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one man's words

Living, working and playing in North Carolina, trying to make heads or tails of this whole being an adult thing.

My 2011 Film Honors

While I enjoy the Academy Awards and make it my year-long mission to see as much of what it considers “the best” as possible, I recognize its shortcomings, both as a barometer of what’s “the best” and in its ability to to make the subjective appear democratic.

And that’s why I do what you’re about to read every year. I look at the year’s cinematic efforts and list my favorites. Obviously, I can’t see every movie that gets released in a given year, but I do see a lot of them. Here’s a comprehensive list of the 2011 films I’ve seen, for reference.

Finally, I don’t attempt to proclaim “the best” of anything because I’m not (nor will I ever be) a cinematic “authority.” But I do know what I like, my favorites, if you will. And here they are…


Favorite Film:
1. The Tree of Life

Honorable mentions:
2. Shame
3. Take Shelter
4. Hugo
5. Drive
6. Martha Marcy May Marlene
7. Moneyball
8. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
9. Midnight in Paris
10. 50/50


Favorite Directorial Effort:
1. Terrence Malick for The Tree of Life

Honorable mentions:
2. Steve McQueen for Shame
3. Martin Scorsese for Hugo
4. Nicolas Winding Refn for Drive
5. Jeff Nichols for Take Shelter


Favorite Performance by a Lead Actor:
1. Michael Fassbender in Shame

Honorable mentions:
2. Michael Shannon in Take Shelter
3. Demián Bichir in A Better Life
4. George Clooney in The Descendants
5. Joseph Gordon-Levitt in 50/50


Favorite Performance by a Lead Actress:
1. Rooney Mara in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Honorable mentions:
2. Elizabeth Olsen in Martha Marcy May Marlene
3. Michelle Williams in My Week with Marilyn
4. Charlize Theron in Young Adult
5. Kirsten Dunst in Melancholia


Favorite Performance by a Supporting Actor:
1. Albert Brooks in Drive

Honorable mentions:
2. Patton Oswalt in Young Adult
3. Ben Kingsley in Hugo
4. Brad Pitt in The Tree of Life
5. Kenneth Branagh in My Week with Marilyn


Favorite Performance by a Supporting Actress:
1. Kim Wayans in Pariah

Honorable mentions:
2. Jessica Chastain in Take Shelter
3. Melissa McCarthy in Bridesmaids
4. Shailene Woodley in The Descendants
5. Charlotte Gainsbourg in Melancholia


Favorite Original Screenplay:
1. 50/50 by Will Reiser

Honorable mentions:
2. Beginners by Mike Mills
3. The Tree of Life by Terrence Malick
4. Bridesmaids by Kristen Wiig/Annie Mumolo
5. Margin Call by J.C. Chandor


Favorite Adapted Screenplay:
1. Moneyball by Aaron Sorkin/Steven Zaillian

Honorable mentions:
2. John Logan for Hugo
3. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Steven Zaillian
4. The Ides of March by George Clooney/Grant Heslov/Beau Willimon
5. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy by Bridget O’Connor/Peter Straughan

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