If we kept watching, would it keep spinning? And would it matter?

You can read more about this year in film here.  The Best Picture race is discussed here, with reviews of all the nominees.  First there are the categories, followed by all the films with their nominations, then the Globes, where I split the major awards by Drama and Comedy, followed by a few lists at the very end.  If there’s a film you expected to see and didn’t, check the very bottom – it might be eligible in a different year.  Films in red won the Oscar in that category (or Globe, in the Globes section).  Films in blue were nominated.  Films (or directors) in olive are links to earlier posts that I don’t want to have show up in blue and be mistaken for a nominee.  Films with an asterisk (*) were Consensus nominees (a scale I put together based on the various awards) while those with a double asterisk (**) were the Consensus winners.

I’m listing the top 20 in the categories but only the top 5 earn Nighthawk nominations.

Nighthawk Awards:

  • Best Picture
  1. Inception  *
  2. The Social Network  **
  3. True Grit  *
  4. The King’s Speech  *
  5. The Ghost Writer
  6. Winter’s Bone  *
  7. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I
  8. Black Swan  *
  9. Toy Story 3  *
  10. The Town
  11. Biutiful
  12. Another Year
  13. The Kids are All Right  *
  14. Tangled
  15. Shutter Island
  16. Never Let Me Go
  17. Rabbit Hole
  18. Blue Valentine
  19. Green Zone
  20. Somewhere

Analysis:  This is one of those rare years where I have changed my original Best Picture winner.  It’s not that Social Network went down at all, but that Inception went up.  And, really, it’s a pretty close finish between the two.
The Social Network ties LA Confidential for the most Consensus noms ever (11) and no film since (through 2016) has had more wins (8) or points (845) though both are fewer than The Hurt Locker in the year before.
With seven nominees in my Top 10, the Oscar Score is 87.7, by far the highest in any year with more than five nominees (and the third highest ever irregardless of the number of nominees).

  • Best Director
  1. Christopher Nolan  (Inception)  *
  2. David Fincher  (The Social Network)  **
  3. Joel and Ethan Coen  (True Grit)
  4. Roman Polanski  (The Ghost Writer)
  5. Tom Hooper  (The King’s Speech)  *
  6. Darren Aronofsky  (Black Swan)  *
  7. Debra Granik  (Winter’s Bone)
  8. Ben Affleck  (The Town)
  9. Martin Scorsese  (Shutter Island)
  10. Alejandro González Iñárritu  (Biutiful)
  11. Paul Greengrass  (Green Zone)
  12. Danny Boyle  (127 Hours)
  13. David Yates  (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I)
  14. Mike Leigh  (Another Year)
  15. Julie Taymor  (The Tempest)
  16. Sofia Coppola  (Somewhere)
  17. John Cameron Mitchell  (Rabbit Hole)
  18. Ji-Woon Kim  (The Good, the Bad, the Weird)
  19. David O. Russell  (The Fighter)  *
  20. Mark Romanek  (Never Let Me Go)

Analysis:  These are the first noms for David Fincher and Tom Hooper.  It’s the third nom for Christopher Nolan.  It’s the sixth nom for Roman Polanski.  It’s the eighth nom for the Coens, moving them up to 405 points and into a tie for 10th place all-time.
Even without my winner, the Oscar Score is an impressive 86.8, the highest in seven years.
With Nolan now moving into the winner’s spot, he’s the first Nighthawk winner since 1995 to fail to earn an Oscar nom (which was Ang Lee, who also had a Best Picture nominated film that failed to earn the director a nomination).
Hooper is the first Oscar winner in six years not to be my #1 or #2.

  • Best Adapted Screenplay:
  1. The Social Network  **
  2. True Grit  *
  3. The Ghost Writer
  4. Winter’s Bone  *
  5. Toy Story 3  *
  6. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I
  7. The Town  *
  8. Shutter Island
  9. Rabbit Hole
  10. Never Let Me Go
  11. Tangled
  12. OSS 117: Lost in Rio
  13. 127 Hours  *
  14. How to Train Your Dragon
  15. Barney’s Version
  16. The Company Men
  17. Green Zone
  18. The Tempest
  19. Love and Other Drugs

Analysis:  The Social Network joins Traffic, Sideways and Slumdog Millionaire as the only films to sweep all five writing awards groups.  Its 720 points, 10 wins and 10 noms are all second all-time to Sideways (its noms are tied by LA Confidential).  Just like in 1997 and 2004, no other film wins an award in this category.
The Coens earns their ninth writing Nighthawk noms; they move up to 440 points and tie Charlie Chaplin for 6th place all-time.

  • Best Original Screenplay:
  1. Inception  **
  2. The King’s Speech  *
  3. Another Year
  4. The Kids are All Right  *
  5. Biutiful
  6. Blue Valentine
  7. The Secret in Their Eyes
  8. Black Swan  *
  9. Micmacs
  10. Made in Dagenham
  11. Somewhere
  12. The Fighter  *
  13. I Am Love
  14. Easy A
  15. Animal Kingdom
  16. Despicable Me
  17. The Good, the Bad, the Weird
  18. The Illusionist
  19. Ajami

Analysis:  Mike Leigh earns his fourth writing Nighthawk nom.  Christopher Nolan earns his fourth as well and his first win.
The King’s Speech sets a new record for most Consensus points to come in 3rd in this category because the 1-2-3 race (The Kids are All Right was 2nd) is so close.  Had The King’s Speech been WGA eligible it likely would have won the Consensus.

  • Best Actor:
  1. Colin Firth  (The King’s Speech)  **
  2. Jesse Eisenberg  (The Social Network)  *
  3. Jeff Bridges  (True Grit)  *
  4. Javier Bardem  (Biutiful)  *
  5. Leonardo DiCaprio  (Inception)
  6. Ryan Gosling  (Blue Valentine)
  7. Leonardo DiCaprio  (Shutter Island)
  8. James Franco  (127 Hours)  *
  9. Paul Giamatti  (Barney’s Version)
  10. Aaron Eckhart  (Rabbit Hole)
  11. Jim Broadbent  (Another Year)
  12. Kevin Spacey  (Casino Jack)
  13. Ben Affleck  (The Town)
  14. Anthony Mackie  (The Night Catches Us)
  15. Robert Duvall  (Get Low)
  16. George Clooney  (The American)
  17. Ewan McGregor  (The Ghost Writer)
  18. Ben Affleck  (The Company Men)
  19. Mark Wahlberg  (The Fighter)
  20. Andy Serkis  (Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll)

Analysis:  This is the only Nighthawk nom for Eisenberg, the second for Bardem and Firth, the fourth for Bridges and the fifth for Leo.  It’s the seventh straight year either Leo or Clooney has been nominated but never in the same year (Clooney gets the odd years).
In spite of making my Top 7 twice, Leo fails to earn a single Consensus point.  Bardem sneaks into the fifth Consensus spot with 70 points, the fewest for a Consensus nominee in this category since 1991.  For the third straight year, none of the Globe – Comedy nominees make the Top 5 at the Consensus Awards.
This is the weakest Top 5 since 1986.
Even though Franco is my #8, he has the same rating as DiCaprio, which means this category earns a perfect 100 Oscar Score.  In fact, that’s the same for all four acting categories – in all four, one actor is out from the Oscar list but has the same rating as the person who is in, so all four earn a perfect 100.  The only other years aside from this one with even two perfect 100 scores are 1978, 2012 and 2015 and no other has more than two.

  • Best Actress
  1. Natalie Portman  (Black Swan)  **
  2. Jennifer Lawrence  (Winter’s Bone)  *
  3. Annette Bening  (The Kids are All Right)  *
  4. Michelle Williams  (Blue Valentine)  *
  5. Julianne Moore  (The Kids are All Right)
  6. Nicole Kidman  (Rabbit Hole)  *
  7. Helen Mirren  (The Tempest)
  8. Sally Hawkins  (Made in Dagenham)
  9. Carey Mulligan  (Never Let Me Go)
  10. Tilda Swinton  (I Am Love)
  11. Noomi Rapace  (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo)
  12. Ruth Sheen  (Another Year)
  13. Hye-ja Kim (Mother)
  14. Emma Stone  (Easy A)
  15. Katie Jarvis  (Fish Tank)
  16. Giovanna Mezzogiorno  (Vincere)
  17. Anne Hathaway  (Love and Other Drugs)
  18. Naomi Watts  (Fair Game)
  19. Dakota Fanning  (The Runaways)
  20. Hilary Swank  (Conviction)

Analysis:  This is the first Nighthawk nom for Jennifer Lawrence, but like at the Oscars, she’s going to rack up a bunch more very quickly.  It’s the second nom for Michelle Williams.  It’s the fourth nom for Natalie Portman.  It’s the fifth nom for Annette Bening.  It’s the eighth nom for Julianne Moore.

