Friday, January 7, 2011

The 2010 Walrus Awards

Yesterday I brought you the Top 10 Best Films of 2010, but today there's still plenty of praise to go around. Here's a list of people I'd give hypothetical giant golden walruses to for their work in movies over the past year.

Best Director

Christopher Nolan, Inception

Christopher Nolan just keeps pushing us. In The Dark Knight he gave us the greatest superhero film ever made, and this year he gave us one of the most exhilarating movie experiences of the last decade (at least). Inception was my favorite film of the year, and it's because of Nolan's ambitious, triumphant direction.

Best Screenwriter

Aaron Sorkin, The Social Network

The West Wing scribe returned to prominence last year with a screenplay that sings with perfect dialogue, insanely-good pacing and a sense of character that makes his fellows look like apes with typewriters. He's still one of the best storytellers we have, and 2010 was the year he retook the big screen.

Best Actor

Colin Firth, The King's Speech

This was a year filled with great performances, but Firth's vulnerable, complex outing as King George VI was by far the most stirring. Simply phenomenal.

Best Actress

Natalie Portman, Black Swan

It takes a tremendous talent to somehow outshine the visual artistry and psychological roar of Darren Aronofsky's film, but Portman pulls it off. She is unquestionably the film's center, and finds humanity in her role even when the film reaches its most monstrous moments.

Best Supporting Actor

Christian Bale, The Fighter

It's not the physical transformation, no matter how impressive that is (and it is). It's Bale's complete immersion into jittery, crack-addicted Dickey Eklund as he fights to relive his glory days.

Best Supporting Actress

Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right

The "supporting actress" moniker doesn't quite fit here, but Bening deserves acknowledgment for her stunning performance as one half of a lesbian couple in crisis. A screen goddess at the top of her game.

Best Newcomer

Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit

Steinfeld's performance is one that manages to steal scenes from Jeff Bridges. That alone is enough to earn her a commendation. The fact that everything she does in this film is equally amazing is enough to earn her a career.

Best Documentary

Grant Morrison: Talking with Gods

An inspiring, no-holds-barred look at one of the most acclaimed, controversial, enigmatic and flat out fascinating creative minds of the last three decades: comics writer Grant Morrison, author of The Invisibles, Arkham Asylum, JLA and Final Crisis. This film is not only the best documentary I saw in 2010. It's also an entertaining look at a literary rock star, a peek into the brilliance of comic book creators, and an extremely well-made film.

Best Animated Film

Despicable Me

I loved everything about this film. It just made me happy, and far too many films leave me puzzled or let down these days. The massive dose of joy this one dosed out was enough to make me fall in love.

Best Comedy

Get Him to the Greek

The funniest film I saw all year, and also one of the most honest. It makes no apologies for its crudity, or its brutality (and yes, there is brutality here). And don't make the "I'm so sick of Russell Brand" excuse. You're not sick of him. You're sick of the version of him you hear about on E! He's a talented comedian, and we must deal with that.

Best Action Film


For reasons previously stated, along with a healthy dollop of Joseph Gordon-Levitt fighting in zero gravity (suck it, Keanu).

Best Horror Film

Black Swan

Yes, I'm serious. This movie gets under your skin like no Hollywood torture porn or mockumentary about ghosts ever could. It's squeal-inducing without being disgusting, tense without resorting to cheap scares, and so psychologically dense that it'll hit you in your dreams. For all its high-art posturing, Black Swan is really a flick about the monster on the other side of the mirror.

Best Romantic Comedy

Going the Distance

A surprisingly honest yet easily palatable love story that's got plenty of mush for the girls and plenty of raunch for the guys. There are still good films in this genre if you're willing to look.

Best Cast

The Social Network

This flick is full of amazing performances by young actors who give it everything they've got. They know they're doing something important, and they rise to the challenge. In an age when most of Young Hollywood is about the eye candy, a film with such across-the-board talent is a rare delight.

Best On-Screen Couple

Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush, The King's Speech

Yes, two dudes. No, not romantic. For all its weight of history, The King's Speech is largely a film about the often difficult friendship between two men, and watching two of the greatest actors in the world fill that bill is one of the great joys at the movies over the past year.

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