NAOMI WATTS (The Impossible): The performance of Naomi Watts in The Impossible was her usual display of playing a character. The only difference is, this time, it was the physical performance that is most impressive. The Impossibleis the story about a family that was spending their Christmas at a resort off the coast of Thailand. As a family they have their usual worries. The kids are not getting along and money is not as comfortable as it usually is. All of these things seem trivial when a giant tsunami hits them, separating them from each other and putting their lives on the line. From the moment the Tsunami hits, it is a struggle for survival. I am not sure how the scenes are done but the film looks like Watts was asked to brave a real tsunami wave. Her body twists and turns in water clouded with cars, trees, oil, and debris. Her performance is comparable to that of Tom Hanks in Castaway. There is not much talk but a lot of pain. When Watts does speak it is her cries for her son Lucas who is with her on the journey. Watts is one of the premier actresses in film today. In The Impossible, she gives an inspiring portrayal of a mother doing her best to have strength in a time of emergency.
JESSICA CHASTAIN (Zero Dark Thirty): If there needed to be a role for Jessica Chastain to make her name remembered she found it in Zero Dark Thirty. The Kathryn Bigelow film is one of the best of the year and Chastain is the star of it all. The beautiful actress has for the most part made great decisions in almost every movie she has done. Her IMDB Filmography is so impressive, in such a short time. Almost every movie from 2010 has been good: The Debt, Take Shelter, Coriolanus, The Tree of Life, The Help, Madagascar 3, Lawless, and now this! It is impressive! She plays Mya, a CIA Operative with one thing on her mind: capturing Osama Bin-Laden. Her search and stressful life bleeds onto the screen and Chastain has no problem being the bad ass. It is the kind of role that leads to Oscars. I do not think we will be forgetting the name Jessica Chastain.
Quvenzhane Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild): The three nominees in this category go as follows: Veteran, Up and Comer, and this one, the young one! Quvenzhane Wallis was only 5 years old at the time she won her audition for the role of Hushpuppy. When I was given the option to view a screening of the unknown indie film, I thought it was the usual Indie film that everyone says is the best movie of the year simply because they feel it is artsy fartsy. Well, I did my best going into the screening with an open mind and left with some tears and telling my friends it was one of the best movies of the year. Wallis’ performance is beautiful. Her narration is simple and sweet. Her personality is adorable and the Direction by Benh Zeitlin is anything short of brilliant. It is a film that is about so little and yet says so much, and it is all brought to us by a great acting performance in Quevenzhane Wallis.
AND THE WINNER IS…JESSICA CHASTAIN
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:
ANNE HATHAWAY (Les Miserables): Hathaway delivers a rendition of “I Dreamed a Dream” so powerful that it is the main reason for her being nominated for a Golden Globe, an Oscar, and now on AMovieGuy.com. Her screen time is not much longer than 35 minutes but her performance is the only thing that you remember from the entire film. It is passionate and strong. “I Dreamed a Dream” has been sung with a lot of power (think Susan Boyle) and when you look at Hathaway she has had a history of strong performances, but she could not break through. She did in this. It was a great year for Hathaway who broke the mold with a solid performance as Catwoman in The Dark Knight Rises and broke through the brick wall in Les Mis. She could win the Oscar for this role.
SALLY FIELD (Lincoln): Field’s performance is one of the many great performances from Lincoln. She was the superb selection for a film over flowing with talent and professionalism. Her scenes with Daniel Day-Lewis were the greatest displays of acting that I have seen in a long time. These two actors have such an amazing ability to make me believe that they really were married and they were distraught by the loss of their son. An argument sequence that Abe Lincoln and Mary Todd have is Fields best moment. She feels that anger and displays her struggling emotions. It is perfect. Field has been a forgotten actress who could be one of the best of all time.
AMY ADAMS (The Master): The wife of Lancaster Dodd has been forgotten. Philip Seymour Hoffman may have portrayed the man, but Amy Adams portrayed the power behind the man. The Master is a great movie with three actors that give amazing performances and hers is the most forgotten. Her portrayal of Peggy Dodd, as the simple and mind her business wife, is excellent. She plays the woman at her man’s side in public scenes and then shows who is really in charge behind closed doors. Adams has put in great performance after performance. Julie and Julia, Doubt, The Fighter, and now this. When is it her turn? Every time she gives a great effort. She is one of the best actresses of today.
