While you may think that Steve Carell (Little Miss Sunshine), Tommy Lee Jones (No Country for Old Men) or James Franco (Milk) gave performances as strong as their Oscar-nominated co-stars, the academy looked the other way. Women, as it turns out, don't have to worry too much about their co-stars. For the fourth year in a row, two women from the same film (The Help) were nominated for best supporting actress. Head over to The Film Experience, where I've looked at some statistics and pondered why this may be. And Nathaniel's added pie charts! Yayy!
It feels appropriate to start 2012 by writing about the films I’m most looking forward to in this new year. I should have probably waited until I was finished watching everything from 2011 but such is my enthusiasm for these titles, I couldn’t wait to get them out.
There are a few films I’ve had to leave off this list that nevertheless sound very intriguing. Pedro Almodovar who returned to top form with The Skin I Live In will be back with Mina, a biopic about an Italian singer and we all know a biopic in his hands won’t just be any biopic. Michael Haneke’s new film called Amour will most likely screen at Cannes and though early word – that I don’t remember where I’ve first heard – has not been especially positive, we’re still talking about Haneke and every one of his films is an event. Ruben Fleischer’s Gangster Squad looks intriguing and his Zombieland was tons of fun, plus, Hollywood’s new ‘it’ boy Ryan Gosling stars so it’s a must-see.
Park Chan Wook’s Stoker will bring the crazy in Oldboy together with Nicole Kidman; the only reason it missed out on the list is the current cultural vampire overload but I know I’ll be first in line when it comes out anyway. Pixar’s new film Brave is likely to be a return to their better days after the disaster that was the financially motivated, conceptually inept Cars 2. Finally, Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises is a film I’ll surely watch on opening night for obvious reasons but I’d be lying if I said the hype has gotten me that excited about it.
With that out of the way, here’s a list of my top dozen most anticipated films of 2011:
12. What Maisie Knew David Siegel and Scott McGehee, the co-directors of this film, have made astonishing art films like Suture and The Deep End in the past so we know we can trust them behind the camera. If you haven’t seen those films or are not particularly keen on watching them, you probably want to that Maisie features Julianne Moore as an aging rock star who plays the mother of the titular character in the process of a messy divorce from her husband. Any Julianne Moore film has a spot on a list like this for me. Maisie is no exception.
11. Moonrise Kingdom After his seminal film The Royal Tenenbaums in 2001, Wes Anderson’s works always underwhelmed me until he finally won me over again with the richly designed, charming and hilarious Fantastic Mr. Fox. Moonrise Kingdom brings together an eclectic mix of terrific thespians like Tilda Swinton, Bill Murray and Frances McDormand along with stars like Bruce Willis (he’s still a star, right?), Edward Norton, Jason Schwartzman and Harvey Keitel. IMDB describes the story as such: “A pair of lovers flees their New England town, which causes a local search party to fan out and find them.” The Material sounds right up Anderson’s alley.