Best Performances, Directing, and Other Miscellany of 2012

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best-of-2012

In past years for my “Best of” list, I’ve been able to provide fun categories like “Best Kill” and “Best Quotes”, but sadly, that won’t be happening this year.  I keep notes throughout the year, but in July, my hard drive crashed, and because I am a foolish person, I didn’t back up the notes to a separate drive.  However, I do have enough information to do the traditional categories as well as Breakthrough Performance, “A Very Good Year”, Best Villain, Best Surprises, Biggest Disappointments, and a new category, “Best Movie You Probably Missed This Year.”  One final note: unlike previous years, the film had to come out in 2012; festival-only flicks don’t count, so that’s why there’s no love for The Place Beyond the Pines on this year’s list.

Hit the jump to check out my miscellaneous “Best of 2012″ picks.  Be sure to keep checking back this week as we’ll be running Top 10 lists from Adam, Dave, and me.

[Note: Runners-Up are listed in alphabetical order]

BEST ACTOR:

best-actors-2012

Daniel Day-Lewis as “Abraham Lincoln” in Lincoln

Runners-Up:

Joseph Gordon-Levitt as “Joe” in Looper

John Hawkes as “Mark O’Brien” in The Sessions

Denis Lavant as “M. Oscar / Le banquier / La mendiante / L’OS de Motion-Capture / M. Merde / Le père / L’accordéoniste / Le tueur / Le tué / Le mourant / L’homme au foyer” in Holy Motors

Joaquin Phoenix as “Freddie Quell” in The Master

BEST ACTRESS:

best-actress-2012

Jessica Chastain as “Maya” in Zero Dark Thirty

Runners-Up:

Zoe Kazan as “Ruby Sparks” in Ruby Sparks

Jennifer Lawrence as “Tiffany” in Silver Linings Playbook

Leslie Mann as “Debbie” in This Is 40

Mary Elizabeth Winstead as “Kate Hannah” in Smashed

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR:

best-supporting-actor-2012

Philip Seymour Hoffman as “Lancaster Dodd” in The Master

Runners-Up:

Javier Bardem as “Silva” in Skyfall

Scoot McNairy as “Frankie” in Killing Them Softly

Christopher Walken as “Hans” in Seven Psychopaths

Christoph Waltz as “Dr. King Schultz” in Django Unchained

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:

best-supporting-actress-2012

Anne Hathaway as “Fantine” in Les Miserables

Runners-Up:

Amy Adams as “Peggy Dodd” in The Master

Ann Dowd as “Sandra” in Compliance

Helen Hunt as “Cheryl” in The Sessions

Kristin Scott Thomas as “Patricia Maxwell” in Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

BREAKTHROUGH PERFORMANCE:

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Dane DeHaan as “Andrew Detmer” in Chronicle

A VERY GOOD YEAR:

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Channing Tatum: Haywire, 21 Jump Street, Magic Mike

[I never thought I could like Channing Tatum, and this year he proved me wrong on a consistent basis.  I didn't see The Vow, but he did terrific work in these three films]

BEST DIRECTOR:

best-directors-2012

Benh Zeitlin – Beasts of the Southern Wild

Runners-Up:

Kathryn Bigelow – Zero Dark Thirty

Leos Carax – Holy Motors

Joe Carnahan – The Grey

Andy Wachowski & Lana Wachowski & Tom Tykwer – Cloud Atlas

BEST VILLAIN:

best-villains-2012

Javier Bardem as “Silva” in Skyfall

Runners-Up:

Pat Healy as “Officer Daniels” in Compliance

Werner Herzog as “The Zec” in Jack Reacher

Tom Hiddleston as “Loki” in The Avengers

Samuel L. Jackson as “Stephen” in Django Unchained

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY:

james-bond-skyfall-movie-image-daniel-craig-slice-01

Roger Deakins – Skyfall

Runner-Up: Masanobu Takayanagi – The Grey

BEST SCORE:

beasts-of-the-southern-wild-movie-image-slice-01

Dan Romer and Behn Zeitlin – Beasts of the Southern Wild

Runner-Up: Tom Tykwer, Johnny Klimek, and Reinhold Heil – Cloud Atlas

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE:

paranorman-slice

ParaNorman

Runner-Up: The Pirates! Band of Misfits

BEST DOCUMENTARY:

the imposter documentary

The Imposter

Runner-Up: Room 237

BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT:

prometheus-movie-image-green-rapace-fassbender-slice

Prometheus

What hurt about Prometheus is that it didn’t even disappoint me when I was watching it.  It was only after I started talking about the film that I realized it didn’t hold up at all.  To Ridley Scott‘s credit, Prometheus drew me in to the point where I didn’t think about how feeble the story was during the picture.  However, it has only become more of a let down as time has gone on.  It was made even worse when you consider the killer marketing Fox put together for the flick.