And the winner is...AMY ADAMS- THE MASTER
In 2012, tragedy struck us in a place where we have gone to escape for many years. In Aurora Colorado during the viewing of a midnight showing of The Dark KnightRises, a man started shooting at innocent fans who just wanted to have a good time at the movies. It was shocking to me. It hit me right at home. For the first time in my life, there was reason to fear going to the movies. Such a tragedy is so unfortunate for those that were lost and for those that were left behind. But with strong resilience, the movies still go one.
In January and February it is the Movie Award Season. It starts with the Broadcast Film Critic Awards, Golden Globe Awards, Spirit Awards, and finishing, of course, with The Academy Awards. But, there is one collection of awards that is also important...AMovieGuy.com's Awards. This is the first ever, so let’s get right to it. Here are the Nominees and Winners:
BEST MOVIE OF THE YEAR:
LINCOLN: Steven Spielberg’s not a stranger to being nominated for Best Movie of the Year. Last year Warhorse was a beautiful film that could make an argue that it should have won the Academy Award for Best Picture. This year, Mr. Spielberg has made another masterpiece. This time it was with the help of a great screenplay from Tony Kushner and an all-star cast. Daniel Day-Lewis is the leader as Abe Lincoln. Scene after scene enters an actor with great credentials. Tommy Lee Jones as Thaddeus Stevens, Sally Field as Mary Todd Lincoln, or Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Robert Lincoln. The list goes on and on. It is a political history lesson that reminds us of the important things that were done to abolish slavery. It is all put together with elegant sets creating the Civil War era and magnificent music composed by the great John Williams. Lincoln is the definition of a perfect film.
THE MASTER: I am not sure when the Academy Awards will be giving Paul Thomas Anderson an Oscar for Best Picture. It is clear to me that he is a modern-day Orson Welles. The movie has nothing to do about the director, but he is the master of his craft. Using amazing camera work showing the bright blue waves flow while our main character Freddie Quell sit in a hammock catching the ocean breeze. He uses the camera to follow Lancaster Dodd walk through a hallway and the camera raises up to his followers clapping for him. It seems easy when you get great performances from Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, and Philip Seymour Hoffman; but you need someone who is an expert at the craft and that is what PT Anderson is. The screenplay is brilliant and the story is intriguing. It will be looked back at and be considered one of the best that Anderson has ever done.
ZERO DARK THIRTY: Kathryn Bigelow’s CIA drama was one of the last films I viewed of the year 2012. Maybe it is on this list because it is fresh in my mind or maybe I was just saving the best for last? Zero Dark Thirty is a breathtaking drama. A journey. What Bigelow was able to do was make a movie that is real. The intensity is high in every scene where a prisoner is interrogated and yet Bigelow shows the human side. I was amazed and a shot of a detainee’s face with tears rolling down his face. And we are not to forget that the person being questioned helped in the terrorist attacks on September 11th 2001. The torture scenes have received the attention. Almost too much attention. It is only the beginning of what ZD30 is about. The mission of CIA operative Mya (Jessica Chastain) to track down Osama Bin Laden becomes her obsession. It is the only thing she has ever done. It is a lengthy journey that builds up to the climactic ending. I was stunned at how authentic and great this movie is. A 4 Star movie all the way!
AND THE WINNER IS…LINCOLN
It was a very TOUGH decision. The battle really came down between Zero Dark Thirty and Lincoln. The Master was a beautifully crafted film but the script is lacking some moments to give it the Best Movie award. Zero Dark Thirty is a perfect film. It may be a bit lengthy but if you cannot sit through this then you are not the person to be watching movies. Lincoln just has an overall perfection. The sets, the screenplay, the acting, the makeup. All things come together beautifully. It is Spielberg, John Williams, and Day-Lewis showing why they are the greatest of all time. Congrats to LINCOLN! YOU ARE AMovieGuy.com’s BEST MOVIE OF THE YEAR!
