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The Player Affinity Movie Awards 2010

After we awarded the best and worst films of 2010 and then provided you a comprehensive list ranking all the films we covered this year, did you really think we were done? To kick off the new year, here are the Player Affinity Movie Awards, recognizing categories outside the best and worst films of the year. Some of the awards were standard, but we cooked up a few that deserved to be handed out this year in particular.
 

Best Performance by an Actor (Drama) – Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network

Here’s an actor that has consistently given us bravura performances spanning a good chunk of film genres. In The Social Network, he captivated audiences with his quick delivery of long, technical passages of dialogue. He wonderfully portrayed one of the most influential people in technology right now, a person who is very intelligent, knows it, and doesn’t take crap from anybody. His Mark Zuckerberg shows us a man whose mind and mouth work incredibly fast but often get him in trouble with his peers. A very complex individual like Zuckerberg required a good actor like Eisenberg. My expectations were high, and he exceeded them. ~ Joseph

 

Best Performance by an Actress (Drama) – Natalie Portman, Black Swan

Most actresses would probably kill for the kind of spotlight Portman received in winning the part of Nina in Darren Aronofsky’s thriller. Rarely do roles for young-er women get featured so prominently in films of this caliber and Portman revels in the spotlight. Nina is quiet and overprotected by her mother and must confront everything that she is not in order to achieve her goal of perfecting her part in the ballet. It’s a trying psychological part and Portman nails it. ~ Steven

 

Best Performance in a Comedy  – Emma Stone, Easy A

Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel The Scarlet Letter isn’t exactly a laugh-a-minute read, but this loose adaptation of the novel certainly is, and it’s all thanks to leading lady Emma Stone. In her first leading role, Stone plays Olive, an unpopular high school student who all of sudden becomes the talk of the school when rumors fly about a salacious weeken that actually didn’t happen. She holds her own against acting heavyweights Patricia Clarkson and Stanley Tucci and possesses the charm, timing, and actability to give the funniest performance of the year. ~ Julian

 

Best Performance in a Blockbuster – Leonardo DiCaprio, Inception

Christopher Nolan’s Inception might be more lauded for its concepts and storytelling than its acting, but it goes without saying that Leonardo DiCaprio superbly leads the sci-fi epic. He takes Dom Cobb – and the audience – on a complex and surprisingly emotional journey. He’s reserved in the quiet moments and brings the bombast in times of emotional reveal. His subtle and gradual build-up to the final twist in the film makes this one of the year’s finest acting achievements. ~ Julian

 

Worst Performance by an Established Actor – Johnny Depp, The Tourist

When it came down to worst performance by an established actor it was hard to choose between Angelina Jolie or Johnny Depp. Both starred in the banal uninspired romantic thriller The Tourist and gave cold phoned-in performances. But it is Depp that audiences have come to expect more of and so he is the greater disappointment. Doing some of his weird voice antics and generally acting the fish-out-of-water is nothing new. It’s time for Johnny to get a fresh act. ~ Dinah

 

Best Performance by a Child Actor (Under 18) – Chloe Moretz, Kick-Ass

Those assuming Chloe Moretz struck a lucky blow (often literally) in Kick-Ass with her role as the foul-mouthed, name-taking Hit Girl need only look at her other recent roles in (500) Days of Summer and Let Me In to see that this thirteen-year-old has the range of an actor three times her age and is someone you will undoubtedly see much more of. She ultimately makes Kick-Ass what it is, stealing every scene of which she is a part while striking a fantastically twisted chemistry with Nicolas Cage. Not only is she able to make us believe she is capable of bringing down 300 pound thugs using only a switchblade, but she also delivers her un-ladylike lines with bravado and wit – she is a disturbing delight. ~ Simon

 

Best Director – Christopher Nolan, Inception

Inception was one of the most highly anticipated films of 2010 and Christopher Nolan’s name was used heavily for the promotion of this film. And the The Dark Knight and Memento director delivered. With Inception he was able to make a complex, multi-layered film filled with a lot of psychological ideas and themes and he does it in the most entertaining way possible. The running time was two and a half hours long, but it certainly did not feel like that. Nolan treated the audience like intelligent beings and he was able to mix both traditional action techniques with some of the best CGI seen in a film all year to create top-notch action sequences. Plus he was able to assemble a great cast and like his pervious films, he got the best out of his actors. He really is one of the best directors around and shows that blockbusters can be more than mindless action fodder. ~ Kieran
 

