Movies of the Year Awards: 2008 Updated 3/2010

I’m going through and revising all the awards I’ve handed out the last few years. Ideally, these will continue to be updated as I see more movies from each year. So far I’ve done every year from 1946-2009; 1945 and earlier will also be forthcoming. I’m ranking the nominees in each category, first place being the winner.

Best Picture:

1. WALL-E
2. Sita Sings the Blues
3. A Christmas Tale
4. Waltz with Bashir
5. 24 City

Best Director:

1. Andrew Stanton, WALL-E
2. Nina Paley, Sita Sings The Blues
3. Arnauld Desplechin, A Christmas Tale
4. Jia Zhang-ke, 24 City
5. Olivier Assayas, Summer Hours

Actor:

1. Jeremy Renner, The Hurt Locker
2. Benicio Del Toro, Che
3. Clint Eastwood, Gran Torino
4. Sean Penn, Milk
5. Chiwetel Ejiofor, Redbelt

Actress:

1. Sally Hawkins, Happy Go Lucky
2. Michelle Williams, Wendy and Lucy
3. Maria Onetto, The Headless Woman
4. Lina Leandersson, Let The Right One In
5. Anne Hathaway, Rachel Getting Married

Supporting Actor:

1. Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight
2. Mathieu Almaric, A Christmas Tale
3. Bill Irwin, Rachel Getting Married
4. Eddie Marsan, Happy Go Lucky
5. Anthony Mackie, The Hurt Locker

Supporting Actress:

1. Kirin Kiki, Still Walking
2. Rosemarie DeWitt, Rachel Getting Married
3. Isabella Rossellini, Two Lovers
4. Anne Consigny, A Christmas Tale
5. Penelope Cruz, Vicky Christina Barcelona

Original Screenplay:

1. Arnaud Desplechin & Emmanuel Bourdieu, A Christmas Tale
2. Mike Leigh, Happy Go Lucky
3. Jia Zhang-ke & Zhai Yong-ming, 24 City
4. Olivier Assayas, Summer Hours
5. Charlie Kaufman, Synecdoche, New York

Adapted Screenplay:

1. Nina Paley, Sita Sings The Blues
2. Wong Kar-wai, Ashes of Time Redux
3. John Ajvide Lindqvist, Let The Right One In
4. Dustin Lance Black, Milk
5. Jonathan Raymond & Kelly Reichardt, Wendy and Lucy

Foreign Language Film:

1. A Christmas Tale
2. Waltz With Bashir
3. 24 City
4. Still Walking
5. Summer Hours

Documentary Feature:

1. Waltz With Bashir
2. 24 City
3. Rembrandt’s J’Accuse
4. Bigger, Stronger, Faster*
5. Roman Polanski: Wanted & Desired

Animated Feature:

1. WALL-E
2. Sita Sings The Blues
3. Waltz With Bashir
4. Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea

Film Editing:

1. A Christmas Tale
2. The Hurt Locker
3. Sparrow
4. Speed Racer
5. Waltz With Bashir

Cinematography:

1. Eric Gautier, A Christmas Tale & Summer Hours
2. Christopher Doyle, Ashes Of Time Redux
3. Yu Wang & Nelson Yu Lik-wai, 24 City
4. Joaquín Baca-Asay, Two Lovers
5. Barry Ackroyd, The Hurt Locker

Art Direction:

1. A Christmas Tale
2. Synecdoche, New York
3. Hellboy II: The Golden Army
4. Summer Hours
5. The Brothers Bloom

Costume Design:

1. Hellboy II: The Golden Army
2. Rachel Getting Married
3. Ashes Of Time Redux
4. Che
5. Milk

Make-Up:

1. The Dark Knight
2. Hellboy II: The Golden Army
3. Ong Bak 2: The Beginning

Sound Mixing:

1. WALL-E
2. Rachel Getting Married
3. Speed Racer
4. Cloverfield
5. Sita Sings the Blues

Sound Editing:

1. WALL-E
2. Iron Man
3. Cloverfield
4. Speed Racer
5. Hellboy II

Visual Effects:

1. Speed Racer
2. Hellboy II
3. Iron Man
4. Cloverfield
5. The Dark Knight

Original Score:

1. Thomas Newman, WALL-E
2. Max Richter, Waltz With Bashir
3. Grégoire Hetzel, A Christmas Tale
4. Xavier Jamaux and Fred Avril, Sparrow
5. A. R. Rahman, Slumdog Millionaire

Original Song:

1. “Down To Earth”, Peter Gabriel, WALL-E
2. “Agni Parisha”, Todd Michaelson, Sita Sings the Blues
3. “Dracula’s Lament”, Jason Segal, Forgetting Sarah Marshall
4. “Jai Ho”, A. R. Ragman and Gulzar, Slumdog Millionaire

Soundtrack:

1. Sita Sings The Blues
2. WALL-E
3. Gonzo: the Life And Work Of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson
4. Rachel Getting Married
5. Slumdog Millionaire

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Movies of the Year: 2009 (Part One)


I forgot to post this around New Year’s, it’s the list of the 62 best films I saw for the first time in 2009. Tons of great movies here.

1. Voyage To Italy
2. All That Jazz
3. Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles
4. Mulholland Dr.
5. Histoire(s) du cinema
6. Ruggles of Red Gap
7. Spirited Away
8. Going My Way
9. Wagon Master
10. City Girl
11. The Ghost & Mrs. Muir
12. Now Voyager
13. Maginificent Obsession
14. Waterloo Bridge
15. Age of Consent

16. The Bells of St. Mary’s
17. Simon of the Desert
18. The Girl Can’t Help It
19. Muriel
20. Kings and Queen
21. Devil’s Doorway
22. Footlight Parade
23. Godzilla
24. 3 Bad Men
25. Blast of Silence
26. Killer of Sheep
27. The Most Dangerous Game
28. Gates of Heaven
29. The Death of Mr. Lazarescu
30. Three Comrades


31. Spring in a Small Town
32. The Age of the Medici
33. Stalker
34. Trust
35. The Devil and Daniel Webster
36. The Taking of Power by Louis XIV
37. A Time to Love and a Time to Die
38. Woman on the Beach
39. Seventh Heaven
40. The Letter
41. Morvern Callar
42. Deception
43. Shogun Assassin
44. Midnight
45. A Married Woman

46. The Story of GI Joe
47. Show Boat
48. Rebels of the Neon God
49. Beau Geste
50. La Chinoise
51. You Only Live Once
52. Inland Empire
53. The Adventures of Prince Achmed
54. The Good Fairy
55. Wild Reeds
56. Woman is the Future of Man
57. Talk to Her
58. Friday Night
59. Far From Heaven
60. Mirror
61. Made In USA
62. Friday Night Lights

Movies of the Year: 2009


As we are now more than two months into 2010, it’s time to present The End of Cinema list of the Best Films of 2009. As usual in this annual post, I’ve gone ahead and included films that are not necessarily 2009 films (they’re the ones in italics), but the official list (to be found in perpetuity on The Big List) will include only films that were originally released, somewhere in the world, in 2009.

1. Inglourious Basterds
2. Sita Sings the Blues
3. A Christmas Tale
4. Fantastic Mr. Fox
5. Oxhide II
6. You, The Living
7. The Limits Of Control
8. Like You Know It All
9. 24 City
10. Still Walking
11. Summer Hours
12. A Serious Man
13. Sparrow
14. Two Lovers
15. Drag Me To Hell


16. Bad Lieutenant: Port Of Call New Orleans
17. The Hurt Locker
18. Written By
19. Eccentricities of a Blond Hair Girl
20. Up
21. (500) Days of Summer
22. Bluebeard
23. Tulpan
24. Star Trek
25. Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea
26. Ballast
27. Rembrandt’s J’Accuse
28. In Search Of Beethoven
29. Bright Star
30. The Headless Woman
31. Air Doll


32. In the Loop
33. Public Enemies
34. Unmade Beds
35. Moon
36. Coraline
37. Face
38. Pelléas and Mélisandre: The Song of the Blind
39. Adventureland
40. The September Issue
41. The Young Victoria
42. Ong Bak 2: The Beginning
43. Funny People
44. Good Cats
45. ZMD: Zombies of Mass Destruction
46. Anvil! The Story of Anvil