  • Best Supporting Actor:
  1. Christian Bale  (The Fighter)  **
  2. Geoffrey Rush  (The King’s Speech)  *
  3. John Hawkes  (Winter’s Bone)
  4. Justin Timberlake  (The Social Network)
  5. Mark Ruffalo  (The Kids are All Right)  *
  6. Jeremy Renner  (The Town)  *
  7. Andrew Garfield  (The Social Network)  *
  8. Pierce Brosnan  (The Ghost Writer)
  9. Matt Damon  (True Grit)
  10. Kevin Costner  (The Company Men)
  11. Pete Postlethwaite  (The Town)
  12. Chris Cooper  (The Company Men)
  13. Michael Fassbender  (Fish Tank)
  14. Vincent Cassell  (Black Swan)
  15. Greg Kinnear  (Green Zone)
  16. Mark Ruffalo  (Shutter Island)
  17. Ben Kingsley  (Shutter Island)
  18. Bob Hoskins  (Made in Dagenham)
  19. Dustin Hoffman  (Barney’s Version)
  20. Michael Shannon  (The Runaways)

Analysis:  These are the only Nighthawk noms for Hawkes and Timberlake, the first for Ruffalo, the second for Rush and the third for Bale (who, ironically, earned his first two in Nolan films but here they both win while not working together).
This is the first time since 1991 that I agree with the winners of Actor, Actress and one of the supporting categories.

  • Best Supporting Actress:
  1. Hailee Steinfeld  (True Grit)  *
  2. Melissa Leo  (The Fighter)  **
  3. Helena Bonham-Carter  (The King’s Speech)  *
  4. Leslie Manville  (Another Year)
  5. Amy Adams  (The Fighter)  *
  6. Mila Kunis  (Black Swan)
  7. Jacki Weaver  (Animal Kingdom)  *
  8. Olivia Williams  (The Ghost Writer)
  9. Kristin Scott-Thomas  (Nowhere Boy)
  10. Marion Cotillard  (Inception)
  11. Miranda Richardson  (Made in Dagenham)
  12. Barbara Hershey  (Black Swan)
  13. Rosamund Pike  (Made in Dagenham)
  14. Michelle Williams  (Shutter Island)
  15. Emma Watson  (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I)
  16. Greta Gerwig  (Greenberg)
  17. Mia Wasikowsika  (The Kids are All Right)

Analysis:  While Leo does have 5 Consensus wins, no one has more than 5 Consensus nominations for the only time post-2002 because the six critics awards go to five different actresses (only Weaver wins more than one).  Only the BAFTAs correctly put Steinfeld in the lead category.  I keep her in supporting because that’s where the Oscars nominated her but she really was the lead of the film.
These are the only Nighthawk noms for Steinfeld, Leo and Manville.  It’s the third nom for Helena Bonham-Carter and Amy Adams.
Melissa Leo is the only Oscar winner in the five years stretch from 2008 to 2012 that I don’t agree with.

  • Best Editing:
  1. Inception
  2. The Social Network
  3. The King’s Speech
  4. True Grit
  5. The Ghost Writer
  6. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I
  7. Shutter Island
  8. Black Swan
  9. The Town
  10. Toy Story 3
  11. 127 Hours
  12. Blue Valentine
  13. Winter’s Bone
  14. The Fighter
  15. Green Zone
  16. Micmacs
  17. OSS 117: Lost in Rio
  18. Rabbit Hole
  19. The Tempest
  20. Tangled

Analysis:  The Social Network is the first #2 in this category to earn my highest rating in three years and the last until 2016.
With all five nominees my Top 14, the Oscar Score is 81.6, the best in four years and second highest since 1991.

  • Best Cinematography:
  1. Inception  *
  2. True Grit  **
  3. Shutter Island
  4. The Social Network  *
  5. Black Swan  *
  6. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I
  7. The King’s Speech  *
  8. The Tempest
  9. The Town
  10. 127 Hours
  11. The Ghost Writer
  12. Winter’s Bone
  13. The Fighter
  14. Biutiful
  15. Agora
  16. Green Zone
  17. Micmacs
  18. The Killer Inside Me
  19. The Secret in Their Eyes
  20. Alice in Wonderland

Analysis:  Wally Pfister earns his third Nighthawk nom and second win, all working with Christopher Nolan.  Roger Deakins earns his 10th Nighthawk nom, moving into third with 250 points, but, like the Oscars, he has no wins.  Robert Richardson earns his eighth nom but because of his three wins, he has 25 more points than Deakins and stays in 2nd place all-time.
True Grit (6 noms, 3 wins) and Inception (5 noms, 4 wins) tie with their raw totals at the Consensus Awards but True Grit earns three points in the weighted total.  Inception is just the third film (and the first in eight years) to win the Oscar and the ASC and not win the Consensus.  Inception, by two points, breaks the record The Hurt Locker set the previous year of most points to fail to win the Consensus, a record that still stands as of 2017.
True Grit is the weakest #2 in this category since 2000.  This is also the weakest Top 5 since 1995.  But, with all five nominees in my Top 7, the Oscar Score is 97.1, the best since 1950.  It is the start of three straight great Oscar Scores, all of which go a little bit higher because of the higher total score.

  • Best Original Score:
  1. The Social Network
  2. Inception
  3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I
  4. True Grit
  5. The King’s Speech
  6. 127 Hours
  7. How to Train Your Dragon
  8. OSS 117: Lost in Rio
  9. Alice in Wonderland
  10. Black Swan
  11. The Good, the Bad, the Weird
  12. Never Let Me Go
  13. Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief
  14. Agora

Analysis:  Alexandre Desplat (Harry Potter) earns his first Nighthawk nomination but he will quickly start earning more (including each of the next two years).  Carter Burwell earns his fifth nom (almost all with the Coens).  Hans Zimmer earns his ninth nom, his third in a row and his third working with Christopher Nolan.

  • Best Sound:
  1. Inception
  2. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I
  3. True Grit
  4. The Town
  5. The Social Network
  6. The Fighter
  7. Shutter Island
  8. Toy Story 3
  9. The King’s Speech
  10. Iron Man 2
  11. Micmacs
  12. Alice in Wonderland
  13. Green Zone
  14. The Ghost Writer
  15. Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief
  16. The Good, the Bad, the Weird
  17. Black Swan
  18. The Tempest
  19. Tron: Legacy
  20. 127 Hours

Analysis:  Inception is the first winner since 1997 not to earn my highest rating.  Harry Potter is the weakest #2 in this category since 2000.  It’s the weakest Top 5 since 1995.

  • Best Art Direction:
  1. Inception
  2. Alice in Wonderland
  3. The King’s Speech
  4. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I
  5. Shutter Island
  6. The Tempest
  7. True Grit
  8. Black Swan
  9. Micmacs
  10. The Social Network
  11. Winter’s Bone
  12. I Am Love
  13. Agora
  14. Biutiful
  15. The Good, the Bad, the Weird
  16. Never Let Me Go
  17. OSS 117: Lost in Rio
  18. The Ghost Writer
  19. The Warlords
  20. The Runaways

Analysis:  Alice in Wonderland is the first #2 in this category to earn my highest rating in four years.  It’s also the best Top 5 in four years.  With all five nominees in my Top 7, it also earns a fantastic Oscar Score of 97.5.

  • Best Visual Effects
  1. Inception
  2. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I
  3. Alice in Wonderland
  4. Iron Man 2
  5. The Tempest
  6. Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief
  7. Tron: Legacy
  8. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
  9. Shutter Island
  10. Hereafter
  11. Micmacs
  12. 127 Hours
  13. Unstoppable
  14. The Good, the Bad, the Weird
  15. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

Analysis:  From my Top 15, the following weren’t even listed among the “eligible” films: The Tempest, Micmacs, 127 Hours, The Good the Bad the Weird (technically not eligible for any Oscars).  But Scott Pilgrim vs. the World was a semi-finalist (it didn’t make my list at all).  The only other “eligible” films not on my list were The Last Airbender and The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.
Surprisingly, Inception is the first winner in this category that I have agreed with in five years.

  • Best Sound Editing
  1. Inception
  2. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I
  3. True Grit
  4. Toy Story 3
  5. The Tempest
  6. Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief
  7. The Good, the Bad, the Weird
  8. The Town
  9. Shutter Island
  10. Unstoppable
  11. Green Zone
  12. Iron Man 2
  13. Alice in Wonderland
  14. Micmacs
  15. Tron: Legacy
  16. The Fighter
  17. Outside the Law
  18. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

Analysis:  This is the weakest Top 5 since 1995.

  • Best Costume Design:
  1. Alice in Wonderland
  2. The King’s Speech
  3. The Tempest
  4. True Grit
  5. Shutter Island
  6. The Warlords
  7. Agora
  8. I Am Love
  9. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
  10. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I
  11. A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop
  12. OSS 117: Lost in Rio
  13. Black Swan
  14. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
  15. Robin Hood
  16. Made in Dagenham
  17. The Good, the Bad, the Weird
  18. Get Low

Analysis:  This is the weakest Top 5 since 2000.

