited after the initial shock of experiencing 1920’s Paris wears off, but the time travel does also become a part of his routine.  (The first scene with the Surrealists offers a strange sort of grounding for this situation.)  But allowing the fantasy to become too much of a routine can be a problem.  1920’s Paris has been Gil’s to romanticize about and learn from, but that lesson is worthwhile only if he realizes that he has his own life that he can make just as romantic and meaningful.  Also, Adrien de Van as Luis Buñuel does a great job listening.
Memorable Line: “A man in love with a woman from a different era.  I see a photograph.”  “I see a film.”  “I see an insurmountable problem.”  “I see rhinoceros.”

7. Rise of the Planet of the Apes

A B-movie particularly in the sense that it never wanders far from its primary geographic settings, Rise of the Planet of the Apes is plenty ambitious otherwise.  In the previous Apes installments, the apes were already people – as far as souls, free will, what have you are concerned – just hairier.  The apes in this edition have the sort of humanity that has been shown to us by the likes of Jane Goodall – we know that they are a lot like us, but we don’t know exactly what it is to live as an ape.  We have never been able to fully articulate what that essential difference is.  No matter what the difference, if human experimentation is risky, then no doubt ape experimentation is as well.  The next round of evolution is going to catch many people off guard.
Memorable Line: “NO!”

8. Margin Call

The investment bank employees in Margin Call stayed up all night to figure out a solution to a catch-22, but it was essentially all for naught.  Every other major financial company was going through basically the same situation.  The financial crash of 2008 was already inevitable.  Writer/director J.C. Chandor sets Margin Call to the tone of a thriller, and for those involved, the stakes are as high and as grueling as those in any action movie.  These particular Wall Streeters do not always want to care about this situation as they do; their faces display the wear and tear of the weight of inevitability.
Memorable Line: “You will never sell anything to any of those people ever again.”  “I understand.”  “Do you?”  “Do you?!  This is it!  I’m telling you, this is it!”

9. Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol

The plot (insofar as it makes sense or not) of an action movie does not always matter, but characterization does.  Sure, the set piece at the Burj Khalifa in Dubai was the buzziest moment, and it is the major reason why M:I 4 was as great as it was.  But it must be noted that Tom Cruise always gives it his all as Ethan Hunt.  He is a man driven by family and loyalty, unafraid to show his true humanity even when he is in disguise.  Bet let’s talk about that Dubai scene.  It did really look like Tom Cruise was actually acrobatically maneuvering about many miles up in the air.  The camerawork, editing, and choreography were all stunning.  My palms are clamming up just thinking about it.
Memorable Line: “Oh, that’s high!”

10. The “I Wanted to Include Each of These Films But Something was Holding Me Back But Together They Can All Make It” Spot: Hugo/Warrior/Win Win/Young Adult

The middle of Hugo was not particularly adventurous, but I did enjoy the fanta-historical account of Georges Méliès.  Warrior’s inspirational sports tale has been told many times before, but the performances of Tom Hardy, Joel Edgerton, and Nick Nolte burned with a frustrated intensity that felt appropriate for the less glamorous realm of the sports world.  Win Win felt inconsequential, but that was only because it did not care to be any showier.  Its characters were respectable and generally trying to do the right thing in their own ways: a rousing, honest morality tale.  Some of Young Adult’s most powerful scenes felt a little staged, but life does not always make sense when you’re drunk all the time: a subjective investigation of the mind of a seriously depressed individual.
Memorable Lines: Hugo – “I was forced to sell my movies to a company that melted them down into chemicals.”
Warrior – “All I’m saying is, I’m happy to keep your boy warm for you.”
Win Win – “Why did Daddy hit Kyle?”  “I have no idea.”
Young Adult – “I would keep all of this to yourself.  I would find a therapist.”