 

Most Promising New Director – Gareth Edwards, Monsters

As is inevitable when attempting to break into the film industry, filmmakers must start small. Low budgets (often partially financed independently), unknown actors and limited festival releases are all staples of this early stage in an auteur’s career. Setting oneself apart from all other aspiring directors is a full time job in itself, but despite all these obstacles, Brit Gareth Edwards has crafted a debut film interweaving visual splendour with an unusually cerebral take on the sci-fi monster genre. Like Duncan Jones did with Moon last year, Edwards (using a budget “the cost of a house” as I heard him quote on a radio interview) uses his monetary restrictions as a resource, not a burden. His guerrilla style ingenuity, coupled with spectacular special effects sequences that began with models in his bathtub, has made for a momentous and thrilling big-screen debut. ~ Simon

 

Best British Film – Made in Dagenham

It was a mixed year for British cinema, with some fine films being counter-balanced by lesser work. Whilst I am sure films such as Centurion and Monsters will gain a cult following, it is Made in Dagenham that I consider the best British film of 2010 (please note The King‘s Speech has not be released in the UK yet and was financed by Americans). This light-hearted comedy was able to mix its humorous it style with its serious story about the women’s Ford strike for equal pay. Director Nigel Cole (Calendar Girls) knows how to deliver this type of film, making it bright, colourful and fun and giving the film a fine ‘60s pop soundtrack. This is a great example of British comedy with witty dialogue and a serious social message. Sally Hawkins gives a wonderful performance as the leader of the strike. How Made in Dagenham did not get a Golden Globe nomination is beyond me. ~ Kieran

 

Best Action Sequence/Fight Scene: Zero Gravity Hallway Fight, Inception

Inception is full of eye candy and jaw-dropping moments, but none is as memorable as the anti-gravity fight between Joseph Gordon Levitt and mind security in the hallway of a hotel. Levitt defends himself in the spinning and turning hall bouncing from wall to wall in a race against time and a fight for his life. It is a sheer moment of satisfaction when a security guard suddenly plummets to his death when gravity turns on him. ~ Dinah


 

 

Funniest Scene: Mr. Tortilla Head, Toy Story 3

Considering 2010 was weak for comedies, it’s no surprise that an animated film provided one of the best laughs of the year. In Toy Story 3, Mr. Potato Head must go on a mission to help the toys escape from Sunnyside Day Care. However, he’s forced to be resourceful and sticks his various body parts into a tortilla. As he flops about the entire scene, his bizarre new likeness warrants a constant state of laughter, especially when he runs into a pigeon. ~ Steven


 

 

Best Movie Score or Soundtrack – Daft Punk, Tron: Legacy

Tron: Legacy was just an okay movie, but in an odd way: the things that were good about it were amazing, and the things that were bad about it really sucked. The soundtrack by Daft Punk belongs in the former category. There were many times during the movie where I wasn’t really engaged in the story, but thought, “Damn, this music is awesome.” Its electronic, industrial sound is perfect for both the Tron computer world and a dance club. It perfectly executed what music is supposed to do in a film: enhance the mood of both the individual scenes and the movie as a whole. Few scores in recent memory (maybe Trent Reznor’s for Social Network) have stayed with me as well as this one did. Check out the music video for “Derezzed” below. ~ Joseph


 

 

Best Trailer for a Movie in 2010The Social Network

Trailers more often than not are better than the film they depict. It is rare to find a clip that can both encapsulate the full spirit of its associated full product while existing as a piece of art in its own right. David Fincher’s trailer for The Social Network from its incredible rendition of Radiohead’s Creep to the integration of Facebook hallmarks with traditional expositional trailer tropes is certainly something special. From the beginning, this film faced its fair share of opposition and indignant scoffing, because really how could a “Facebook” movie be good. The trailer was the first indication that we might be looking at a great movie, and for once, it was true. ~ Simon


 

 

Best Trailer for a Movie in 2011Sucker Punch

The two trailers released for Sucker Punch, for lack of a better term, hold no punches, throwing machine gun-toting zombie samurai, dragons, burlesque dancers, awesome music, Nazi blimps, cyborgs and (seemingly) Saturn at you. And that’s just a minute’s worth of footage. After an excellent Watchmen trailer, Zack Snyder proves he knows how to amp an audience up for his film. There’s something in Sucker Punch for anyone and everyone with even a passing interest in popcorn entertainment, let alone action enthusiasts. If the trailer for The Social Network is the best for revving up our “film as art” side, the trailers for Sucker Punch are the best at revving up our “geeky fanboy who wishes they had some form of powers and carried a sword while getting all the guys/girls” side. ~ Max