47. Of Time and the City
48. Dakota Skye
49. Food, Inc
50. Way of Nature
51. An Education
52. Avatar
53. Where The Wild Things Are
54. 1939: Hollywood’s Greatest Year
55. Watchmen
56. The Cove
57. District 9
58. Kamui
59. Harry Potter VI
60. Queer China, ‘Comrade’ China
61. Humpday
62. Moroccan Labyrinth
63. Dear Zachary
64. Wolverine

Movies of the Year Awards: 2009

And here are the winners of this year’s Endys, presented along with my Oscar predictions, which haven’t been all that good of late. This year’s nominations can been found here. As always, only films that entered the cinema universe in 2009 are eligible, which eliminates from competition such fine films as: Sita Sings the Blues, A Christmas Tale, You the Living, Summer Hours, Still Walking, 24 City, Sparrow, Two Lovers, The Hurt Locker, Tulpan, Ballast and Rembrandt’s J’Accuse. And, of course, only movies I’ve seen can be eligible for an Endy.

Best Picture:

Endy: Inglourious Basterds
Oscar: The Hurt Locker

Best Director:

Endy: Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds
Oscar: Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker

Actor:

Endy: Nicholas Cage, Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans
Oscar: Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart

Actress:

Endy: Carey Mulligan, An Education
Oscar: Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side

Supporting Actor:

Endy: Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds
Oscar: Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds

Supporting Actress:

Endy: Mélanie Laurent, Inglourious Basterds
Oscar: Mo’Nique, Precious

Original Screenplay:

Endy: Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds
Oscar: Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds

Adapted Screenplay:

Endy: Wes Anderson & Noah Baumbach, Fantastic Mr. Fox
Oscar: Jason Reitman & Sheldon Turner, Up in the Air

Foreign Language Film:

Endy: Oxhide II
Oscar: El Secreto de Sus Ojos

Documentary Feature:

Endy: In Search of Beethoven
Oscar: The Cove

Animated Feature:

Endy: Fantastic Mr. Fox
Oscar: Up

Film Editing:

Endy: Inglourious Basterds
Oscar: The Hurt Locker

Cinematography:

Endy: Greig Fraser, Bright Star
Oscar: Barry Ackroyd, The Hurt Locker

Art Direction:

Endy: Fantastic Mr. Fox
Oscar: Sherlock Holmes

Costume Design:

Endy: Fantastic Mr. Fox
Oscar: The Young Victoria

Make-Up:

Endy: Drag Me to Hell
Oscar: Star Trek

Sound Mixing:

Endy: Inglourious Basterds
Oscar: The Hurt Locker

Sound Editing:

Endy: Avatar
Oscar: Avatar

Visual Effects:

Endy: Avatar
Oscar: Avatar

Original Score:

Endy: Boris, The Limits of Control
Oscar: Michael Giacchino, Up

Original Song:

Oscar: “The Weary Kind”, Crazy Heart

Documentary Short:

Oscar: China’s Unnatural Disaster: Tears of the Sichuan Province

Animated Short:

Oscar: A Matter of Loaf and Death

Live Action Short:

Oscar: Instead of Abracadabra

Soundtrack:

Endy: Adventureland

Movie Roundup: Oscar Eve Edition


The September Issue – RJ Cutler’s documentary is billed as being the Anna Wintour movie, but in fact is more about what its title claims it to be: the making of the September issue of Vogue magazine. There is, of course, quite a bit about the impenetrable Ms. Wintour, but because of her famous iciness (and perhaps out of a desire to show in her a better light than her relatively monstrous reputation) the heart of the film ends up elsewhere, in the form of Vogue’s Creative Director Grace Coddington. Coddington, a former model with a wild head of orange hair, struggles to get her images, some of them quite stunning, into the magazine while meeting Wintour’s often gnomic demands. The sense we get is of a real artist struggling to share her vision with a mass market audience (most of whom probably aren’t the least bit interested in her artistry). That Wintour has been able to successfully balance both the creative and business drives of her enterprise is a testament to her managerial abilities. And her remoteness, we might conclude (though this case isn’t really made by the film) is both the cause and consequence of her success. Cutler tells a fascinating story that isn’t particularly inventive but is none the less entertaining and, as one would expect in a documentary about fashion, full of interesting characters and beautiful images.


