2012 IN REVIEW: Film Misery Awards (Part 2)

Film Misery Awards AnatoliaHere we are, the second of three installments (Part 1) wherein we announce our Staff selections for the 2012 Film Misery Awards! Today, we are honoring the year’s finest cinematic achievements in animation, non-fiction, non-English and ensemble efforts. While we aren’t giving out nearly as many prizes as we did yesterday, it’s worth noting that these categories reflect some of the most difficult choices we had to make as a voting group. So consider these wins the most well-earned

Here are our winners…

Best Animated Film

ParaNormanWINNER: ParaNorman

Conventional opinion has dictated that 2012 has been a pretty dismal year for animation; with no definitive favorite emerging in our voting process, it seems the Film Misery staff collectively agrees. The emergence here of ParaNorman perhaps speaks less to how much the group loves the movie (read Alex’s middling review), but how it’s merely  the least significant disappointment from a beloved animation studio (It’s Such a Beautiful Day might have performed better had we all been able to see it). Still, you can’t really discount the sheer quality of Laika Studio’s fluid stop-motion animation, nor can you really disregard the film’s potent and surprisingly complex allegory on bullying, acceptance and otherness in general. That alone makes ParaNorman worth honoring.

Ranked Choices:

1 – ParaNorman – WINNER!!!
2 – The Secret World of Arrietty
3 – It’s Such a Beautiful Day
4 – Wreck-It Ralph
5 – Brave

Best Documentary/Nonfiction Film

JiroWINNER: Jiro Dreams of Sushi

Not unlike ParaNorman in the animation category, the success of Jiro among our voters probably has more to do with the fact that it is the most-seen good documentary, not necessarily the most beloved (only one voter actually listed it at their #1 doc of the year). But that’s not to discount Jiro‘s accomplishments as a nonfiction film, as a character study, or as a work that finds universal meaning in the most esoteric of subjects: that of an aging sushi chef whose perfectionism has transformed into its own kind of artistry. While Jiro seems slight and inconsequential on its surface, it is a picture – not unlike the work of its own subject – imbued with a sense of craft and unwavering affection.

Ranked Choices:

1 – Jiro Dreams of Sushi – WINNER!!!
2 – The Imposter
3 – The Invisible War
4 – The Queen of Versailles
5 – How to Survive a Plague

Best Foreign Language Film

Once-Upon-a-Time-in-Anatolia-Trailer-SnapshotWINNER: Once Upon a Time in Anatolia

This was another close race between five indisputably great films (relatable solely for not being in the English Language), and that likely explains how riddled with ties our final list it. While Holy Motors and Oslo, August 31 had their staunch defenders, and while Amour and The Turin Horse ranked quite highly on several personal Top 10 lists, Anatolia ultimately persevered thanks to its lush cinematography, its procedural minimalism and its chill-inducing moral and intellectual ambiguity. Don’t let its glacial pacing bog you down; Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s film is cinema at its most uniquely electrifying.

Ranked Choices:

1 – Once Upon a Time in Anatolia – WINNER!!!
2 – Amour and The Turin Horse (TIE)
4 – Holy Motors and Oslo, August 31 (TIE)

Best Ensemble Cast

'Moonrise Kingdom (2012) Best Wes Anderson FilmsWINNER: Lincoln and Moonrise Kingdom (Tie!)

Mesdames et Messieurs, it appears we have a tie! The only category this year whose top prize goes to two films, I guess it’s no surprise that Film Misery staffers would want to honor their two favorite films of 2012 in which the acting ensemble plays a crucial part (I suppose an argument could be made that The Master is more of a character study, explaining its lower ranking). There’s no doubt that the success of both Kingdom and Lincoln correlate to the strength of their respective acting troupes. In Moonrise, we see a beautifully simple love story not merely through its  youthful, centrifugal star-crossed lovers (Gilman & Hayward), but through the hapless, saggy eyes of so many seasoned actors (Willis, Norton, Swinton, Murray, McDormand) playing characters who carry on their shoulders all of life’s disappointments and unrequited expectations.

LincolnAnd while the solar system that is the Lincoln ensemble indisputably gravitates around a single massive star, how grand a spectacle it truly is! In casting so many big names to contend with Day-Lewis (Field, Strathairn, Holbrook, Gordon-Levitt, Jones) and cramming them all into those dank, claustrophobic meeting chambers, you get a palpable sense of gravity as an elite few navigate their principles and their egos whilst pointing the moral compass of a nation. Both Lincoln and Moonrise are rare achievements in ensemble casting: they are instances where cramming numerous big names all into a single movie actually pays off.

Ranked Choices:

1 – Lincoln and Moonrise Kingdom (TIE) – WINNERS!!!
3 – The Master
4 – Magic Mike
5 – Silver Linings Playbook

That is Part 2 of the Fourth Annual Film Misery Awards! We will be posting Part 3 (Acting, Directing, Best Picture) on tomorrow, and you can read Part 1 here. Please give your thoughts below!

HOW WE VOTED: Every Staff Writer of Film Misery was given the opportunity to make a ranked selection of up to five choices in every available category. Every film received an assigned value of points based on how high each choice was ranked – higher-ranked movies received more points. Submission results were then aggregated to form a Shortlist of five Nominees (excluding the Best Picture category, as the joint Top 10 was determined based the 10 films with the most points). Film Misery Staffers were then asked to rank the nominees in order of preference (again, with more points going to the higher-ranked films). Submitted rankings from staffers were used to aggregate the final results – those results being the ranked Nominees you see listed above.

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  • My favorite animated movie of the year is Frankenweenie, followed very closely by ParaNorman. I am glad for all the ties in the foreign film category, i wish all of you have seen Amour/Holy Motors. This year had some really great ensemble movies, i haven’t decided which one i think is the best yet both the tie between Moonrise and Lincoln pretty much says everything. A great ensemble cast and a best performed ensemble, if that makes sense!

  • Michael

    Wow, you guys don’t care about credibility at all. I guess I respect that?

    • About as much you care about giving well-reasoned critiques, I suspect. Care to elaborate, Michael?

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