  • Best Makeup
  1. Alice in Wonderland
  2. The Tempest
  3. The Wolfman
  4. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I
  5. Black Swan
  6. True Grit
  7. Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief
  8. Barney’s Version
  9. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
  10. The Fighter
  11. The Warlords
  12. Micmacs

Analysis:  Alice in Wonderland is the weakest winner in six years.  This is the weakest Top 5 since 1997.
Films in green were semi-finalists.  Yet again, they would have done better with their semi-finalists than their nominees.  I can’t understand this branch of the Academy.  Nominee The Way Back and semi-finalist Jonah Hex don’t even make my list.  That leads to an Oscar Score of 41.2, the only category with a score below 69 and the only Tech category with a score below 74.

  • Best Original Song:
  1. “I See the Light”  (Tangled)
  2. I’ve Got a Dream”  (Tangled)
  3. We Belong Together”  (Toy Story 3)
  4. When Will My Life Begin”  (Tangled)
  5. If I Rise”  (127 Hours)
  6. Despicable Me”  (Despicable Me)
  7. Alice”  (Alice in Wonderland)
  8. Better Days”  (Eat Pray Love)
  9. I Remain”  (The Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time)
  10. Mother Knows Best”  (Tangled)
  11. Chanson Illusionist”  (The Illusionist)
  12. Coming Home”  (Country Strong)
  13. Sticks & Stones”  (How to Train Your Dragon)

Analysis:  From this point forward, I have full lists of the Oscar eligible songs.  There were 41 eligible submitted songs from 36 films and I have seen 21 of those films accounting for 25 songs (Black Tulip is the only film to submit more than one that I haven’t seen).  The only songs on this list that weren’t submitted were the Tangled songs (except “I See the Light”) because they decided to just focus on one song, since Alan Menken’s three nominations for Enchanted were the reason that the rules limiting a film to two nominations was instituted.  It’s unfortunate, because the Oscars only nominated four songs (which Randy Newman commented on when he won) and I think if “I’ve Got a Dream” had been nominated, it would have easily been the fifth nominee.  But who knows for certain, because in 2011, the Academy will really screw the pooch in this category, so you never know what they would have done.
Oscar Scores are calculated off eligible songs so this year earns an 88 because the two non-submitted Tangled songs don’t count against it.  That’s the third highest score since 1949.

  • Best Animated Film:
  1. Toy Story 3  **
  2. Tangled  *
  3. How to Train Your Dragon  *
  4. Despicable Me  *
  5. The Illusionist  *

Analysis:  For much more on the race and a more in-depth look at the Consensus Awards, go here.
Lee Unkrich earns his second Nighthawk and his third nomination.
Pixar wins its fourth straight Nighthawk (also winning its fourth straight Oscar).  Disney earns its first Nighthawk nomination since 2002.
Toy Story 3 is actually the weakest winner in four years.

  • Best Foreign Film:
  1. Biutiful  *
  2. Incendies  *
  3. The Secret World of Arietty
  4. The Illusionist
  5. Potiche
  6. Even the Rain

note:  Films in orange were submitted to the Academy but not nominated (none this year on my list).  Films in green were semi-finalists.
Analysis:  In a Better World wins the Oscar and Globe (the first film to do so since 2001) but fails to win any other awards (the first to do so since 1986).  The actual Consensus winner in this year without much of a consensus is Carlos, the only film to score more than 80 points (it earns 116 with three critics wins) and one I discuss down below.  The only film to earn four nominations is Biutiful, which becomes only the ninth film to earn Oscar, Globe, BAFTA and BFCA noms and the first to lose all four (several films have done it since).
Canada earns its fourth nomination.  Mexico wins its third Nighthawk in a decade (one each for the three amigos) and passes West Germany, moving into 8th place with 280 points.  Japan, surprisingly, earns its first nomination in seven years, its longest gap in 30 years.  A year after missing a nomination for the first time since 1997, France earns two nominations.
Francois Ozon earns his third nomination while Alejandro González Iñárritu earns his second (and only win).
Only the top two films are ****, the first time there aren’t at least three **** films in five years.  The Secret World of Arietty is the weakest #3 since 1998.  The Top 5 is the weakest since 1999.  The six films are also the fewest on the list since 1999.

By Film:

note:  They’re in points order.  You get twice as many points for a win as for a nomination.  Hopefully your math skills will let you figure out the system.

  • Inception  (590)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Actor, Editing, Cinematography, Original Score, Sound, Art Direction, Visual Effects, Sound Editing
  • The Social Network   (360)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actor, Editing, Cinematography, Original Score, Sound
  • True Grit  (360)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actress, Editing, Cinematography, Original Score, Sound, Sound Editing, Costume Design
  • The King’s Speech  (350)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Editing, Original Score, Art Direction, Costume Design
  • The Ghost Writer  (160)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Editing
  • The Kids are All Right  (140)
    • Original Screenplay, Actress, Actress, Supporting Actor
  • The Fighter  (120)
    • Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Supporting Actress
  • Biutiful  (115)
    • Original Screenplay, Actor, Foreign Film
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I  (115)
    • Original Score, Sound, Art Direction, Visual Effects, Sound Editing, Makeup
  • Toy Story 3  (110)
    • Adapted Screenplay, Sound Editing, Original Song, Animated Film
  • Winter’s Bone  (105)
    • Adapted Screenplay, Actress, Supporting Actor
  • Black Swan  (105)
    • Actress, Cinematography, Makeup
  • Alice in Wonderland  (90)
    • Art Direction, Visual Effects, Costume Design, Makeup
  • Another Year  (70)
    • Original Screenplay, Supporting Actress
  • The Tempest  (66)
    • Visual Effects, Sound Editing, Costume Design, Makeup
  • Shutter Island  (60)
    • Cinematography, Art Direction, Costume Design
  • Tangled  (60)
    • Original Song, Original Song, Original Song, Animated Film
  • The Illusionist  (40)
    • Animated Film, Foreign Film
  • Blue Valentine  (35)
    • Actress
  • The Town  (20)
    • Sound
  • The Secret in Their Eyes  (20)
    • Foreign Film (2008)
  • How to Train Your Dragon  (20)
    • Animated Film
  • Despicable Me  (20)
    • Animated Film
  • Iron Man 2  (20)
    • Visual Effects
  • The Wolfman  (10)
    • Makeup
  • 127 Hours  (10)
    • Original Song

Analysis:  There are seven fewer films than the year before.  The winners, as a whole, are the weakest since 1995 and tied for the weakest since 1987.  Only three winners earn my highest rating (Editing, Art Direction, Visual Effects), the fewest since 1978.

Best Film Not Nominated for Any Nighthawk Awards:

  • Never Let Me Go

Analysis:  My #16 film.  It’s a **** film and it earns 2 Top 10 finishes and 6 Top 20 finishes but never gets higher than its 9th place finish in Actress.

Biggest Awards Film Not Nominated for Any Nighthawk Awards:

  • Carlos  /  The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Analysis:  There are two films listed because, in spite of winning Best Foreign Film from three critics awards (and co-winning Best Director in LA), Carlos is a television mini-series and thus the Academy (and myself) don’t include it.  So, of course it doesn’t earn any Nighthawk nominations.  The next highest film is Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which makes my list for Actress but doesn’t earn a nomination.  It won Best Foreign Film at both the BAFTAs and BFCA and earned Best Actress nominations from each while also earning a SE guild nomination and a BAFTA nom for Adapted Screenplay.

Nighthawk Golden Globes:

Drama:

  • Best Picture
  1. Inception  *
  2. The Social Network  **
  3. True Grit  *
  4. The King’s Speech  *
  5. The Ghost Writer

Analysis:  A strong Top 5, stronger than either of the previous two years and any of the next four.  The Ghost Writer would have been the #3 film in 2009.
All five of these films are strong ****.  There are also several other **** films, in order: Winter’s Bone, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I, Black Swan, The Town, Biutiful, Another Year, Shutter Island, Never Let Me Go and Rabbit Hole.  There are also a lot of ***.5 films, in order: Blue Valentine, Green Zone, Somewhere, The Tempest, 127 Hours, How to Train Your Dragon, Animal Kingdom, The American, The Secret in Their Eyes, I Am Love, Made in Dagenham, The Fighter, Ajami, The Company Men, Vincere and A Woman a Gun and a Noodle Shop.

  • Best Director
  1. Christopher Nolan  (Inception)
  2. David Fincher  (The Social Network)
  3. Joel and Ethan Coen  (True Grit)
  4. Roman Polanski  (The Ghost Writer)
  5. Tom Hooper  (The King’s Speech)

Analysis:  This is the only Drama nom for Tom Hooper.  It’s the first nom for David Fincher.  It’s the third nom for Christopher Nolan.  It’s the fifth nom each for the Coens and Polanski.
This is the best Top 5 in four years.