Intolerance: Love’s Struggle Through the Ages – I finally sat down to watch one of the most celebrated films of all-time, DW Griffith’s four-part epic about love that was reportedly his response to the criticisms of his earlier pro-KKK blockbuster Birth of a Nation. I’ve never learned whether this film was meant to be an atonement for that one’s sins (the Intolerance being the source material that he later realized was in fact evil) or the critics and protesters who tried (and in some places succeeded) in getting the film banned (the Intolerance being those who would dare to limit Griffith’s free speech rights). Watching the film doesn’t really answer that question, as it treats both Love and Intolerance more as organizing principles than as themes to be examined. The film is, as reputed, a marvel of technique, if it doesn’t invent it certainly consolidates and epitomizes the state of the art in filmmaking as of 1916: it’s a virtual instruction manual in the art of parallel editing, as well as the use of close-ups and crane shots (all of which were fairly novel at the time). More amazing to me, though, was how perfectly structured the film is. After several explanatory titles explaining the nature of the film (intercutting four different stories in four different times), Griffith gradually brings less and less attention to the transitions. The individual stories themselves don’t say much about the theme delineated in the title: some have very little to do with Intolerance, some very little to do with Love. It’s only when they are told as a whole does Griffith’s conception make a kind of sense. It’s not an intellectual argument so much as an emotional one, where the Modern Day Love story gives emotional resonance to the Intolerant brutality of the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, and the detail of the sectarian strife in Ancient Babylon is given added resonance by the Passion in the Jerusalem story. That the whole ends up being greater than the sum of any one of its parts is the ultimate argument in favor of Griffith’s parallel editing style: no wonder it won. It deserves its reputation as one of the great works of cinema, and should replace the detestable Birth of a Nation in curricula everywhere. Also fun, look for people in small parts who later became famous: directors Frank Borzage, Tod Browning, WS Van Dyke, actor Donald Crisp and the virtually unrecognizable character actor Eugene Pallette. The #1 film of 1916.


Ong Bak 2: The Beginning – Tony Jaa’s prequel to his breakthrough low-budget action film about a country kid who goes to the big city to retrieve his village’s stolen artifacts. That film, and Jaa’s follow-up The Protector, had a lot of goofy, B-Movie charm (“You killed my father. . . and STOLE MY ELEPHANT!”) whereas this latest film is a big budget, CGI filled spectacle that’s one of the most brutal and emotionally bleak martial arts films I’ve ever seen. Jaa plays the sole survivor of a noble family that’s been wiped out by bad guys. He’s rescued and trained in many combat skills by a band of outlaws, of whom he becomes the eventual leader. He then embarks on a quest for bloody revenge. Jaa hasn’t improved much as an actor (his near refusal to speak in any of his films was comical in the first two, here it makes him kind of boring), but his stunt work is again extraordinary. The film doesn’t have anything as formally exciting as the repeated shots in the first Ong Bak or the already legendary tracking shot in The Protector, but the last half hour or so of the film, an extended action sequence (which starts, surprisingly enough, with a tremendous dance sequence by costar Primorata Dejudom) is as intense and breathtaking as anything he’s done before. This is only the first part of the prequel story, here’s hoping Jaa lets a little light into the next chapter. The #39 film of 2008.

Movies of the Year Award Nominations: 2009

It’s Oscartime again, and that means it’s time to hand out the annual End of Cinema awards (the Endys) for all the films and performances that will doubtless be overlooked this weekend. Only films with an imdb date of 2009 are eligible (which makes it hard, because many of the best 2009 films haven’t even been released in this country yet, but these are the rules. Someday, I’ll get around to revising previous years’ award winners with all the movies I’ve seen since handing them out.) These are the nominees; the winners, and the Movies of the Year list for 2009, will follow on Oscar morning.

