The Envelope Please

Awards season is upon us. Here’s what the St. Louis Film Critics deemed the tops in cinematic excellence in 2010:
Best Film
Nominees: Black Swan, The Fighter, Inception, The King’s Speech, The Social Network
Winner: The Social Network; Runner-up: The King’s Speech; My vote: The Fighter
I probably would have voted for “True Grit” if it had made the cut. As it was, I was torn between “Social Network,” “The King’s Speech” and “The Fighter.” I finally went with the latter because, when it doubt, go with the movie that has Batman.

Best Director

Nominees: Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan); Danny Boyle (127 Hours); David Fincher (The Social Network); Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech); Christopher Nolan (Inception)

Winner: David Fincher; Runner-up: Christopher Nolan; My vote: David Fincher.

Best Actor

Nominees: Javier Bardem (Biutiful);  Jeff Bridges (True Grit); Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network); Colin Firth (The King’s Speech); James Franco (127 Hours)

Winner: Colin Firth;

Runner-up: James Franco; My vote: Colin Firth

All strong nominees. No, I didn’t vote for Colin Firth just to appease The Wife.

Best Actress

Nominees: Natalie Portman (Black Swan); Naomi Watts (Fair Game); Jennifer Lawrence (Winter’s Bone); Nicole Kidman (Rabbit Hole); Noomi Rapace (The Girl who Played with Fire)

Winner: Natalie Portman; Runner-up: Jennifer Lawrence

I did not see the movie about the girl who played with fire, so I didn’t vote. Had I voted, I would have gone with Jennifer Lawrence. Natalie Portman certainly earned that win even though I’m not a big fan of “Black Swan.”

Best Supporting Actor

Nominees: Christian Bale (The Fighter); John Hawkes (Winter’s Bone); Jeremy Renner (The Town); Sam Rockwell (Conviction); Geoffery Rush – King’s Speech

Winner: Christian Bale; Runner-up: Geoffrey Rush; My vote: Christian Bale

Batman vs. Hawkeye? Man, that’s a brutal choice. Actually I was torn between Bale and Rush, but Bale so completely became a different person that I had to go with him.

Best Supporting Actress

Nominees: Amy Adams (The Fighter); Helena Bonham Carter (The King’s Speech); Barbara Hershey (Black Swan); Melissa Leo (The Fighter); Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit)

Winner: Melissa Leo; Runner-up: Hailee Steinfeld; My vote: Hailee Steinfeld

Not sure why Hailee Steinfeld is in the supporting category (maybe that’s why she lost); she’s probably in the film more than Jeff Bridges or any other actor and she’s pretty much the only actress. Anyway, she was great so I had to vote for her.

Best Cinematography (photography, not special effects)

Nominees: 127 Hours (Enrique Chediak and Anthony Dod Mantle); Black Swan (Matthew Libatique); Inception (Wally Pfister); The King’s Speech (Danny Cohen); True Grit (Roger Deakins)

Winner: True Grit; Runner-up: 127 Hours; My vote: 127 Hours

Best Music (soundtrack or score)

Nominees: Black Swan; Burlesque; The Fighter; Inception; Social Network

Winner: Social Network; Runners-up: Inception and Black Swan (tie)

I don’t recall any of these films having exceptionally memorable scores. I do recall “The Fighter” having a nice classic rock soundtrack which came on at blaring loud volumes which got annoying. I didn’t see “Burlesque” so I didn’t vote.

Visual Effects

Nominees: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1; Inception; Kick-Ass; Scott Pilgrim vs The World; Tron

Winner: Inception; Runner-up: Scott Pilgrim; My vote: Inception

Best Original Screenplay

Nominees: Black Swan (Mark Heyman, Andres Heinz and John McLaughlin); Biutiful (Alejandro González Iñárritu, Armando Bo and Nicolas Giacobone); The Fighter (Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy, Eric Johnson and Keith Dorrington); Inception (Christopher Nolan); The King’s Speech (David Seidler)

Winner: The King’s Speech; Runner-up: Inception; My vote: The Fighter

Best Adapted Screenplay

Nominees: 127 Hours (Danny Boyle and Simon Beaufoy); Scott Pilgrim vs the World (Edgar Wright and Michael Bacall); The Social Network (Aaron Sorkin); True Grit (Ethan Coen and Joel Coen); Winter’s Bone (Debra Granik and Anne Rosellini)

Winner: The Social Network; Runner-up: Winter’s Bone; My vote: The Social Network

Best Documentary

Nominees: A Film Unfinished; Restrepo; The Tillman Story; Waiting for Superman

Winner: The Tillman Story; Runner-up: Waiting for Superman; My vote: A Film Unfinished

You mean I watched that Joan Rivers documentary for nothing? I think this is the first time I’d seen all the nominated documentaries. They were all strong nominees. I thought ‘Waiting for Superman’ was the weakest but it did have some powerful moments.

Best Foreign-Language Film

Nominees: Biutiful; The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo; Micmacs; North Face; A Prophet

Winner: Micmacs; Runners-up: Biutiful, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, A Prophet (tie)

Foreign language films are not my specialty.

Best Animated Film

Nominees: Despicable Me; How To Train Your Dragon; Legend of the Guardians of Ga’Hoole; Tangled; Toy Story 3

Winner: Toy Story 3; Runner-up: How to Train Your Dragon; My vote: Toy Story 3

Ah, my specialty. I can’t believe I had to watch that owl movie, but to be fair, the animation on it was impressive. I almost voted for ‘Despicable Me,’ but then I decided to give ‘Toy Story 3’ another viewing Saturday morning and I’m glad I did. I forgot how smart and multi-layered that film was and all the flaws I remembered from the initial viewing didn’t seem that important. My apologies to Pixar, how could I have doubted you? They should just rename this the Pixar Award and save everyone time.

Best Comedy

Nominees: Easy A; I Love You Phillip Morris; Jack Ass 3D; Micmacs; Scott Pilgrim vs the World

Winner: Scott Pilgrim; Runner-up: Micmacs

My stubborn refusal to subject myself to “Jack Ass 3D” kept me from voting here. If I had, I would have gone with Scott Pilgrim.

Best Artistic/Creative Film (for excellence in art-house cinema)

Nominees: Scott Pilgrim vs. The World; Micmacs; Winter’s Bone; King’s Speech; Trash Humpers

Winner: Micmacs; Runner-up: Scott Pilgrim

No, I don’t know what “MicMacs” is either. I think it’s French. I probably would have gone with “Winter’s Bone.”

Moving the Medium Forward (for technical/artistic innovative that advances the medium)

Nominees: 127 Hours; Inception; Kick Ass; Scott Pilgrim vs. The World; Toy Story 3; Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives

Winner: Inception; Runner-up: Scott Pilgrim

‘Uncle Boonmee” was the spoiler in this category. I probably would have gone with “Inception.”

Special Merit (for best scene, cinematic technique or other memorable aspect or moment)

Nominees: – 127 Hours: the zoom-up scene which begins with a tight shot on Aron (James Franco) as he is screaming and pulls out to a wide shot of a large land area, showing how isolated he was from other humans; Inception: the zero-gravity hotel fight with the tumbling hallway scene with Joseph Gordon-Levitt; Harry Potter and Deathly Hallows, Part 1: the “obliviate” scene in which Hermione erases her parents’ memories of her; Kick-Ass: the Hit-Girl kill spree; Easy A: the John Hughes tribute near the beginning.

Winner: 127 Hours, Inception (tie); My vote: Kick Ass.

I just had to vote for Hit Girl. Chloe Moretz deserves some love for her scene-stealing work in “Kick Ass” and “Let Me In.”

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