  • Best Adapted Screenplay:
  1. The Social Network
  2. True Grit
  3. The Ghost Writer
  4. Winter’s Bone
  5. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I

Analysis:  The Coens earn their fifth Drama writing noms.

  • Best Original Screenplay:
  1. Inception
  2. The King’s Speech
  3. Another Year
  4. Biutiful
  5. Blue Valentine

Analysis:  Mike Leigh earns his third Drama writing nom.  Christopher Nolan earns his sixth Drama writing nom and his second win.

  • Best Actor:
  1. Colin Firth  (The King’s Speech)
  2. Jesse Eisenberg  (The Social Network)
  3. Jeff Bridges  (True Grit)
  4. Javier Bardem  (Biutiful)
  5. Leonardo DiCaprio  (Inception)

Analysis:  This is the only Drama nom for Eisenberg, the second for Firth, the second for Bridges (his first since 1971) and Bardem and the fifth for Leo.

  • Best Actress
  1. Natalie Portman  (Black Swan)
  2. Jennifer Lawrence  (Winter’s Bone)
  3. Michelle Williams  (Blue Valentine)
  4. Nicole Kidman  (Rabbit Hole)
  5. Helen Mirren  (The Tempest)

Analysis:  This is the first Drama for Lawrence, the second for Williams, the third for Portman and Kidman and the seventh for Mirren.
This is the weakest Top 5 in five years.

  • Best Supporting Actor:
  1. Christian Bale  (The Fighter)
  2. Geoffrey Rush  (The King’s Speech)
  3. John Hawkes  (Winter’s Bone)
  4. Justin Timberlake  (The Social Network)
  5. Jeremy Renner  (The Town)

Analysis:  These are the only Drama noms for Hawkes and Timberlake, the second for Renner and Rush and the third for Bale.

  • Best Supporting Actress:
  1. Hailee Steinfeld  (True Grit)
  2. Melissa Leo  (The Fighter)
  3. Helena Bonham-Carter  (The King’s Speech)
  4. Leslie Manville  (Another Year)
  5. Amy Adams  (The Fighter)

Analysis:  These are the only Drama noms for Steinfeld, Leo and Manville, the third for Adams and the fourth for Bonham-Carter.

  • Inception  (305)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Actor
  • The King’s Speech  (265)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress
  • The Social Network  (240)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actor
  • True Grit  (230)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actress
  • The Ghost Writer  (135)
    • Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay
  • The Fighter  (120)
    • Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Supporting Actress
  • Winter’s Bone  (105)
    • Adapted Screenplay, Actress, Supporting Actor
  • Biutiful  (75)
    • Original Screenplay, Actor
  • Blue Valentine  (75)
    • Original Screenplay, Actress
  • Another Year  (70)
    • Original Screenplay, Supporting Actress
  • Black Swan  (70)
    • Actress
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I  (40)
    • Adapted Screenplay
  • Rabbit Hole  (35)
    • Actress
  • The Tempest  (35)
    • Actress
  • The Town  (30)
    • Supporting Actor

Analysis:  For the first time since 1987, none of the Drama winners earn my highest rating.

Best Drama Not Nominated for Any Nighthawk Golden Globes:

  • Shutter Island

Analysis:  My #15 film and my #10 Drama.  I was disappointed when the awards groups basically ignored it, but it’s not quite strong enough to make it in any of these categories.  It’s 7th in both Adapted Screenplay and Actor because the Drama competition is too tough.

Comedy / Musical:

  • Best Picture
  1. Toy Story 3  *
  2. The Kids are All Right  *
  3. Tangled
  4. Micmacs
  5. Despicable Me

Analysis:  The five films don’t even average **** (they average 87.2) for the first time since 1995.  Micmacs is the weakest #4 since 1990.
Toy Story 3 won Best Animated Film while Tangled and Despicable Me were nominated there.
Only the first three films are **** while the other two are ***.5.  The only other ***.5 Comedies are The Good the Bad the Weird, The Illusionist and OSS 117: Lost in Rio.  It’s a terrible year for Comedy and that would almost excuse the Globes if they hadn’t blown it anyway (see below).

  • Best Director
  1. Ji-Woon Kim  (The Good, the Bad, the Weird)
  2. Jean-Pierre Jeunet  (Micmacs)
  3. Lisa Cholodenko  (The Kids are All Right)
  4. Tim Burton  (Alice in Wonderland)
  5. Michel Hazanavicius  (OSS 117: Lost in Rio)

Analysis:  Only one of these directors made my overall Top 20, which is terrible.  This is the weakest Top 5 since 1978 (which didn’t have five directors).  Kim is the weakest winner since 1976.
These are the only Comedy noms for Kim and Cholodenko.  It’s the first nom for Hazanavicius but he’ll win this award in 2011.  It’s the fourth nom for Jeunet.  It’s the seventh nom for Tim Burton and he moves up to 405 points and ties Preston Sturges for 6th place all-time.

  • Best Adapted Screenplay:
  1. Toy Story 3
  2. Tangled
  3. OSS 117: Lost in Rio
  4. How to Train Your Dragon
  5. Love and Other Drugs

Analysis:  A stretch to reach five, but it manages it, with the last film on my list.

  • Best Original Screenplay:
  1. The Kids are All Right
  2. Micmacs
  3. Easy A
  4. Despicable Me
  5. The Good, the Bad, the Weird

Analysis:  This is the weakest Top 5 since 1978, which didn’t have a full five.

  • Best Actor:
  1. Paul Giamatti  (Barney’s Version)
  2. Kevin Spacey  (Casino Jack)
  3. Robert Duvall  (Get Low)
  4. Andy Serkis  (Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll)
  5. Johnny Depp  (Alice in Wonderland)

Analysis:  This is the only Comedy nom for Serkis.  It’s the second for Spacey, but his first in 16 years which is nothing compared to Duvall who also earns his second, but his first in 40 years.  It’s the third for Giamatti.  It’s the seventh for Depp who moves into a tie with Woody Allen for 6th place all-time with 315 points.
This is the weakest Top 5 since 2001 and tied for the weakest since 1995.

  • Best Actress
  1. Annette Bening  (The Kids are All Right)
  2. Julianne Moore  (The Kids are All Right)
  3. Emma Stone  (Easy A)
  4. Anne Hathaway  (Love and Other Drugs)
  5. Dakota Fanning  (The Runaways)

Analysis:  This is the only Comedy nom for Fanning, the first for Stone, the second for Bening and Hathaway and the fifth for Moore.
The best of the Comedy acting categories and better than the previous two years.

  • Best Supporting Actor:
  1. Mark Ruffalo  (The Kids are All Right)
  2. Dustin Hoffman  (Barney’s Version)
  3. Michael Shannon  (The Runaways)
  4. Bill Murray  (Get Low)
  5. Harrison Ford  (Morning Glory)

Analysis:  This is the only Comedy nom for Shannon, the first for Ruffalo, the third for Ford (with big gaps – 1981, 1995, 2010), the sixth for Hoffman and the ninth for Bill Murray who moves up to 395 points, staying in fourth place all-time.
This is the weakest Top 5 since 1990.
While he doesn’t make my list, I do want to mention Keiran Culkin’s performance in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, the best thing about the film and probably the funniest performance of the year.

  • Best Supporting Actress:
  1. Kristin Scott-Thomas  (Nowhere Boy)
  2. Greta Gerwig  (Greenberg)
  3. Mia Wasikowsika  (The Kids are All Right)

Analysis:  This is the only Comedy nom for Wasikowsika, the first for Gerwig and the second for Scott-Thomas.
This is the (not surprisingly) weakest Top 5 since 1993 (which only had one performance).  Scott-Thomas is also the weakest winner since 1993.

  • The Kids are All Right  (370)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Actress, Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress
  • Toy Story 3  (180)
    • Picture, Adapted Screenplay
  • Barney’s Version  (140)
    • Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actor
  • Micmacs  (135)
    • Picture, Director, Original Screenplay
  • The Good, the Bad, the Weird  (130)
    • Director, Original Screenplay
  • Tangled  (90)
    • Picture, Adapted Screenplay
  • Despicable Me  (90)
    • Picture, Original Screenplay
  • OSS 117: Lost in Rio  (85)
    • Director, Adapted Screenplay
  • Alice in Wonderland  (80)
    • Director, Actor
  • Love and Other Drugs  (75)
    • Adapted Screenplay, Actress
  • Easy A  (75)
    • Original Screenplay, Actress
  • Get Low  (65)
    • Actor, Supporting Actor
  • The Runaways  (65)
    • Actress, Supporting Actor
  • Nowhere Boy  (60)
    • Supporting Actress
  • Casino Jack  (35)
    • Actor
  • Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll  (35)
    • Actor
  • Morning Glory  (30)
    • Actor
  • Greenberg  (30)
    • Supporting Actress

Analysis:  Even with one category left incomplete, there are four more films than the year before because of so many films with two or fewer nominations.  The Kids are All Right, even without winning Picture or Director, has the most Comedy points in five years.  The categories as a whole are the weakest since 1990, as are the winners.