Best Picture:

1. Fantastic Mr. Fox
2. Inglourious Basterds
3. The Limits of Control
4. Oxhide II
5. A Serious Man

Best Director:

1. Wes Anderson, Fantastic Mr. Fox
2. Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds
3. Jim Jarmusch, The Limits of Control
4. Liu Jiayin, Oxhide II
5. Joel & Ethan Coen, A Serious Man

Actor:

1. Nicholas Cage, Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans
2. Ben Whishaw, Bright Star
3. Isaach De Bankolé, The Limits of Control
4. Sam Rockwell, Moon
5. Michael Stuhlbarg, A Serious Man

Actress:

1. Abbie Cornish, Bright Star
2. Alison Lohman, Drag Me to Hell
3. Carey Mulligan, An Education
4. Déborah François, Unmade Beds
5. Emily Blunt, The Young Victoria

Supporting Actor:

1. Alfred Molina, An Education
2. Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds
3. Michael Fassbender, Inglourious Basterds
4. Brad Pitt, Inglourious Basterds
5. Peter Capaldi, In the Loop

Supporting Actress:

1. Marilou Lopes-Benites, Bluebeard
2. Melanie Laurent, Inglourious Basterds
3. Diane Kreuger, Inglourious Basterds
4. Tilda Swinton, The Limits of Control
5. Kelly Lin, Written By

Original Screenplay:

1. Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds
2. Hong Sang-soo, Like You Know It All
3. Liu Jiayin, Oxhide II
4. Joel & Ethan Coen, A Serious Man
5. Wai Ka-fai & Au Kin-yee, Written By

Adapted Screenplay:

1. William Finkelstein, Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans
2. Catherine Breillat, Bluebeard
3. Manoel de Oliveira, Eccentricities of a Blond Hair Girl
4. Wes Anderson & Noah Baumbach, Fantastic Mr. Fox
5. Armando Iannucci et al, In the Loop

Foreign Language Film:

1. Oxhide II
2. Like You Know It All
3. Written By
4. Eccentricities of a Blond Hair Girl
5. Bluebeard

Documentary Feature:

1. 1939: Hollywood’s Greatest Year
2. The Cove
3. Food, Inc
4. In Search of Beethoven
5. The September Issue

Animated Feature:

1. Coraline
2. Fantastic Mr. Fox
3. Up

Film Editing:

1. Drag Me to Hell
2. Fantastic Mr. Fox
3. Inglourious Basterds
4. Public Enemies
5. A Serious Man

Cinematography:

1. Greig Fraser, Bright Star
2. Robert Richardson, Inglourious Basterds
3. Christopher Doyle, The Limits of Control
4. Dante Spinotti, Public Enemies
5. Richard Dawkins, A Serious Man*

Should be Roger Deakins, of course. An interesting Freudian slip there, I think.

Art Direction:

1. Fantastic Mr. Fox
2. Inglourious Basterds
3. The Limits of Control
4. Public Enemies
5. A Serious Man

Costume Design:

1. Bright Star
2. Fantastic Mr. Fox
3. The Limits of Control
4. Public Enemies
5. The Young Victoria

Make-Up:

1. District 9
2. Drag Me to Hell
3. Star Trek
4. Watchmen
5. The Young Victoria

Sound Mixing:

1. Avatar
2. Inglourious Basterds
3. Public Enemies
4. A Serious Man
5. Star Trek

Sound Editing:

1. Avatar
2. Fantastic Mr. Fox
3. Public Enemies
4. Star Trek
5. Up

Visual Effects:

1. Avatar
2. District 9
3. Star Trek
4. Watchmen
5. Written By

Original Score:

1. Paul Englishby, An Education
2. Alexandre Desplat, Fantastic Mr. Fox
3. Boris, The Limits of Control
4. Carter Burwell, A Serious Man
5. Michael Giacchino, Up

Soundtrack:

1. Adventureland
2. Fantastic Mr. Fox
3. Inglourious Basterds
4. In Search of Beethoven
5. The Limits of Control