Runners-Up:

The Amazing Spider-Man

Anna Karenina

The Dark Knight Rises

Snow White and the Huntsman

BEST SURPRISE:

channing-tatum-magic-mike-2-sequel-slice

Magic Mike

People tend to be surprised when I tell them I liked Magic Mike.  Maybe it’s because they think a straight guy couldn’t like a movie featuring male strippers, but it’s just a damn fine story.  I can remember how averse I was to seeing the picture as the casting news was announced.  At that point, I had never liked Channing Tatum, I wanted Alex Pettyfer to disappear, and the premise didn’t appeal to me.  But the stripping—which is really well done and damn entertaining—is just the cover for an honest, thoughtful story about chasing the American Dream.  It just happens to also have a shot of a guy using a cock-pump.

Runners-Up:

Chronicle

Mirror Mirror

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Pitch Perfect

BEST FILM YOU PROBABLY MISSED THIS YEAR:

Detention

detention-movie-poster-01




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  • James

    I loved Prometheus, Amazing Spider man and Dark Knight Rises. To each their own though of course. Pitch Perfect and Chronicle were very good surprises though as mentioned.

  • amg907

    Goldberg likes little boys.

    Half his picks are downright criminal.

  • Griz

    Dear Editors of Collider: Most of the time, I love your website for all its breaking news and analysis. However, when it comes to ranking movies, would it have been too much to ask for your entire TEAM of contributors to pool their collective opinions so we don’t just have Matt Goldberg’s picks? Granted i haven’t seen every film on here, but Javier Bardem as BEST villain? He was good, but he was barely in the film (would’ve liked to see more of him compared to the hour long James / M Oedipus complex of a story-line) And Loki among the runner’s up? Really? If you’re going to pick a guy who had a few interesting monologues, why not go with the guy who had a few interesting monologues AND posed and incredible threat to the main character like Bane? I get that people didn’t like his ‘secondary role’ in TDKR, but the scene where he broke Batman’s back was probably better than how i remember it in the comics. I don’t expect Collider or its fans to think or rank like IGN’s picks or MTV’s picks . . . . but this just reeks of pettiness. And lastly, in terms of Animated film: “Pirates” is first runner up? Really? I turned that shit off in the first 5 min. The thing with “Eating Ham being the best thing about being a pirate”? Was that supposed to be funny? Silly? Or a signal to everyone over 5 years old: This movie is not for you. I didn’t LOVE Brave, but hell, at least i sat through all of it.

  • Satchmocoltrane

    Pretty decent list. Can’t say I’ve seen magic mike but have heard good things. I don’t know why people get so up in arms about the dark knight rises and Prometheus, they were both colossal dissapointments as far as I’m concerned and I’m a fan of both properties usually. No need to get bent out of shape about it. Opinions are like assholes, everybody has one.

  • Satchmocoltrane

    Pretty decent list. Can\’t say I\’ve seen magic mike but have heard good things. I don\’t know why people get so up in arms about the dark knight rises and Prometheus, they were both colossal dissapointments as far as I\’m concerned and I\’m a fan of both properties usually. No need to get bent out of shape about it. Opinions are like assholes, everybody has one.

    • johnknow

      You are Matt Goldberg.

  • Someone

    “BEST VILLAIN”

    Where the hell is Bane?

    And “BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT” runner ups are, like, completely mental.

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  • Spence

    Good picks, though I can’t get with best director. Beasts of the Southern Wild was downright badly directed to me. I also would’ve mentioned De Niro in Silver Linings Playbook. A very moving, understated performance.

