2011 Kaedrin Movie Awards

Welcome to the 6th Annual Kaedrin Movie Awards! As of right now, I’ve seen 65 movies that would be considered 2011 releases. Add in the 19 movies I saw at Fantastic Fest, and that brings the grand total up to 84 movies, a record for me. This post thus commences my end of the year recap, only about one week late! [Previous Installments here: 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010] I’ll post the nominations now, and like last year, I’ll post all the winners next weekend.

2011 has been a strange year of movies. Nowhere near the lows caused by (or maybe blamed on) writers strike (or the first half of 2010 for that matter), but I don’t know that it ever really soared either. Looking through the movies I’ve seen this year, there are lots of standouts, but nothing that really hit me full on. It’s not a year of mediocrity, really. There were a ton of good, above average movies this year… but few that approached perfection (usually there’s at least one or two for me). I’m not even really close to compiling my top 10, but I have a feeling that every selection on that list will end up featuring some sort of caveat or flaw that I’m not entirely comfortable with (again, there are usually at least a few movies that are definites). There are still a few movies I want to see before I finish my top 10, but one interesting side effect of my feelings on film this year is that they’re really perfect for the movie awards. 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 (and thus 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 2011 (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? So here are the nominees for this year’s awards:

Best Villain/Badass

A decent year for villainy (not great, but respectable), though I should note that there were a few characters in here who are only borderline villains (for example, Erik Lehnsherr / Magneto isn’t really the villain of the piece, but he sorta is and he certainly becomes one later in the chronology, but he’s not, but he is a villain?) As with previous years, my picks in this category are for individuals, not groups (i.e. no vampires or zombies as a group).

Best Hero/Badass

It’s a rare year. Usually, a year is filled with good villainy or good heroism, but not both. This year has ample supplies of both, though perhaps a slightly better slate of heroes. Again limited to individuals and not groups.

Best Comedic Performance

Actually not a bad year for comedic performances, a category that has suffered in recent years.

Breakthrough Performance

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 there’s at least one of those this year…

Most Visually Stunning

Sometimes even bad movies can look really great…

Best Sci-Fi or Horror Film

I’m a total genre hound, despite genres generally receiving very little attention from critics. This is a category normally dominated by Horror, and this year probably still favors that, but a decent showing from SF this year (including some hybrid SF/Horror movies)

Best Sequel/Reboot

Typically a difficult category to populate, but we had some decent stuff this year. I also changed the category a bit to include reboots, as there are at least a couple every year that are worth checking out…

Biggest Disappointment

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 good movie can win the award because of high expectations.

Best Action Sequences

A pretty darn year for action, actually. This award isn’t for individual action sequences, but rather an overall estimation of each film.

Best Plot Twist/Surprise

Well, I suppose even listing nominees here constitutes something of a spoiler, but it’s a risk we’ll have to take, right? A decent year for plot twists, though I don’t see a clear winner either… this is going to be a hard category to pick!

Best High Concept Film

This is always a strange category to populate because the concept is a bit nebulous, but nevertheless, there are always a few interesting choices… and we’ve got a pretty big slate of nominees this year…

2011’s 2010 Movie of the Year

A movie originally released in 2010 that I didn’t catch up with until 2011. This is a problem all amateur movie lovers have to confront. 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. This ended up being a lackluster category this year – I guess I’d already seen most of the great stuff from last year…

Anyone have any suggestions (for either category or nominations)? Comments, complaints and suggestions are welcome, as always.

Both Drive and Rise of the Planet of the Apes take in the most nominations, with 4 a piece. I’m a little surprised about Apes – I mean, I liked the movie, but it’s not something that’s even close to top 10 territory for me (but perhaps it will end up in the honorable mentions). Trailing closely with 3 nominations were a whole slew of films: Hobo With a Shotgun, I Saw the Devil, Immortals, Midnight in Paris (another surprise for me), Rubber, Source Code, Sucker Punch, and Tucker and Dale vs Evil. A whole slew of other films got only 2 or 1 nomination, with a grand total of 42 different films nominated (I haven’t calculated this number for all previous years, but it’s a lot more than last year’s 34 nominated films… also note, this doesn’t include the 6 “disappointing” films, nor does it include the 4 movies from 2010). Again, I think this speaks to the sort of weird above-average but not quite stellar year we’ve had.

So I’m going to let these nominations stew for a week, then announce the winners next Sunday, followed by the traditional Arbitrary Awards and eventually culminating in my top 10 of 2011 list (which may be a few weeks)…