2009 seems to have been a decent year for movies... better than 2008 and possibly 2007 too. Perhaps we've finally emerged from the black whole of bad writing caused by the writers strike, though I think we're still seeing some of the effects. In any case, the top 10 has come together relatively quickly, though the last couple of spots are still a bit of a challenge to fill. There are a couple of movies I'm still hoping to catch up with before I release my top 10, but there's no reason to delay the awards for that. Besides, one of the points of these awards is that they allow me to give some love to films that I like, but which aren't necessarily great or are otherwise flawed (as such, the categories may seem a bit eclectic). Some of these movies will end up on my top 10, but the grand majority of them will not.
The rules for this are the same as last year: Nominated movies must have been released in 2009 (in the US) and I have to have seen the movie (and while I have seen a lot of movies, I don't pretend to have seen a comprehensive selection - don't let that stop you from suggesting something though). Also, I suppose I should mention the requisite disclaimer that these sorts of lists are inherently subjective and personal. But that's all part of the fun, right?
It's been a pretty lackluster year for villainy... Some easy choices, but this was a hard category to populate this year. As with previous years, my picks in this category are for individuals, not groups (i.e. no vampires or zombies as a group).
- Jason Voorhees, played by Derek Mears in Friday the 13th
- Colonel Hans Landa, played by Christoph Waltz in Inglourious Basterds
- George Harvey, played by Stanley Tucci in The Lovely Bones
- Nero, played by Eric Bana in Star Trek
It's been a pretty damn good year for heroic badassery. Again limited to individuals and not groups.
- Saya, played by Gianna Jun in Blood: The Last Vampire
- Charles Bronson, played by Tom Hardy in Bronson
- Zen, played by Yanin Vismitananda in Chocolate
- Chev Chelios, played by Jason Statham in Crank: High Voltage
- Shosanna Dreyfus, played by Mélanie Laurent in Inglourious Basterds
- Lieutenant Aldo Raine, played by Brad Pitt in Inglourious Basterds
- Bryan Mills, played by Liam Neeson in Taken
- Rorschach, played by Jackie Earle Haley in Watchmen
Not a particularly strong year when it comes to comedy, but there still seem to be plenty of good performances, even in films I wasn't particularly fond of...
- Zach Galifianakis in The Hangover
- Michael Peña in Observe and Report
- Jason Segel in I Love You, Man
- Sacha Baron Cohen in Brüno
- Matt Damon in The Informant!
Not a particularly huge year for breakthrough performances either, but definitely several interesting choices. As with previous years, my main criteria for this category was if I watched a movie, then immediately looking up the actor/actress on IMDB to see what else they've done (or where they came from). This sometimes happens for even well established actors/actresses, and this year was no exception.
- Tom Hardy in Bronson
- Zach Galifianakis in The Hangover
- Rinko Kikuchi in The Brothers Bloom
- Christoph Waltz in Inglourious Basterds
- Zoe Saldana in Star Trek and Avatar
Sometimes even bad movies can look really great...
I'm a total genre hound, despite genres generally receiving very little attention from critics. Interestingly, SF makes a pretty good showing this year, even though I wish there was a little more science in the fiction for most of the nominees. As usual, some solid horror films round out the list well enough...
Honestly, I only saw a few sequels this year, so this was a difficult category to populate (as it is every year). Still, there were a few decent options (even if I cheated a little with one of them, which is more prequel/reboot than sequel)...
Always a difficult award to figure out, as there are different ways in which a movie can disappoint. Usually, expectations play just as big a part of this as the actual quality of the film, and it's possible that a decent movie can win the award because of astronomical expectations. This year had several obvious choices though.
This was a decent year for action, though not especially a standout year. This award isn't for individual action sequences, but rather an overall estimation of each film.
Not a particularly strong year for the plot twist either, though there are a few standouts.
This is always a strange category to populate because the concept is a bit nebulous, but nevertheless, there are a few interesting choices...
A 2008 movie I didn't get to see until 2009... This is always a problem for the amateur movie lover. Towards the end of the year, 500 movies come out, but they only play in New York or LA for a grand total of like 3 hours (enough for 2 showings at each theater!) Plus, there's always a movie I dismissed and neglected to see which I end up seeing a year later and loving. Last year, I was having so much trouble putting together a top 10 that I even revised the list to include Mad Detective. But there were a couple other interesting 2008 movies that I didn't catch up with until later...
It looks like Ingourious Basterds is leading the way with 5 solid nominations. Following that with a solid 4 nominations is Star Trek. Surprisingly, Avatar was also nominated for 4 awards, but one of those is "Biggest Disappointment" which I think puts it behind Trek. At 3 nominations, we've got Watchmen and Crank: High Voltage, while a whole slew of other films garnered 2 noms, and an even larger amount earned a single nomination. As I mentioned earlier, I'm going to give myself a week to think about each of these. I might end up adding to the nominations if I end up seeing something new. Winners will be announced starting next Sunday or Monday. As with the last few years, there will be a small set of Arbitrary Awards after the standard awards are given out, followed by the top 10.