Best Comedy Not Nominated for any Nighthawk Golden Globes:

  • Four Lions

Analysis:  A bizarre British Comedy about homegrown British jihadis.  A solid film (high ***) but it didn’t have any performances that made my list, so got blanked while several weaker films earn acting nominations.  It’s my #46 film of the year but that makes it the #12 Comedy.

Roundup for the Year in Film:

Eligible Films I Have Seen:  227

By Stars:

  • ****:  17
  • ***.5:  21
  • ***:  110
  • **.5:  36
  • **:  26
  • *.5:  2
  • *:  9
  • .5:  5
  • 0:  1
  • Average Film Score for the Year, out of 100:  62.70

Analysis:  The average bounces back another point and a half.  That’s because even with twelve fewer films there are more **** and more ***.5 films.  They account for 16.74% of all the films, more than each of the previous two years and each of the next three years.

Oscar-Nominated Films I Have Not Seen:

  • none

Oscar Quality:

Best Picture:  A great year.  Definitely the best year with more than five nominees and the only one with more than five in which all the nominees are ***.5 or better.  The average film rating of 91.1 is actually the 6th best ever but the overall year ranks at #14 because of the lack of a film at the top (none of the nominees make the Top 75).  It’s just harder with more than five nominees because the more films you have, the more it brings the average rank of the films down.  Of all the years with more than five nominees, this is also the only one with even nine films of ***.5 or better and the only one with eight **** films.

The Winners:  A very strong year even with Inception pushing past The King’s Speech.  The rank among all films for the winners is 2.10, the best since 1986 and the third best to-date.  Foreign Film is the only category whose winner earns at least a Nighthawk nom and only five categories aren’t won by the best or second best choice (Picture, Director, Makeup, Song, Foreign Film).  That includes the great Tech average of 1.44, the best since 2003 and tied for the fifth best to-date.  It also includes an acting average of 1.25, the best since 1971 and tied for the third best ever.  Among the nominees, the average winner ranks at 1.55, the best in seven years.  Only three categories, Picture, Director and Foreign Film aren’t won by the best or second best nominee.  Thirteen categories are won by the best nominee, the most in seven years.

The Nominees:  It doesn’t get any better than this.  Not only that, I suspect it will never get better than this.  The overall Oscar Score is an astounding 89.0, the highest in any year by two and a half points.  That includes the second highest year for the major categories of 88.3, with all four categories above 86.8 (the only reason it’s not higher is that none go above 90.9).  The Tech categories are a very strong 86.0, the second highest to-date and the third highest ever, with only Sound (74.2) and Makeup (41.2) scoring below 80.  But the best is in the acting categories where all four manage an astounding perfect score of 100.  We will have to see how the decade plays out, but so far this year is the herald of a very solid decade, with scores (through 2016) in acting above 95 and Tech above 85.

Golden Globe Best Picture – Comedy / Musical:  The nominees in 2009 had been the worst bunch since 1976.  This year outdoes them with, by far, the worst group of nominees in Globes history.  Before this year, the lowest average for a group of nominees was 62.0 in 1967.  This year’s nominees average 55.2.  In the whole history of the Globes before this year, only two films had been nominated in this category that ranked below **; there are two in this year alone.  This year has one small excuse and even that is negated.  So what are the nominees?  The winner is The Kids are All Right (which they got right), the two not terrible nominees are Alice in Wonderland and Red and the two truly awful ones are Burlesque and The Tourist.  So what’s the excuse?  Well, as you can see above in the Comedy section, this is a terrible year for them.  There are eight films that earn a **** or ***.5 from me and of those eight, seven of them aren’t eligible for this award because they were either Animated or Foreign.  So that’s a partial excuse: no worthy candidates and the only one worthy, they gave the award to.  So why is that negated?  Well, because the next three films, the top *** films eligible, Easy A, Barney’s Version and Love and Other Drugs, just like the year before, were all nominated for their acting.  For the second year in a row, they took the best films and relegated them to the acting awards and passed them over for much weaker films in the Best Picture category.  There is an exchange in the comments field of the Year in Film post that covers the Critic’s Choice Comedy section, which was a better choice than these, but still flawed.  It’s just depressing that two years in a row, the Globes were close and yet so far.  These years are, thankfully, the aberration.  The next four years will all place in the Top 15 all-time with 2013 becoming, easily the #1 year.

Top 5 Films of the Year:

1  –  Inception  (reviewed here)

2  –  The Social Network  (reviewed here)

3  –  True Grit  (reviewed here)

4  –  The King’s Speech  (reviewed here)

Another brilliant film from a very flawed man.

5  –  The Ghost Writer  (dir. Roman Polanski)

The Ghost Writer is a good thriller from start to finish. It begins with a series of nice shots (a ferry empties out, with one vehicle left behind, an ominous sign) and then moves into the main plot: that the man who was ghost-writing the memoirs of a recently retired Prime Minister has died and a new writer is brought in. That is complicated by the fact that the Prime Minister is back in the news for supposedly illegally handing prisoners of war over to the CIA. What follows is a mix between a political film and a thriller and one that walks the line between them quite well, handled by the sure directing hand of Roman Polanski.

It’s that directing hand that probably lead to this film being mostly passed over by awards groups. Yes, in 2002, the Academy had handed Polanski the Oscar (well, they didn’t hand it to him because that would have required him coming to the States where he would have been arrested), but Polanski was arrested while working on this film and he ended up back in the news. So, while critics mostly gave very good reviews to this film, when the awards groups came around, it was mostly ignored.

The political elements of the film are easy to see. We have a thinly disguised Tony Blair, lead by a much more ruthless wife than Cheri (if anyone makes a pun joke about her not being ruthless, I will punch them), a man who has been lead by the Americans around on a leash and essentially has ruined his own political career by doing them a favor. He’s trying to curry his way back into international favor but the war crimes charges come around and suddenly he finds that he can’t even return home. He’s played by Pierce Brosnan, who is often thought of as charming and funny, by people who either identify him with Remington Steele or James Bond, but not even given enough credit for his acting. But here he must work his charm alongside his anger at being pushed aside, at being charged, at being unable to return home, and then with his own personal problems to boot and the results are quite effective (he’s my #8 in Supporting Actor for the year). There is also Olivia Williams as his wife, possibly giving the best performance of her career (she’s also #8 on my list).

But, what perhaps truly make this film is the final moment, which I won’t give away here. I haven’t read the original novel, so I don’t know how it went about the ending, but it feels like Polanski must have turned it in this direction. This is the man, after all, who insisted on the downbeat ending of Chinatown. That’s not to say the ending is downbeat. But there is an aura of mystery in those final shots and I think it’s Polanski who decided to keep them off-screen and allow us to wonder how things will unfold from there. It makes for one of the best endings of the year and helps confirm this as one of the best films of the year.

The Razzies:  They get it fairly right.  They don’t include the worst film of the year (see below), but since it was a Foreign film that’s understandable.  Their winner is my third worst film of the year (The Last Airbender) and their other nominees all land in my bottom 8 (Vampires Suck, The Bounty Hunter, Sex and the City 2, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse).  I can forgive them for passing over Cats & Dogs since it was a Kids film.  But their one gap is not nominating Jonah Hex, which they did nominate for Worst Actress.  But I’m definitely not complaining about their choices.

5 Worst Films  (#1 being the worst):

  1. The Human Centipede (First Sequence)
  2. Vampires Suck
  3. The Last Airbender
  4. Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore
  5. The Bounty Hunter

The list of Presumably Crappy Films That I Would Confirm are Crappy But I Haven’t Seen Them and Don’t Intend to See Them are: Get Him to the Greek (before you try to justify this film, let me list the people involved in the making of this film that I absolutely can’t stand: Judd Apatow, Jason Segal, Russell Brand, Jonah Hill, Kristen Schaal), Jackass 3D, Leap Year, Legion, Little Fockers, Macgruber, Marmaduke, Resident Evil: Afterlife, Saw 3D, Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married Too, Valentine’s Day, Yogi Bear.  Remember that’s not a definitive list but just one I was able to find based on the Oscar Reminder List and which films on it I haven’t seen and remember well enough to know they would suck.

TSPDT – by what methodology did this end up on your “starting list”?