Honorable Mentions (A.K.A., I liked these movies, too!)
These aren’t necessarily numbers 14-22, but for whatever reasons, I did want to mention them.
Beginners, Drive, Fast Five, Final Destination 5, Hanna, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, Tabloid, The Tree of Life, X-Men: First Class

But wait!  There’s more!  (I hope.)
I haven’t seen these movies yet.  I hope they’re good:
Coriolanus, The Guard, Jane Eyre, The Interrupters, Pariah, Poetry, Project Nim, Rampart, A Separation, Senna, Take Shelter, 13 Assassins, The Trip, Tucker & Dale vs. Evil, We Need to Talk About Kevin

Best in Film 2011 Tracker, Part 5

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I wanted to post one more update on my tracker before I put the finishing touches on my year-end wrap-ups.  Since the last post (12/22/11), I have seen The Adventures of Tintin, War Horse, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows in the theatre and I’ve seen Cave of Forgotten Dreams, Tabloid, Beginners, and Margin Call on DVD.

(Note: I forgot to include Mel in Lead Actor on the last tracker.)

Best Film
Bridesmaids
Moneyball
Crazy, Stupid, Love.
The Muppets
The Descendants
Hugo
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Midnight in Paris
Margin Call
Young Adult

Director
Alexander Payne, The Descendants
Martin Scorcese, Hugo
Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris
Terrence Malick, The Tree of Life
Rupert Wyatt, Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Paul Feig, Bridesmaids
Bennett Miller, Moneyball
Glen Ficarra and John Requa, Crazy, Stupid, Love.

Lead Actor
Tom Hardy, Warrior
Brad Pitt, Moneyball
George Clooney, The Descendants
Mel Gibson, The Beaver
Brad Pitt, The Tree of Life
James McAvoy, X-Men: First Class
Michael Fassbender, X-Men: First Class

Lead Actress
Charlize Theron, Young Adult
Viola Davis, The Help
Kristen Wiig, Bridesmaids
Michelle Williams, My Week with Marilyn
Kirsten Dunst, Melancholia
Emma Stone, The Help
Saoirse Ronan, Hanna

Supporting Actor
One of my favorite actors – Spacey – manages to make a plot point that could be ruinously cloying (a dead dog) into something instead that adds an extra layer of meaning to his performance.
Corey Stoll, Midnight in Paris
Jonah Hill, Moneyball
Ryan Gosling, Crazy, Stupid, Love.
Patton Oswalt, Young Adult
Kevin Spacey, Margin Call
Kevin Bacon, X-Men: First Class
Bruno Ganz, Unknown
Nick Nolte, Warrior
Peter Sarsgaard, Green Lantern

Supporting Actress
Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids
Jessica Chastain, The Help
Octavia Spencer, The Help
Judy Greer, The Descendants
Mélanie Laurent, Beginners
Analeigh Tipton, Crazy, Stupid, Love.
Bryce Dallas Howard, The Help
Jessica Chastain, The Tree of Life
Lin Shaye, Insidious

Adapted Screenplay
Stan Chervin, Aaron Sorkin, and Steven Zaillian, Moneyball
Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller, The Muppets
Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, and Jim Rash, The Descendants
John Logan, Hugo

Original Screenplay
Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo, Bridesmaids
Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris
Dan Fogelman, Crazy, Stupid, Love.
Diablo Cody, Young Adult
J.C. Chandor, Margin Call
Mike Mills, Beginners

Editing
Christopher Tellefsen, Moneyball

Cinematography
Emmanuel Lubezki, The Tree of Life
Manuel Alberto Claro, Melancholia
Robert Richardson, Hugo
Brendan Galvin, Immortals
Janusz Kaminski, War Horse

Animated Film
Arthur Christmas
The Adventures of Tintin

Documentary
Tabloid
Cave of Forgotten Dreams

Score
Cliff Martinez, Drive
Michael Andrews, Bad Teacher
The Chemical Brothers, Hanna
Cliff Martinez, Contagion
Roger Neill, David Palmer, and Brian Reitzell, Beginners
John Williams, The Adventures of Tintin

Original Song
“Man or Muppet,” written by Bret McKenzie, The Muppets

Visual Effects
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Hugo

Best in Film 2011 Tracker, Part 4

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Since the last Tracker (11/1/11), I’ve seen Tower Heist, Martha Marcy May Marlene, In Time, Footloose, Like Crazy, My Week with Marilyn, The Muppets, Immortals, J. Edgar, The Descendants, Hugo, Arthur Christmas, Young Adult, and Melancholia in the theatre and The Lincoln Lawyer, Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop, Attack the Block, Everything Must Go, Life in a Day, and The Beaver on DVD. There has been a lot of moving and shaking – I still haven’t sorted it all out yet. A little over a week in the year left, and still at least 15 movies to go.

