Sunday, July 3, 2011

Christmas in July: The (Halfway) Best of 2011

It's July. Half of 2011 is gone. Time to round up the best of what we've seen. I honestly thought I'd have many more beloved contenders at this point (I certainly did last year), but such is life. Sometimes the gold is scattered, and sometimes it's simply scarce. (And I don't want to sound like a whiner, but there's even a handful of things below I'm not all that nuts about.)

But let's not focus on that! Positivity, positivity. Here are my thus-far faves of 2011, in handy Oscar-ish categories. A few of them are bound to make it to the December home stretch:


Marion Cotillard,
"Midnight in Paris"
Melissa McCarthy,
Wendy McClendon-Covey,
Amy Ryan, "Win Win"
Juno Temple, "Kaboom"

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR (do not adjust your sets!)

Michael Fassbender,
"Jane Eyre"
Bruce Greenwood,
"Meek's Cutoff"
John Krasinski,
"Something Borrowed"
Christopher Plummer, "Beginners"
Mark Strong, "Green Lantern"


Juliette Binoche,
"Certified Copy"
Mia Wasikowska, "Jane Eyre"
Kristen Wiig, "Bridesmaids"
Michelle Williams,
"Meek's Cutoff"

BEST ACTOR (easily the weakest bunch)

Mel Gibson, "The Beaver"
Hamish Linklater, "The Future"
William Shimell,
"Certified Copy"


Miranda July, "The Future"
Abbas Kiarostami,
"Certified Copy"
Terrence Malick,
"The Tree of Life"
Kelly Reichardt, "Meek's Cutoff"


Miranda July, "The Future"
Abbas Kiarostami,
"Certified Copy"
Tom McCarthy, "Win Win"
Mike Mills, "Beginners"
Jonathan Raymond,
"Meek's Cutoff"
Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo, "Bridesmaids"


"Certified Copy"
"The Future"
"Meek's Cutoff"
"The Tree of Life"

(Special mention for "Page One: Inside the New York Times," which I currently have a semi-irrational crush on. Review coming soon!)

If you're reading this, what have I missed that could really beef up these lists? At the top of my must-see queue at the moment are "Incendies," "City of Life and Death" and "Cave of Forgotten Dreams."


Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

No, Giamati for Win Win? The film's last third makes it a bit problematic but it has an odd charm. Amy Ryan is lovely in it, though. Glad you made mention.

Kurtis O said...

I did like Giamatti in "Win Win," and I thought it was excellent casting. But for someone with Giamati's consistency, I think he really needs shake things up a bit to grab my attention. He's often more reliable than memorable. (That said, I haven't seen "Barney's Version.")

Jose said...

Love that you love Greenwood and especially Temple (who was easily the best thing about that mess of a movie).
I would've added Jennifer Lawrence to the mix too, she was easily the best in X-Men and the most haunting character in The Beaver.

Kurtis O said...

Yikes -- I'm sorry to disagree big time on both counts regarding Jennifer Lawrence, Jose. But I'm glad people seem to feel the same about Greenwood. Michael from Serious Film also praised him heavily in a TFE podcast. Too bad he's probably far too buried under facial hair and whatnot to get recognized by anyone outside the Indie Spirits.

Amir said...

Not as big a fan of Meek's Cutoff as you, but I'm really glad to see all the Certified Copy love. That movie's really grown on me since last year. There's a certain magical wittiness to it that makes it better every time.

Also, I was quite impressed by Cary Fukunaga's moody reworking of Jane Eyre. I know it didn't really work for the fans of the novel, but I liked the film quite a lot.

Y Kant Goran Rite said...

As a man of demonstrably good taste, you shouldn't get too excited about City of Life and Death - it's basically torture porn fluffed up as awards bait.

Coincidentally, I would say the same about Paul Giamatti's recent string of performances, specifically Duplicity and The Last Station. (I'm yet to see Win-Win or Barney's Version. The trailers left me petrified.)