Opinions are like Direct-To-DVD films: They’re cheap, readily available, and nobody really wants to hear about them. That’s why I usually try to focus my blogging on objective - or at least strategic - assessments of what Oscar voters will do, instead of bombarding you with my personal tastes and quirks. But the Large Association of Movie Blogs is currently hosting their annual LIONS For LAMBS Awards, which is our own chance to vote for our best and worst of the year. And since I’m filling out my ballot, I figured that I might as well share my choices with all of you.
Please note that these are NOT predictions. I haven’t received any gift baskets from Harvey Weinstein (although I’m not opposed to getting them in the future!). I haven’t voted based on buzz or coattails or a witty conversation at a Hollywood cocktail party. There are no automatic nominations just because you’re a big star or a career veteran or shared screen time with someone else who gave a great performance. These are simply my favorites for the year, and I’ve tried to judge each element on its own merits.
And as you’ll see below, my love of the Oscars does NOT mean that I always agree with them. You can tell me whether I did better or worse in the comments below.
My Top Ten Films of 2012
1. Cloud Atlas
2. Les Miserables
4. Life Of Pi
5. Anna Karenina
6. Beasts Of The Southern Wild
7. The Perks Of Being A Wallflower
8. Rust And Bone
9. Keep The Lights On
Honorable Mentions in no particular order: Zero Dark Thirty, Skyfall, The Dark Knight Rises, Looper, Silver Linings Playbook, Django Unchained, The Words, End Of Watch, The Master, Prometheus, Wreck-It Ralph.
1. Ang Lee for Life Of Pi
2. Lana Wachowski, Tom Tykwer and Andy Wachowski for Cloud Atlas
3. Joe Wright for Anna Karenina
4. Ben Affleck for Argo
5. Paul Thomas Anderson for The Master
Honorable Mentions in no particular order: Kathryn Bigelow for Zero Dark Thirty, Benh Zeitlin for Beasts Of The Southern Wild, Christopher Nolan for The Dark Knight Rises, Steven Spielberg for Lincoln, Tom Hooper for Les Miserables, Ira Sachs for Keep The Lights On, Wes Anderson for Moonrise Kingdom, Michael Haneke for Amour
Best Lead Actor
1. Joaquin Phoenix for The Master
2. Daniel Day Lewis for Lincoln
3. Jamie Foxx for Django Unchained
4. Thure Lindhardt for Keep The Lights On
5. Suraj Sharma for Life Of Pi
Honorable Mentions in no particular order: Jean-Louis Trintignant for Amour, Hugh Jackman for Les Miserables, Matthias Schoenaerts for Rust And Bone, Denzel Washington for Flight, John Hawkes for The Sessions, Bradley Cooper for Silver Linings Playbook, Jake Gyllenhaal for End Of Watch, Bradley Cooper for The Words, Joseph Gordon-Levitt for Looper, Ewan McGregor for The Impossible, John C. Reilly for Wreck-It Ralph.
Best Lead Actress
1. Emmanuelle Riva for Amour
2. Jessica Chastain for Zero Dark Thirty
3. Quvenzhane Wallis for Beasts Of The Southern Wild
4. Marion Cotillard for Rust And Bone
5. Naomi Watts for The Impossible
Honorable Mentions in no particular order: Jennifer Lawrence for Silver Linings Playbook, Jordin Sparks for Sparkle, Keira Knightley for Anna Karenina, Helen Hunt for The Sessions, Halle Berry for Cloud Atlas, Judi Dench for Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Meryl Streep for Hope Springs, Helen Mirren for Hitchcock, Maggie Smith for Quartet.
Best Supporting Actor
1. Leonardo DiCaprio for Django Unchained
2. Javier Bardem for Skyfall
3. Dwight Henry for Beasts Of The Southern Wild
4. Michael Pena for End Of Watch
5. Ezra Miller for The Perks Of Being A Wallflower
Honorable Mentions in no particular order: Jim Broadbent for Cloud Atlas, Tom Holland for The Impossible, Zachary Booth for Keep The Lights On, Christoph Waltz for Django Unchained, Eddie Redmayne for Les Miserables, Aaron Tveit for Les Miserables, Jason Clarke for Zero Dark Thirty, Jeremy Irons for The Words, Tommy Lee Jones for Lincoln, James Spader for Lincoln, Philip Seymour Hoffman for The Master, Tom Courtenay for Quartet.
Best Supporting Actress
1. Anne Hathaway for Les Miserables
2. Carmen Ejogo for Sparkle
3. Doona Bae for Cloud Atlas
4. Samantha Barks for Les Miserables
5. Sally Field for Lincoln
Honorable Mentions in no particular order: Judi Dench for Skyfall, Pauline Collins for Quartet, Anne Hathaway for The Dark Knight Rises, Emma Watson for The Perks Of Being A Wallflower, Olivia Colman for Hyde Park On Hudson, Zoe Saldana for The Words, Maggie Smith for Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Amy Adams for The Master, Kerry Washington for Django Unchained, Kelly Reilly for Flight, Nicole Kidman for The Paperboy, Jane Lynch for Wreck-It Ralph, Sarah Silverman for Wreck-It Ralph.
1. Cloud Atlas
2. Rust And Bone
3. Django Unchained
4. Keep The Lights On
5. The Perks Of Being A Wallflower
Honorable Mentions in no particular order: Beasts Of The Southern Wild, Life Of Pi, Argo, Lincoln, Les Miserables, The Words, Looper, Zero Dark Thirty, End Of Watch, Wreck-It Ralph.
1. Searching For Sugar Man
2. How To Survive A Plague
3. 5 Broken Cameras
4. Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry
5. The House I Live In
Best Foreign Film
1. Rust And Bone (France)
2. Amour (Austria)
3. No (Chile)
4. Bwakaw (Philippines)
5. A Royal Affair (Denmark)
Worst Films Of The Year
I abstained from this category. I’m very lucky to be one of those bloggers who picks which movies I get to see, rather than trying to catch every new release. Not only do I skip any film that might come close to qualifying here, but I generally don’t even do enough research to guess which ones deserve this “honor”.
If you’re a LAMB member who hasn’t cast your vote yet, you can do so until February 9 HERE.
The results from our association will be announced one category per day, running from February 15 to February 24. You can track those as they come out, as well as check out past winners, by clicking HERE.