Today I'm rounding out the year end awards with the tops in my acting, writing, and directing honors for 2010. As always, these winners only come from the movies that I was able to see with the mix of my busy schedule and also lack of availability of some of the more arthouse fare in my hometown. If you want an all inclusive list of every movie from 2010, you wont find it here, but if you care to know what my personal favorites were, keep reading. Now, let's get started:
Best Screenplay - Aaron Sorkin for The Social Network
I feel like I gave the cliche, cop out answer, but what can I say, the movie is honest, almost brutal at times, and it is because of its tight screenplay. The dialogue is marvelous, and the flow of the plot is so effortless that there would have been no way for any director to have probably screwed this material up. If it ain't on the page, it wont be on the screen, luckily here, it was all on the page.
(Runners-Up: Joel and Ethan Coen for True Grit; Michael Arndt for Toy Story 3; William Davies, Dean DeBlois, and Chris Sanders for How to Train Your Dragon; and Gary Whitta for The Book of Eli)
Best Supporting Actress - Olivia Wilde for TRON: Legacy
This was a really dull year for female performances in general, but there were enough pleasant supporting performances, that while probably would have not won out in other years, were able to get top honors this year. Olivia Wilde's portrayal of Quorra in TRON isn't earth-shattering work, it's standard heroine fare, but what allowed her to be a unique and individual character is that she is not used as the damsel in distress or the love interest, she is her own hero. Quorra was a spiritual character who believed in higher powers, and it is this aspect of the character where Wilde's performance rung most true and was able to win me over.
(Runners-Up: Mila Kunis for The Book of Eli; Mia Wasikowska for The Kids Are All Right; Rooney Mara for The Social Network; and Marion Cotillard for Inception)
Best Supporting Actor - Andrew Garfield for The Social Network
This is the one acting category that I've been most satisfied with in regards to the output this past year. It has been an extremely solid year for supporting actors, and Andrew Garfield's portrayal as Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin was essentially the heart of that movie. Garfield's performance is really what anchored the audience's emotional reaction to all of the gut punches within the film, and it is that kind of goodie two-shoe, slightly naive, wears his heart on his sleeve performance, that really hits it home and makes the movie a better product as a whole.
(Runners-Up: Lucas Black for Get Low; Mark Ruffalo for The Kids Are All Right; John Morris as the Voice of Andy for Toy Story 3; and Zach Galifianakis for It's Kind of a Funny Story)
Best Lead Actress - Hailee Steinfeld for True Grit
No performance was better this year, whether it be from male or female, lead or supporting, than Hailee Steinfeld's raw and powerful performance as Mattie Ross in the Coen Brothers' latest. She was thirteen when she shot this movie, and each scene she's in, she immediately attracts your attention due to the untrained nature of her acting ability, she manages to steal each scene from the likes of Jeff Bridges and Josh Brolin. While child actors tend to get a lot of flack for often feeling canned or what not, when you actually run across that rare gem like Steinfeld, that when these children who just have so much natural talent perform before they ever seek formal training, their performances always ring more true than any they do after training (for example, Jodie Foster or Henry Thomas, who are still good, but one misses the raw passion of their childhood performances) but hopefully Steinfeld wont fall into such pratfalls after she refines her talent.
(Runners-Up: Julianne Moore for The Kids Are All Right; Emma Roberts for It's Kind of a Funny Story; Emma Watson for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows-Part 1; and Chloe Moretz for Let Me In)
Best Lead Actor - Tom Hanks as the Voice of Woody for Toy Story 3
I have a knack for often wanting to celebrate voice performances in animation alongside the live action ilk, and call it my own sentimentality or whatever, but there was just no finer performance this past year than Tom Hanks's vocal prowess as Woody the Cowboy for the final time. The character of Woody and the actor known as Tom Hanks are almost synonymous in a sense. They get their energy from one another, Tom Hanks is as much Woody as Woody is Tom Hanks, and it is this influence that the actor and animated character have on one another that gets Tom Hanks this honor. Where as live action performances you can use facial expressions to express a feeling, in voice acting, you only have your voice, and if anyone could make a final line like, "So long, Partner," so deep and emotionally touching, it is Tom Hanks.
(Runners-Up: Jeff Bridges for True Grit; Chi Cao for Mao's Last Dancer; Robert Duvall for Get Low; and Jesse Eisenberg for The Social Network)
Best Director(s) - Joel and Ethan Coen for True Grit
The Coen's attention to detail with this film was immaculate. They perfectly captured the essence of the simpler time of the Wild West. A time where you could lie, cheat, and steal and the only justice you might get is a bullet in your back. Not only that, they directed a visually striking film with marvelous acting performances, what more could anyone want from the Best Directors of a given year.
(Runners-Up: Albert and Allen Hughes for The Book of Eli; David Yates for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows-Part 1; Joseph Kosinski for TRON: Legacy; and Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders for How to Train Your Dragon)
Tune in within the next five days or so as I finally compile my Top 10 list of my 10 personal favorite films of 2010!