POSTED December 7 2012

Best films and performances of 2012

It was an election year in which  two films about American presidents — the most beloved Republican (Honest Abe in Lincoln) and most beloved Democrat (philandering FDR in Hyde Park on the Hudson )– played theaters. And a year in which two geopolitical thrillers about real-life CIA agents going head to head with Islamist revolutionaries will likely go head-to-head at the Oscars (Argo and Zero Dark Thirty). Three of these films are on my top-ten list.

Top Ten (ranked)

1) Zero Dark Thirty, Kathryn Bigelow’s nailbiting procedural of CIA analyst “Maya,” the woman (Jessica Chastain) who orchestrated the manhunt for Osama Bin Laden.

2) Argo, Ben Affleck’s tense thriller about Tony Mendez (Affleck), the CIA “exfiltrator” who spirited six U.S. State Department employees out of Iran during the hostage crisis in 1980.

3) Lincoln, Steven Spielberg’s bristling character study of the ground-level campaign conducted by the 16th president (Daniel Day-Lewis) to secure the passage of the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery.

4) Amour, Michael Haneke’s unsparing account of dignified octogenarians (Emmanuelle Riva, Jean-Louis Trintignant) facing the indignities of aging.

5) Middle of Nowhere, Ava DuVernay’s involving nocturne tracks a health-care worker (Emayatzy Corinealdi) who breaks out of her emotional lockdown during her husband’s incarceration.

6) The Sessions, Ben Lewin’s tender look at how a sex surrogate (Helen Hunt) helps a severely disabled poet (John Hawkes) achieve emotional intimacy.

7) The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Stephen Chbosky’s moving adaptation of his novel about high-school outsiders (Logan Lerman, Ezra Miller, Emma Watson) who support each other through trying times.

8) Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, Allison Klayman’s sympathetic portrait of the Chinese dissident artist, his work and his political tangles in his homeland.

9) Sister, Ursula Meier’s startling drama of an underclass family, seasonal employees at a posh Swiss ski resort.

10) Flight, Robert Zemeckis’ unflinching study of an airline pilot (Denzel Washington) capable of mastering  mechanical malfunctions but not always his personal demons.

Best performances

Lead actor: Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln), John Hawkes (The Sessions), Hugh Jackman (Les Miserables), Joaquin Phoenix (The Master), Denzel Washington (Flight).

Supporting actor:  Alan Arkin (Argo), Jude Law (Anna Karenina), Tommy Lee Jones (Lincoln), Matthew McConaughey (Magic Mike), David Oyelowo (Middle of Nowhere).

Lead actress: Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty), Emayatzy Corinealdi (Middle of Nowhere), Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook), Emmanuelle Riva (Amour).

Supporting actress: Amy Adams (The Master), Judi Dench (Skyfall), Sally Field (Lincoln), Helen Hunt (The Sessions), Kelly Reilly (Flight).

Your favorite films and performances of 2012?


22 comments

  1. Michael says:

    Top 10 so far. Still need to see Les Mis, Django, and Zero Dark Thirty

    Argo
    Lincoln
    The Master
    Life Of Pi
    Moonrise Kingdom
    Silver Linings Playbook
    Hope Springs
    Cloud Atlas
    Bernie
    The Perks Of Being A Wallflower

  2. jfloyd wggmn3 says:

    looks interesting…

  3. Bernie & Jack Black, period. Although I suppose some special prize for being cast against type could conceivably be given to Samuel L. Jackson in Django Unchained.

  4. Joa says:

    Quite interesting choices!!!

  5. Horse Badorties says:

    Ann Dowd..Compliance..

  6. ken says:

    Helen Hunt’s accent was lousy in The Sessions, and Amy Adams was completely forgettable in The Master. Alan Arkin gives the same cranky performances in all his movies. Sally Field was out of her league in Lincoln. Jennifer Lawrence was too young for her role , and she brought no credibility to her comedic and dramatic moments. The poor girl was trying too hard. The Perks of Being a Wallflower is mediocre and Argo had very little real tension- plus Ben Affleck’s acting was once again horrid.

    The Best Supporting Actresses: Emily Blunt ( Looper) ,Anne Hathaway ( Les Miserables & TDKR), and Ann Dowd ( Compliance) and Doona Bae ( Cloud Atlas) .

    Best Supporting Actor : Pierce Gagnon ( Looper) , Christoph Waltz ( Django Unchained) , Albert Brooks ( This Is Forty), Jim Broadbent ( Cloud Atlas), and Samuel L. Jackson ( Django Unchained).
    Best Actor : Mark Wahlberg ( Ted) ,John Hawkes (The Sessions), Hugh Jackman (Les Miserables), Denzel Washington (Flight), and Joseph Gordon Levitt ( Looper) .

  7. Daniel says:

    Not having seen “Zero Dark Thirty,” “Frances Ha,” or “Rust and Bone,”
    1. Lincoln
    2. Argo
    3. Alps
    4. Compliance
    5. Looper
    6. Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry
    7. Moonrise Kingdom
    8. Amour
    9. The Comedy
    10. End of Watch

    HM: Silver Linings Playbook, Kill List, Sinister, The Master, Bernie.

    Worst of the Year: Beasts of the Southern Wild, Flight, The Hunger Games, Chronicle.

  8. Boris Hazer says:

    Washington was born in Mount Vernon, near New York City, New York, on December 28, 1954. His mother, Lennis “Lynne”, was a beauty parlor-owner and operator born in Georgia and partly raised in Harlem. His father, Reverend Denzel Hayes Washington, Sr., a native of Buckingham County, Virginia, served as an ordained Pentecostal minister, and also worked for the Water Department and at a local department store, S. Klein…*

    Our personal web page
    <http://www.healthmedicinentral.com

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