The Human Centipede (First Sequence)  (dir. Tom Six)

This is going to be a long rant that is not completely about movies to start this review, so feel free to skip to the next paragraph.  Years ago, when I was still much more obsessed with baseball, I wanted to create a player ranking similar to what Bill James had done with Win Shares, but somewhat different.  I wanted to look at each player and how they ranked among their peers in each season – you would, for instance, get credit for being the best shortstop in the league.  To that extent, I felt that awards like MVP and Gold Gloves were valuable, in that they reflected what people thought at the time.  I didn’t think they could be completely discounted.  I never ended up going very far with that and Bill James and others (namely Jay Jaffe) really have done their own lists that cover that concept.  Which brings me to movies.  I am very grateful for the people at TSPDT because they have made their Top 1000 list and so it means I don’t have to come up with criteria for doing a similar list.  Although I don’t know their methodology, I think it is flawed for the same reason I thought James was flawed.  It doesn’t take into account, at all seemingly, what people thought at the time.  My example for that is Terms of Endearment.  By any measure of success, Terms of Endearment, at the time, was one of the most successful films ever made.  Commercially, it made $108 million, which made it the 27th highest grossing film of all-time (and it still sits in the Top 300 when accounting for inflation).  On the awards level, it won 5 Oscars, including Best Picture and earned the second most points of the decade.  It also set a new record for my weighted total of awards points.  On the critical level, it is one of the most successful films ever released among critics awards, only the third film to win three Best Picture awards and still ranks 12th all-time (it was #1 all-time by a long way when first released).  Every film ahead of it is in TSPDT’s Top 1000 or their 2000’s Top 100.  Yet, Terms of Endearment has never reached their Top 1000.  I can’t fully embrace any methodology that would completely ignore all of that.  Which brings me, the long way around to this disgusting reprehensible film.  I saw this because I was making my way through TSPDT’s 13,000+ film starting list.  I can’t fathom how they made that list, which is filled with horrible films that were lambasted by almost everyone.  In this year, this film is on the list but not the Swedish The Girl who Played with Fire, not Rachib Bouchareb’s Outside the Law (which earned an Oscar nomination), not Despicable Me.  I’m not saying they would have come anywhere close to making their actual list, but for those films to not even be on their starting list just makes me doubt their methodology for how they compiled that list to begin with.  I have seen too many utterly worthless films from their starting list.  This one just happens to be one of the absolute worst.

Now, having said all of that, what can be said about this film?  That it’s quite probably the most disgusting film I have ever seen.  If you don’t know what the title refers to, well, I’m not actually going to explain it, but hopefully you could figure it out.  I first heard of this film when a former co-worker of mine explained it with glee but he was also the same kind of guy who played in a band where they all made their own instruments so that might tell you something about his mindset.  Like Captivity, which I reviewed a couple of years back in this project, it revels in what it does to its subjects.  It only actually got made because the director, Tom Six, deliberately didn’t tell his financiers about the main aspect of the film.  That the acting in the film is not a complete dud is not something to be said in support of the film.  That people could be professional enough to keep their acting composure when faced with something like this is not necessarily a good thing.

I am not a fan of censorship.  That will come up again in the next year when this position is occupied by A Serbian Film, a film I again saw because of TSPDT’s initial list (that two of the most reviled films of all-time could make their list gives serious pause to their methodology in compiling it).  Both films have their supporters who claim that the films have something to say but that is all bullshit.  The films are there to shock you and any deeper meaning gets added by those who want to come up with a defense, not because anything in the film actually provides any evidence.  But just because I think Tom Six had the right to make this film doesn’t mean that I think it should have been distributed or that people should watch it.  They should have the right to watch it but good lord I question the values of anyone who would actually choose to watch it.  I have serious OCD and watched it for a reason and it wasn’t a good enough reason.

Points:

  • Most Nighthawk Nominations:  Inception  /  True Grit  (11)
  • Most Nighthawk Awards:  Inception  (9)
  • Most Nighthawk Points:  Inception  (590)
  • Worst Film Nominated for a Nighthawk Award:  The Wolfman
  • 2nd Place Award:  The Social Network  (Picture, Director, Actor, Editing)
  • 6th Place Award:  Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallow Part I  (Adapted Screenplay, Editing, Cinematography)
  • Most Nighthawk Drama Nominations:  The King’s Speech  (6)
  • Most Nighthawk Drama Awards:  Inception  (3)
  • Most Nighthawk Drama Points:  Inception  (305)
  • Worst Film Nominated for a Nighthawk Drama Award:  The Fighter
  • Most Nighthawk Comedy Nominations:  The Kids are All Right  (7)
  • Most Nighthawk Comedy Awards:  The Kids are All Right  (3)
  • Most Nighthawk Comedy Points:  The Kids are All Right  (370)
  • Worst Film Nominated for a Nighthawk Comedy Award:  Greenberg

Note:  * means a Nighthawk record up to this point; ** ties a Nighthawk record.
note:  A weird year, in that the major eight awards have eight different 6th place films.

Progressive Leaders:

  • Most Nighthawk Nominations:  The Wizard of Oz  /  The Godfather  /  The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King  (18)
  • Most Nighthawk Awards:  The Wizard of Oz  /  Bonnie and Clyde  /  Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon  (14)
  • Most Nighthawk Points:  Bonnie and Clyde  (865)
  • Most Nighthawk Awards without winning Best Picture:  Frankenstein  /  The Magnificent Ambersons  /  Tom Jones  (6)
  • Most Nighthawk Nominations without a Best Picture Nomination:  Yojimbo  /  Kagemusha  /  House of Flying Daggers  (11)
  • Most Nighthawk Nominations without a Nighthawk Award:  Throne of Blood (13)
  • Actor:  Jack Nicholson  (500)
  • Actress:  Katharine Hepburn  (560)
  • Director:   Akira Kurosawa  (765)
  • Writer:  Ingmar Bergman  (1040)
  • Cinematographer:  Sven Nykvist  (375)
  • Composer:  John Williams  (950)
  • Foreign Film:  Akira Kurosawa  /  Ingmar Bergman  (600)

Breakdown by Genre  (Foreign in parenthesis, best film in genre following, avg. score is afterwards, in parenthesis):

  • Drama:  91 (44)  –  The Social Network  (65.3)
  • Foreign:  84  –  Biutiful  (64.9)
  • Comedy:  35 (7)  –  The Kids are All Right  (59.1)
  • Fantasy:  16 (3)  –  Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I  (59.6)
  • Action:  14 (3)  –  The Good, the Bad, the Weird  (55.6)
  • Kids:  13 (2)  –  Toy Story 3  (65)
  • Crime:  11 (5)  –  The Town  (76.7)
  • Horror:  11 (2)  –  Black Swan  (44.2)
  • Musical:  9 (3)  –  Nowhere Boy  (59.7)
  • Mystery:  8 (6)  –  The Ghost Writer  (73.3)
  • War:  5 (4)  –  Green Zone  (72.2)
  • Sci-Fi:  4 (1)  –  Inception  (66)
  • Adventure:  4 (3)  –  The Edge  (64)
  • Suspense:  4 (1)  –  Salt  (49.5)
  • Western:  2  –  True Grit  (55)

Analysis:  There may not be another genre in another year where the only two films are such polar opposites in quality as in Western this year; the other Western is Jonah Hex which earns a 15.  Other genres with massive drop-offs after the first film are Horror (25 points from Black Swan to Let Me In) and Sci-Fi (31 points from Inception to Monsters).  The 14 Action films are the most since 1994 and second most ever.  The 4 Adventure films are the most since 2004.  The 8 Mystery films are the most ever.  The 16 Fantasy films are by far the most ever.  But the 35 Comedies are the fewest since 2005, the 84 Foreign films are the fewest since 2003 and the 91 Dramas are the fewest since 1997.  With the point drop-off on the non-genre films, its the genre film increases that bring the overall year up; well, that and because the non-genre films (everything but Drama, Comedy and Musical) make up over 40% of the films for the first time since 1990 and only the second time since 1978.  Foreign films have their worst average since 2002 and Suspense their worst since 1992 but Kids have their best since 1981.  Fantasy films go up to 223 films total, passing Mystery and pushing Mystery (with 219) into last place.
For the first time since 2006 and only the second time since 1981, there are no Comedies in the Top 10.  True Grit, on the other hand, is the first Western in the Top 10 since Unforgiven in 1992.  There is only one Comedy in the Top 20 for the first time since 2004 and only the third time since 1965.  There is only one Foreign Film in the Top 20 for the first time since 1996 and only the second time since 1953.

Studio Note:  20th Century-Fox leads with 18 films, followed by Sony Pictures Classics and IFC Films with 16 each (IFC won’t come close to that number again).  No other studio has more than 12 films.  With no more films from THINKFilm (25 films over eight years) or First Look Pictures (29 films over 16 years), Music Box Films jumps in, with 5 films.  This is the only year after 2003 where I have seen no films from Film Movement.
Paramount and Universal have good films (both average just over 70) while Columbia’s are terrible (46.92 average in spite of The Social Network).  Sony Pictures Classics are especially good, with a 75.19 average (one **** film (Another Year) and six ***.5 films).  Warner Bros scores three films in the Top 10 (Inception, Harry Potter, The Town), the first studio to do so since 1990.  With Inception, Warners wins its 15th Nighthawk, more than double any other studio at this point.

