Before the Oscars, I finally get to my Top 15 of 2011!

Academy Award Winner

Academy Award Winner (Photo credit: Dave_B_)

I will start by saying that the Academy Awards are frustrating. Sometimes they get it right, but mostly the awards end up being either a popularity contest, an oops-sorry-we-got-it-wrong-last-year-so-we-will-give-it-to-you-now-for-a-way-inferior-role, or just plain crazy!  So, why do I watch? Why year after year, do I torture myself? I can not help it!  I have watched the Oscars all my life.  It is a tradition. 

As a lover of films, it is what you do and I must admit that part of the fun is the craziness. You get to talk with your family and friends–for or against–the choices that the Academy makes, the dresses worn, and the speeches. This year I am stoked that my favorite host, Billy Crystal, has returned (Hugh Jackman has been my only other favorite host since Crystal departed).  As you will notice, not many of my favorites are represented this year at the Oscars…I know–that’s what I was talking about…

Now a few disclaimers before my list.  This is my Top 15 list–not the critics and I tend to choose films that have affected me–emotional and/or intellectually.  Also, I am, first and foremost, a sci-fi//action girl–so every year those films creep into my list.  I have reviewed most of these so you can search for them to read more about them.

Here we go…Top 15 of 2011! 

15.  Midnight in Paris

Beautifully told.  Whimsical and brilliant.  This is what I love about Woody Allen.  This role was tailor-made for Owen Wilson.

14.  The Help

Hit all the right notes.  Humorous, dramatic and heartfelt.  Deserves all the attention it is getting. I am rooting for them on Oscar night. 

13.  Warrior

What should be a clichéd, typical sport movie is transformed into an intense and effective character study.  Nick Nolte deserves this Oscar. 

12. Super 8

A homage to Spielberg and a different era of storytelling.  It is perfect. 

11.  Another Earth

Creative and unique.  Brit Marling is a force to be reckoned with. 

10.  The Adjustment Bureau 

I loved this film.  Matt Damon and Emily Blunt‘s chemistry is worth the watch.  This is how I like my romantic films to be–interesting, realistic with a sci-fi twist.

9.  Hanna

Wonderfully acted.  Awesome action sequences.  Fantastic music.  Intriguing heroes and unforgettable villains.  Yeah, it is BADASS!

8.  Attack the Block

Talk about BADASS!  This film is the ultimate sci-fi/action flick.  It is AWESOME!  Then they surprise you with depth and meaning.

7.  Beginners

This plays like an artistic piece.  It is poetry on film.  Christopher Plummer is lovely (I will not be upset if Nolte loses to him–which he might).  Ewan McGregor is wonderful.

6.  Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

Gary Oldman.  Enough said.  Yes, I am biased.  But this is a clever, quiet, deliberate film.  Layered and nuanced.  And yeah…let’s not forget Benedict Cumberbatch. 🙂

5.  Drive

You either love or hate it.  I loved it.  One of the best deconstructing of a character on film.  Pretty impressive.

4.  Shame

Michael Fassbender not nominated for an Oscar?  Sad.  This is a brutal, honest look at a man’s struggle with his demons.  It will haunt you.

3.  The Skin I live In

Blew me away.  It sneaks up on you.  Revealing itself slowly and deliberately.  Antonio Banderas is fantastic!

2.  Take Shelter

Beautifully crafted.  Michael Shannon was also sadly forgotten by Oscar.  Powerful and intense.  A true mind bending experience.

1.  50/50

Real. Emotional. And laugh out loud funny. I loved everything about this film.  I am a huge fan of Joseph Gordon Levitt and this only solidifies his awesomeness!  (Shame on you Oscars–shame on you–not one single nomination.)