Best Film
Bridesmaids
Moneyball
Crazy, Stupid, Love.
The Muppets
The Descendants
Hugo
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Midnight in Paris
Young Adult

Director
Alexander Payne, The Descendants
Martin Scorcese, Hugo
Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris
Terrence Malick, The Tree of Life
Rupert Wyatt, Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Paul Feig, Bridesmaids
Bennett Miller, Moneyball
Glen Ficarra and John Requa, Crazy, Stupid, Love.

Lead Actor
Tom Hardy, Warrior
Brad Pitt, Moneyball
George Clooney, The Descendants
Brad Pitt, The Tree of Life
James McAvoy, X-Men: First Class
Michael Fassbender, X-Men: First Class

Lead Actress
Charlize Theron, Young Adult
Viola Davis, The Help
Kristen Wiig, Bridesmaids
Michelle Williams, My Week with Marilyn
Kirsten Dunst, Melancholia
Emma Stone, The Help
Saoirse Ronan, Hanna

Supporting Actor
Corey Stoll, Midnight in Paris
Jonah Hill, Moneyball
Ryan Gosling, Crazy, Stupid, Love.
Patton Oswalt, Young Adult
Kevin Bacon, X-Men: First Class
Bruno Ganz, Unknown
Peter Sarsgaard, Green Lantern
Nick Nolte, Warrior

Supporting Actress
Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids
Jessica Chastain, The Help
Octavia Spencer, The Help
Judy Greer, The Descendants
Analeigh Tipton, Crazy, Stupid, Love.
Bryce Dallas Howard, The Help
Jessica Chastain, The Tree of Life
Lin Shaye, Insidious

Adapted Screenplay
Stan Chervin, Aaron Sorkin, and Steven Zaillian, Moneyball
Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller, The Muppets
Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, and Jim Rash, The Descendants
John Logan, Hugo

Original Screenplay
Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo, Bridesmaids
Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris
Dan Fogelman, Crazy, Stupid, Love.
Diablo Cody, Young Adult

Editing
Christopher Tellefsen, Moneyball

Cinematography
Emmanuel Lubezki, The Tree of Life
Manuel Alberto Claro, Melancholia
Robert Richardson, Hugo
Brendan Galvin, Immortals

Animated Film
Arthur Christmas

Score
Cliff Martinez, Drive
Michael Andrews, Bad Teacher
The Chemical Brothers, Hanna
Cliff Martinez, Contagion

Original Song
“Man or Muppet,” written by Bret McKenzie, The Muppets

Visual Effects
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Hugo

Best in Film 2011 Tracker, Part 3

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Since the last Tracker – posted on September 14 – I have seen Our Idiot Brother, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Drive, Moneyball, Straw Dogs, Contagion, The Ides of March, 50/50, Real Steel, and Paranormal Activity 3 in the theatre and Win Win on DVD.  It has been a mix.  Some of these movies will be a factor here; others, not so much.  There are several movies out in limited release that have so far proven difficult for me to catch – Take Shelter, Margin Call, Martha Marcy May Marlene, Like Crazy.  Hopefully, I will make it out to those as soon as I can, and since it’s November, there should be a notable release coming out just about every day.  Stay tuned.

Best Film
Bridesmaids
Moneyball
Crazy, Stupid, Love.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Midnight in Paris

Director
The orders for Film and Director aren’t quite matching up.  Constant re-evaluation will likely be taking place.
Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris
Terrence Malick, The Tree of Life
Rupert Wyatt, Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Paul Feig, Bridesmaids
Bennett Miller, Moneyball
Glen Ficarra and John Requa, Crazy, Stupid, Love.