97 Films Eligible for Best Foreign Language Film (alphabetical, with director and country in parenthesis – red are ****, blue are ***.5 – both those colors qualify for my Best Foreign Film Award; an asterisk means it was the Official selection for the Oscar, two asterisks were semi-finalists, three asterisks were nominated, four asterisks won the Oscar):

  • 13 Assassins  (Miike, Japan)
  • 9:06  (Sterk, Slovenia)  *
  • Abel  (Luna, Mexico)
  • Aftershock  (Xiaogang, China)  *
  • Aisha  (Ojha, India)
  • Amigo  (Sayles, USA)
  • Bal  (Kaplanoglu, Turkey)  *
  • A Barefoot Dream  (Kim, South Korea)  *
  • Bibliotheque Pascal  (Hajdu, Hungary)  *
  • Biutiful  (González Iñárritu, Mexico)  ***
  • Carancho  (Trapero, Argentina)  *
  • Certified Copy  (Kiarostami, Iran)
  • Cirkus Columbia  (Tanovic, Bosnia)  *
  • Colorful  (Hara, Japan)
  • The Concert  (Mihaileanu, France)
  • Confessions  (Nakashima, Japan)  **
  • Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame  (Tsui, Hong Kong)
  • Dogtooth  (Lanthimos, Greece)  ***
  • The Dreams of Jinsha  (Deming, China)
  • East, West, East: The Final Spirit  (Xhuvani, Albania)  *
  • Eastern Plays  (Kalev, Bulgaria)  *
  • Echoes of the Rainbow  (Law, Hong Kong)  *
  • The Edge  (Uchitel, Russia)  *
  • Enter the Void  (Noé, France)
  • Even the Rain  (Bollain, Spain)  **
  • Farewell Baghdad  (Naderi, Iran)  *
  • Film Socialisme  (Godard, Switzerland)
  • The First Beautiful Thing  (Virzi, Italy)  *
  • Gainsbourg  (Sfar, France)
  • The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest  (Alfredson, Sweden)
  • Hermano  (Rasquin, Venezuela)  *
  • How Funny (Our Country Is)  (Mizwar, Indonesia)  *
  • The Human Resources Manager  (Riklis, Israel)  *
  • I Saw the Devil  (Kim, South Korea)
  • If I Want to Whistle, I Whistle  (Serben, Romania)  *
  • Illegal  (Massett-Depasse)  *
  • The Illusionist  (Chomet, France)
  • In a Better World  (Bier, Denmark)  ****
  • Incendies  (Villeneuve, Canada)  ***
  • Kawasaki’s Rose  (Hrebejk, Czech Republic)  *
  • The Last Circus  (Iglesia, Spain)
  • Leap Year  (Rowe, Mexico)
  • Life Above All  (Schmitz, South Africa)  **
  • The Light Thief  (Kubat, Krygyzstan)  *
  • The Little Bedroom  (Chuat / Reymond, Switzerland)  *
  • The Little One  (Covi / Frimmel, Austria)  *
  • Love Crime  (Corneau, France)
  • Lula, Son of Brazil  (Barreto, Brazil)  *
  • Messages from the Sea  (Sayed, Egypt)  *
  • Monga  (Niu, Taiwan)  *
  • Mothers  (Manchevski, Macedonia)  *
  • My Joy  (Loznitsa, Ukraine)
  • My Name is Khan  (Johar, India)
  • No One Knows About Persian Cats  (Ghobadi, Iran)
  • Norwegian Wood  (Tran, Japan)
  • Nummioq  (Rosing / Bech, Greenland)  *
  • Of Gods and Men  (Beauvois, France)  *
  • Of Love and Other Demons  (Hidalgo, Costa Rica)  *
  • Outside the Law  (Bouchareb, Algeria)  ***
  • Peepli Live  (Rizvi, India)  *
  • Poetry  (Lee, South Korea)
  • Potiche  (Ozon, France)
  • The Precinct  (Safat, Azerbaijan)  *
  • Le Quattro volte  (Frammartino, Italy)
  • Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale  (Helander, Finland)
  • Robot  (Shankar, India)
  • Sarah’s Key  (Paquet-Brenner, France)
  • The Secret World of Arietty  (Yonebayashi, Japan)
  • A Serbian Film  (Spasojevic, Serbia)
  • The Strange Case of Angelica  (de Oliveira, Portugal)
  • Strayed  (Satayev, Kazakhstan)  *
  • Street Days  (Koguashvili, Georgia)  *
  • The Temptation of St. Tony  (Ounpuu, Estonia)  *
  • Third Person Singular Number  (Farooki, Bangladesh)  *
  • Three  (Tykwer, Germany)
  • Tirza  (van den Berg, Netherlands)  *
  • To Die Like a Man  (Rodrigues, Portugal)
  • Trollhunter  (Ovredal, Norway)
  • Tuesday, After Christmas  (Muntean, Romania)
  • Udaan  (Motwane, India)
  • Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives  (Weerasethakul, Thailand)  *
  • Undertow  (Fuentes-Leon, Peru)  *
  • La Vida Util  (Veiroj, Uruguay)  *
  • Viva Riva!  (Munga, Congo)
  • We Have a Pope  (Moretti, Italy)
  • What War May Bring  (Lelouch, France)
  • When We Leave  (Aladaq, Germany)  *

Note:  A big drop of 10, down to 87.  That’s only a little bit reflected from the drop in what I have seen that was submitted to the Oscars (down by four films).  I have my first films from Congo and Greenland (I always forget that Greenland actually has people, although just a little over 50,000 spread out over an island ten times the size of Texas).  France leads with 9 films, of course, and is followed by Japan and India with 5 each.

Foreign Films Submitted for Best Foreign Film at the Oscars That I Haven’t Seen:

  • Afghanistan:  The Black Tulip  (dir Cole)
  • Chile:  The Life of Fish  (dir. Bize)
  • Colombia:  Crab Trap  (dir. Ruiz Navia)
  • Croatia:  The Blacks  (dir. Devic / Juric)
  • Ethiopia:  The Athlete  (dir. Frankel / Lakew)
  • Finland:  Steam of Life  (dir. Berghall / Hotakainen)
  • Iceland:  Mamma Gogo  (dir. Fridriksson)
  • Iraq:  Son of Babylon  (dir. Al-Daradji)
  • Latvia:  Hong Kong Confidential  (dir. Martinsons)
  • Nicaragua:  La Yuma  (dir. Jaugey)
  • Norway:  The Angel  (dir. Olin)
  • The Philippines:  Noy  (dir. Santos / Nacianceno)
  • Poland:  All That I Love  (dir. Borcuch)
  • Puerto Rico:  Miente  (dir. Mercado)
  • Serbia:  Besa  (dir. Karanovic)
  • Slovakia:  Hranica  (dir. Vojtek)
  • Sweden:  Simple Simon  (dir. Ohman)  ** (semi-finalist)

note:  At this point I am making a concerted effort to see as many submitted films as I can.  The full list can be found here.  This year I am a solid 49 for 66 (74%), my weakest showing in a decade.  There is one more submission than the year before, but still one short of the record set in 2008.
Ten countries that submitted in 2009 don’t this year (Armenia, Australia, Bolivia, Cuba, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Morocco, Sri Lanka, United Kingdom, Vietnam).  These is the last year to date (2017 Oscars) that either Lithuania or Morocco has missed submitting.  They are replaced by 11 countries that didn’t submit in 2009 (Afghanistan, Algeria, Azerbaijan, Costa Rica, Egypt, Ethiopia, Greenland, Iraq, Latvia, Kyrgyzstan, Nicaragua).  Algeria earns a nomination a year after not submitting for the second time in five years.  Ethiopia and Greenland are submitting for the first time ever and Nicaragua for the first time since 1988.  Bizarrely, of the 11 countries, only Egypt will submit again in 2011.
These are my 1st miss (Ethiopia, obviously, Latvia, Nicaragua), 2nd (Chile, Iraq), 4th (Afghanistan, Croatia, Puerto Rico), 5th (Colombia, Poland), 7th (Serbia), 8th (Slovakia), 9th (Philippines), 12th (Norway), 13th (Finland), 15th (Sweden) and 18th (Iceland).  There’s a contrast between Chile (the 2nd, and through 2016, the last miss of their 21 submissions) and Iceland (the country with the most submissions that I am not at 50% through 2016 – 16 for 37).

