Here 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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
And 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.
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!