A MOVIE GUYS TOP 10 MOVIES OF THE YEAR
2) ZERO DARK THIRTY
3) THE MASTER
4) MOONRISE KINGDOM
7) THE DARK KNIGHT RISES
8) SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK
9) BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD
HONORABLE MENTIONS: ARGO; THE AVENGERS; THE IMPOSSIBLE; DJANGO UNCHAINED; LES MISERABLES; PARANORMAN; SKYFALL; THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY; SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS; KILLER JOE; PIRATES: BAND OF MISFITS; THE CABIN IN THE WOODS; THE HUNGER GAMES; SAVAGES; SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR:
LEONARDO DICAPRIO (Django Unchained): The nickname for Leonardo DiCaprio should be “the chameleon”. He is a man of many characters. He has been the con-artist in Catch Me If You Can. He was a special needs child in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. And he has been the reclusive Howard Hughes in The Aviator. The latter was his greatest performance, until Django Unchained. Never has the pretty boy who everyone loved in Titanic take on such an out of character role. Calvin Candie is a very bad man. A privileged man. DiCaprio plays him to perfection. His delivery of Quentin Tarantino’s dialogue, with devilish wit, separates him from everyone else on the screen. He plays southern charm like a badge on his sleeve and portrays a character that is quite gross. Never in my wildest dreams would I think of seeing Leo in the role of the evil bad guy, but sure enough, he is the wickedest man to run what he calls “Candie Land”. This may be his most memorable performance.
PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN (The Master): Lancaster Dodd may be a character based on Scientology creator L. Ron Hubbard, but Hoffman seems to have a lot more charisma than L. Ron. Hoffman is a superb actor. It is quite clear from the last few years. I am still buzzing about Capote and Doubt, they were a lesson on acting. Paul Thomas Anderson has a knack for getting the greatest actors all in one room. Having P.S. Hoff is quite a weapon to have in the arsenal. Scenes where Dodd interviews/tests the main Character Freddie Quell (Joaquin Phoenix) are the best. Hoffman oozes the charm that would cause anyone to be a part of or follow a brand new Religion. I still do not know what the Cause was, but I think Philip Seymour Hoffman had it.
ROBERT DE NIRO (Silver Linings Playbook): I was worried about Robert De Niro for a while. I had just about enough of him doing another Meet the Parents or Fockers movie. I thought, “maybe he was just depressed for a while? Maybe he needed to get some bad movies out-of-the-way so he can have a triumphant return?” Good thing I have patience. Silver Linings Playbook is his best performance since Jackie Brown. Sure, he had some other solid movies after that (Killer Elite or The Good Shepard), but this role was De Niro doing what he does best. Being an Actor! With a capital A. A scene where Pat Sr. walks into his recently diagnosed with bipolar son Patrick’s room there is a heart to heart talk. It is clear that Pat Sr. has not done this much and yet the tears that pour out of De Niro show such weakness from a strong actor. It is superb. I would love to see De Niro win one more Oscar.
AND THE WINNER IS...LEONARDO DICAPRIO- DJANGO UNCHAINED
DANIEL DAY-LEWIS (Lincoln): When Daniel Day-Lewis acts in a movie you may as well just give him the Academy Award. It is not even fair! My Left Foot, There Will Be Blood, Gangs of New York, and now Lincoln. Every movie he is in and every movie he is nominated for wins the Oscar. In Lincoln, he outdoes himself again. The style of method acting is not for everyone, but if you studied Day -Lewis, you would advise every actor to try it. He really does become honest Abe. He creates mannerisms that honest Abe may have done during his time. His walk is slow and calculated. His words are spoken soft and poignant. What is the most amazing accomplishment is how Day-Lewis does his public speaking. I truly believed I was watching Abraham Lincoln on the stage, speaking to thousands of American citizens.Lincoln is a history lesson for all of us today. And Day-Lewis gives us a lesson as to why he may be the greatest actor of all time!
JOAQUIN PHOENIX (The Master): Call it whatever you want, but Joaquin Phoenix’s little break from sanity only strengthened his acting ability. His scenes of obsession and compulsion in The Master are scenes of beauty. He plays post-WW2 depression better than anyone I have seen. He certainly played a man with no care for consequences. His scenes of drinking, self inflicting pain, and overall being uncomfortable in his own head are scary good. The line is blurred between Phoenix and his own mental state, either way, he clearly shows in this film that he may be back to being the great actor he has been.
DENZEL WASHINGTON (Flight): Playing an Alcoholic is not an easy role to play. Denzel certainly never tackled a role like this. The main reason for Flight being as good of a film as it is, is because of the performance from Washington. As Whip Whitaker, he is a man who continues to believe he has everything in control. Including his drinking. He loses that control, in a horrifying airplane crash. His life will begin to go into a very human tail spin. Washington gives a performance that is all about his struggle. He uses every moment of the screen to fully develop a troubled person in Whip Whitaker.
AND THE AWARD GOES TO...DANIEL DAY-LEWIS- LINCOLN