Films Eligible in This Year But Originally Released in a Different Year:

  • David Holzman’s Diary  (1967)
  • Three, Two, One  (1974)
  • Heroes Without a Cause  (1998)
  • Tales from Earthsea  (2006)
  • Little Moth  (2007)
  • The Warlords  (2007)
  • Gangster’s Paradise: Jerusalema  (2008)
  • The Garden of Eden  (2008)
  • The Good, the Bad, the Weird  (2008)
  • Kisses  (2008)
  • Let it Rain  (2008)
  • Mid-August Lunch  (2008)
  • North Face  (2008)
  • Prince of Broadway  (2008)
  • Salt of This Sea  (2008)
  • Sita Sings the Blues  (2008)
  • The Square  (2008)
  • Teza  (2008)
  • Agora  (2009)
  • Ajami  (2009)
  • Amer  (2009)
  • Applause  (2009)
  • Around a Small Mountain  (2009)
  • Backyard  (2009)
  • Bluebeard  (2009)
  • Breaking Upwards  (2009)
  • Chloe  (2009)
  • City Island  (2009)
  • The City of Your Final Destination  (2009)
  • Copernicus’s Star  (2009)
  • The Cry of the Owl  (2009)
  • The Disappearance of Alice Creed  (2009)
  • Down Terrace  (2009)
  • Everyone Else  (2009)
  • The Exploding Girl  (2009)
  • Father of My Children  (2009)
  • Fish Tank  (2009)
  • The Girl who Played with Fire  (2009)
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo  (2009)
  • Guy and Madeline on a Park Pench  (2009)
  • Hideaway  (2009)
  • The Human Centipede (First Sequence)  (2009)
  • I Am Love  (2009)
  • I Love You Philip Morris  (2009)
  • Idiots and Angels  (2009)
  • Inspector Bellamy  (2009)
  • Leaves of Grass  (2009)
  • Lebanon  (2009)
  • Letters to Father Jacob  (2009)
  • Mademoiselle Chambon  (2009)
  • Metropia  (2009)
  • Micmacs  (2009)
  • Mother  (2009)
  • My Dog Tulip  (2009)
  • Nowhere Boy  (2009)
  • OSS 117: Lost in Rio  (2009)
  • Paper Man  (2009)
  • Samson and Delilah  (2009)
  • The Secret in Their Eyes  (2009)
  • Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll  (2009)
  • Spring Fever  (2009)
  • Summer Wars  (2009)
  • Valhalla Rising  (2009)
  • Vengeance  (2009)
  • Vincere  (2009)
  • Ward no 6  (2009)
  • White Material  (2009)
  • White Wedding  (2009)
  • Wild Grass  (2009)
  • A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop  (2009)

Note:  These 70 films average a 62.3.  Three of them are bad: The Garden of Eden, Paper Man and my Worst Film of the Year, The Human Centipede.  None of them rise above ***.5 and only The Secret in Their Eyes is even high ***.5.

Films That Weren’t Eligible at the Oscars:

  • Aftershock
  • Aisha
  • Amer
  • Around a Small Mountain
  • Backyard
  • Breaking Upwards
  • Copernicus’s Star
  • The Cry of the Owl
  • The Disappearance of Alice Creed
  • Down Terrace
  • Endhiran
  • Enter the Void
  • Everyone Else
  • The Exploding Girl
  • Father of My Children
  • Fish Tank
  • Gangster’s Paradise: Jerusalema
  • The Good, the Bad, the Weird
  • Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench
  • Hot Tub Time Machine
  • The Human Centipede (First Sequence)
  • Inspector Bellamy
  • Jolene
  • The Killer Inside Me
  • Kisses
  • Leaves of Grass
  • Let it Rain
  • Letters to Father Jacob
  • Mademoiselle Chambon
  • Metropia
  • Mid-August Lunch
  • Mother
  • No One Knows About Persian Cats
  • North Face
  • Outside the Law
  • Paper Man
  • Peepli Live
  • The Precinct
  • Prince of Broadway
  • Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale
  • Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll
  • Sita Sings the Blues
  • The Square
  • Tales from Earthsea
  • The Temptation of St. Tony
  • Teza
  • Tiny Furniture
  • Today’s Special
  • Undertow
  • Valhalla Rising
  • Vincere
  • Ward no 6
  • The Warlords
  • White Material
  • White Wedding

Note:  This is different from the list below.  Starting in 1994, I have full lists from Academy press releases of all the eligible films.  But there are a lot of films in each year that weren’t officially eligible for a variety of reasons but were released in what would normally be considered qualifying runs.  So, these are films that were listed on oscars.org (unlike the list below), but weren’t actually eligible for the Oscars.  I ignore that, of course, and these films are all eligible for the Nighthawks.  But having them on the list helps me know what year they were “eligible” even if they really weren’t.  Bear in mind that some of these films were eligible (and sometimes even nominated) for Best Foreign Film in their original release year.
One film that would be on this list except I don’t count television films is Red Riding, which must have played in a theater in LA.  I suppose I would give it a high ***.5 if I thought of it that way, although putting all three Red Ridings together as one film would be a bit unwieldy.

Films Not Listed at Oscars.org:

  • Ajami
  • A Barefoot Dream
  • Bibliotheque Pascal
  • Bluebeard
  • The City of Your Final Destination
  • Confessions
  • David Holzman’s Diary
  • East, West, East: The Final Sprint
  • Eastern Plays
  • Echoes of the Rainbow
  • The Edge
  • Farewell Baghdad
  • Heroes Without a Cause
  • How Funny (Our Country Is)
  • The Light Thief
  • Little Moth
  • The Little One
  • Messages from the Sea
  • Mothers
  • My Joy
  • Nummioq
  • Salt of This Sea
  • Samson and Delilah
  • The Secret in Their Eyes
  • Spring Fever
  • Strayed
  • Street Days
  • Third Person Singular Number
  • Three, Two, One
  • Tirza
  • Udaan
  • Vengence
  • La Vida Util
  • What War May Bring

Note:  I used to use the list at Oscars.org for deciding which year films are eligible in before it went apparently defunct.  Thankfully, I copied all the lists while it was still live.  Some films, however, didn’t appear in that database.  For those films, I use the IMDb.  These are the films that weren’t listed in the Oscars.org database but that end up in this year.
As is usually the case, most of these are Foreign films which never got an L.A. release.  The films marked in orange were those that were submitted for Best Foreign Film at the Oscars (not necessarily in this year).  There are a lot this year because I was fairly successful at seeing the submitted films (plus some holdovers from earlier years).

Films Released This Year Originally But Eligible in a Different Year:

  • 13 Assassins  (2011)
  • Abel  (2011)
  • Amigo  (2011)
  • Bal  (2011)
  • Brighton Rock  (2011)
  • Carancho  (2011)
  • Certified Copy  (2011)
  • Cold Weather  (2011)
  • The Debt  (2011)
  • Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame  (2011)
  • Dogtooth  (2011)
  • Even the Rain  (2011)
  • Everything Must Go  (2011)
  • Film Socialisme  (2011)
  • The First Beautiful Thing  (2011)
  • Gainsbourg  (2011)
  • The Human Resources Manager  (2011)
  • I Saw the Devil  (2011)
  • If I Want to Whistle, I Whistle  (2011)
  • Illegal  (2011)
  • In a Better World  (2011)
  • Incendies  (2011)
  • Kawasaki’s Rose  (2011)
  • The Last Circus  (2011)
  • Last Night  (2011)
  • Leap Year  (2011)
  • Life Above All  (2011)
  • Love Crime  (2011)
  • Miral  (2011)
  • Of Gods and Men  (2011)
  • Of Love and Other Demons  (2011)
  • Poetry  (2011)
  • Potiche  (2011)
  • Putty Hill  (2011)
  • Le Quattro volte  (2011)
  • Road to Nowhere  (2011)
  • Sarah’s Key  (2011)
  • A Serbian Film  (2011)
  • The Strange Case of Angelica  (2011)
  • Submarine  (2011)
  • There Be Dragons  (2011)
  • Three  (2011)
  • To Die Like a Man  (2011)
  • The Trip  (2011)
  • Trollhunter  (2011)
  • Tuesday, After Christmas  (2011)
  • Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives  (2011)
  • Viva Riva!  (2011)
  • When We Leave  (2011)
  • 9:06  (2010)
  • Boy  (2012)
  • Cirkus Columbia  (2012)
  • Hermano  (2012)
  • Lula, Son of Brazil  (2012)
  • Monga  (2012)
  • Norwegian Wood  (2012)
  • The Secret World of Arietty  (2012)
  • We Have a Pope  (2012)
  • Colorful  (2013)
  • The Little Bedroom  (2014)

Note:  These 60 films average a 63.5.  Once again, I have what will be the worst film of the next year (A Serbian Film) but the only other film below ** is The Last Circus.  On the plus side are one **** film (Incendies) and four ***.5 films, though none very high (The Trip, The Secret World of Arietty, Potiche, Even the Rain).