 

 

Best Movie Poster(s)Black Swan

Black Swan is an enigma, a traumatic puzzle carefully crafted by Darren Arnofsky. Along with the standard poster that features starlet Natalie Portman decked out in stage make-up, four breathtaking art posters were released that capture the film’s dark and mysterious subject matter. Each shows the ballerina and the swan, always intertwined, a key to decrypting the mind-boggling motion picture. My personal favorite is the fourth picture, an illusion of a ballerina’s face blended with that of a black swan with ruffled feathers falling to the ground.  ~ Dinah

 

 

Best Movie News of 2010 – *tie* Everything to do with The Dark Knight Rises and Peter Jackson directing The Hobbit

With The Dark Knight setting the bar financially and creatively for future comic book films, any (legitimate) news on its sequel The Dark Knight Rises (including it receiving that name regardless your opinion of it) was good news in 2010. With Nolan officially on board, the versatile Tom Hardy (who had made a worldwide splash in Nolan’s Inception) was cast and then the kicker: they will not shoot or convert the film into 3D. What little news we have gotten on The Dark Knight Rises has been enough to keep our excitement for Nolan’s Batman swan song at a fever pitch.

Many Middle Earth fans were angered this year when the incessant stalling behind the scenes of The Hobbit caused the exit of director Guillermo Del Toro, leaving many to speculate his replacement. Peter Jackson had previously gone on record saying “no” to directing the prequel, but then word had come down that Jackson had changed his mind and a collective public sigh of relief came with it. After all, with the massive critical and financial success of the “Lord of the Rings” film trilogy, to say a lot is riding on The Hobbit is an understatement. News that the man responsible for bringing Middle Earth successfully to the screen would get The Hobbit films up off their feet couldn’t have come at a better time. ~ Max

 

Worst Movie News of 2010 – Bond 23 delayed indefinitely  

MGM’s financial woes brought about the worst news of 2010 by far. Between Guillermo Del Toro leaving The Hobbit and Bond 23 being pushed aside, there was no more frustrating news to read. Although the status of Bond was drastically exaggerated, it did cause the project to lose director Sam Mendes and given Daniel Craig’s schedule now that he’s starring in David Fincher’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo adaptation, made many wonder if the star would continue on as 007. Things have been getting better and pre-production has started to stir a little bit, but there was a good bit of worry for awhile there over cinema’s biggest franchise. ~ Steven


 Best Movie Trend in 2010 – The quality of animated films

2009 was a banner year for animated films with five being nominated for Best Animated Feature at the Oscars this year. How 2010 managed to live up to if not in a few instances surpass 2009 is remarkable. The year started with DreamWorks’ How to Train Your Dragon surprising everyone with a quality heart-warming story and solid 3D effects. After a bump in the road with Shrek Forever After, the summer was only successful thanks to animated movies (and Inception). Toy Story 3 was a mammoth success with a 99% on Rotten Tomatoes and over a billion worldwide, enough for the fifth biggest gross in world history. Then Despicable Me became a huge surprise hit and it was only the first film made by company Illumination Entertainment. In November, Megamind was another solidly received entry and Tangled became one of Disney’s most successful fairy tale films in forever. Clearly, these people know what they’re doing and the rest of the movie world should take note. ~ Steven

 

Worst Movie Trend in 2010 – 3D

Avatar was a great film simply because of its 3-D visuals, but sadly, many Hollywood studios thought it was a sign that this was the dawn of a new cinematic age. Many films were converted into 3D during post-production and the process was rushed. Clash of the Titans and The Last Airbender became notorious for poor 3D. The producers of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 ended up wasting around $10 million trying to convert that film in 3D (which luckily was cancelled). Audiences have turned away from paying for 3D films, for example more people went to see Despicable Me in 2D then 3D. The 3D in Toy Story 3 added nothing to the storytelling of that film. Sales figures for 3D are down, with even Tron: Legacy (a made in 3D film) underperforming. Unfortunately, we will see a large number of 3D films released in 2011. I personally think the market will be over-saturated and by 2012 or 2013 3D will return to being a novelty. ~ Kieran

 

 

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