Lead Actor
Tom Hardy, Warrior
Brad Pitt, Moneyball
Brad Pitt, The Tree of Life
James McAvoy, X-Men: First Class
Michael Fassbender, X-Men: First Class

Lead Actress
Viola Davis, The Help
Kristen Wiig, Bridesmaids
Emma Stone, The Help
Saoirse Ronan, Hanna

Supporting Actor
Corey Stoll, Midnight in Paris
Jonah Hill, Moneyball
Ryan Gosling, Crazy, Stupid, Love.
Kevin Bacon, X-Men: First Class
Bruno Ganz, Unknown
Peter Sarsgaard, Green Lantern
Nick Nolte, Warrior

Supporting Actress
Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids
Jessica Chastain, The Help
Octavia Spencer, The Help
Analeigh Tipton, Crazy, Stupid, Love.
Bryce Dallas Howard, The Help
Jessica Chastain, The Tree of Life
Lin Shaye, Insidious

Adapted Screenplay
Stan Chervin, Aaron Sorkin, and Steven Zaillian, Moneyball

Original Screenplay
Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo, Bridesmaids
Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris
Dan Fogelman, Crazy, Stupid, Love.

Editing
The seamless interweaving of the main story, flashbacks, and archival video and audio in Moneyball lead me to include Editing for the first time.
Christopher Tellefsen, Moneyball

Cinematography
I forgot to include cinematography on the first couple of trackers – I guess Tree of Life was just too obvious.
Emmanuel Lubezki, The Tree of Life

Score
Cliff Martinez, Drive
Michael Andrews, Bad Teacher
The Chemical Brothers, Hanna
Cliff Martinez, Contagion

Visual Effects
Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Best in Film 2011 Tracker, Part 2

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Since posting the first Best in Film Tracker, I have seen Final Destination 5, The Debt, Colombiana, Warrior, and Crazy, Stupid, Love.  Jessica Chastain performed another memorable performance in The Debt (but not quite on the level of what she did in The Help or The Tree of Life).  There has been a good deal of buzz building for Nick Nolte, but I was most impressed by Tom Hardy when it comes to the cast of Warrior.  The brooding hero has become a bit cliché lately, but Hardy made sure that Tommy Conlon’s moments of longing and forcefully workmanlike approach to fighting were filled with a clarity as to why he was so brooding.

Crazy, Stupid, Love. has vaulted near the top of my list for best films of the years.  The cast was solid all-around, though I am not sure if any one actor stood out, with the exception of Analeigh Tipton, who had what was surely the trickiest role among tricky roles.  And the more I think about it, the more I realize that Ryan Gosling was rather notable as well for all that he accomplished in a role that could have been one-note (so I guess there actually were some actors who stood out in that cast).  And credit in that regard must surely also go to the screenplay from Dan Fogelman.

Best Film
Bridesmaids
Crazy, Stupid, Love.
Midnight in Paris

Director
Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris
Terrence Malick, The Tree of Life
Paul Feig, Bridesmaids
Glen Ficarra and John Requa, Crazy, Stupid, Love.

Lead Actor
Tom Hardy, Warrior
Brad Pitt, The Tree of Life
James McAvoy, X-Men: First Class
Michael Fassbender, X-Men: First Class

Lead Actress
Viola Davis, The Help
Kristen Wiig, Bridesmaids
Emma Stone, The Help
Saoirse Ronan, Hanna

Supporting Actor
Corey Stoll, Midnight in Paris
Kevin Bacon, X-Men: First Class
Ryan Gosling, Crazy, Stupid, Love.
Bruno Ganz, Unknown
Peter Sarsgaard, Green Lantern
Nick Nolte, Warrior

Supporting Actress
Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids
Jessica Chastain, The Help
Octavia Spencer, The Help
Analeigh Tipton, Crazy, Stupid, Love.
Bryce Dallas Howard, The Help
Jessica Chastain, The Tree of Life
Lin Shaye, Insidious

Original Screenplay
Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo, Bridesmaids
Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris
Dan Fogelman, Crazy, Stupid, Love.

Score
Michael Andrews, Bad Teacher
The Chemical Brothers, Hanna

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