  • Chris

    Good list.
    Philip Seymour Hoffman, Joaquin Phoenix and Denis Lavant (finally someone has the good taste to mention his amazing performance as Monsieur Oscar in Holy Motors) should all get an Oscar.
    Both Holy Motors and The Master were the best and most daring movies of the year for me, but I probably give the award to Leos Carax. Amy Adams for The Master for me because she was creepy as hell! Tom Hiddleston as Loki was one of the best villains for me in a long time, Javier Bardem was quite good too, but with his history of brilliant performances over the years (and decades) I think he has done better work in other movies. Both Prometheos and The Dark Knight were boring and stale. Channing Tatum gets the award for best year and most boring actor from me.

  • junierizzle

    Beasts of the Southern Wild was just okay. Not award worthy in my book.

  • KingKong

    Zoe Kazan made my list too! But how could you give best director and score to Beasts OTSW and then completely ignore Quvenzhane Wallis and Dwight Henry when considering your performance picks?

  • BANE

    When Collider fires him for not putting me in the best villain category, then Goldberg has my permission to cry.

  • Max Drome

    such a bad list .

  • Matt

    You got the wrong villain from Django…DiCaprio as Miseur Candie is deserving of the title…REVOLTINGINGLY AWESOME!

    • Chris

      Oh come on DiCaprio has never given a good performance in his life. He is the typical Hollywood actor, uninspired and mediocre.

      • Griz

        Chris is the single most uninspired screen name on the internet.

  • Marcus

    I know that “best of” lists are completely personnal, but some of your choices are incredibly bad.

    - Mirror Mirror as a best surprise? Come on, its just a regular mediocre movie at best.
    - The Dark Knight Rises as a biggest disappointment? What??????????
    - Snow White and the Huntsmen as a biggest disappointment? Hehehehe.. What were you expecting?

    I actually have to stop writing this. You actually expected something from Snow White. End of intelligence.

  • srgfex10

    The dark knight rises is so OVERRATED
    Great list !

  • dodoriz

    Although I have not seen “Anna Karenina”, I have to say all the other choices for biggest disappointment was spot on.

  • Guess What

    Skyfall, best cinematography. Yes.

  • Rise

    This list is jzt TDKR..so many mistakes..best Villain Should be hardy for his extraordinary acting in TDKR..and also what abt guy pearce in lawless..when u r writing a article by recapping the whole year..u shld really do it!

  • Rise

    This list is jzt like TDKR..so many mistakes..best Villain Should be hardy for his extraordinary acting in TDKR..and also what abt guy pearce in lawless..when u r writing a article by recapping the whole year..u shld really do it!

  • Tony

    Great to see that The Pirates In An Adventure With Scientists (or Band of Misfits as it’s wrongly called in America) has seen some love here as the runner up for Best Animated Film. For me, I would add Toby Jones in the Best Actor stuff for Berberian Sound Studio (don’t know if that’s been released in America yet) and Mark Ruffalo, John Goodman and Michael Fassbender for Best Supporting Actor for The Avengers, Argo and Prometheus respectively

  • Tony

    Great to see that The Pirates In An Adventure With Scientists (or Band of Misfits as it\’s wrongly called in America) has seen some love here as the runner up for Best Animated Film. For me, I would add Toby Jones in the Best Actor stuff for Berberian Sound Studio (don\’t know if that\’s been released in America yet) and Mark Ruffalo, John Goodman and Michael Fassbender for Best Supporting Actor for The Avengers, Argo and Prometheus respectively

  • ccraw13

    I DO NOT get the hate for the Amazing Spiderman. The movie was not perfect, but in my opinion was the best superhero movie of the summer. The leads, the pacing, and the action were all entertaining. (I say this is the best superhero movie because The Avengers, while entertaining, did not surprise me (I knew how it would end before I saw it) and TDKR was a let down, no bones about it (plot holes and inconsistencies galore, and I say all of this as a huge Batman fan, tat and all).

  • Voice of reason

    Amazing Spider-Man was simply that, amazing!
    A quick survey of the reviews of the film reveal one common thread… “We’ve already seen this film…” What does that have to do with anything???????? Oh, I’m sorry! I didn’t realize that negates the fantastic acting? Casting? Script? Humor? Action? Effects? Story? Emphasis on character?

    This film was the movie we always deserved, obviously IMO… But the first 3 were garbage comparatively. The cg was a joke b4, it was painful to watch tobey as the epitome of dork and geek (I like how they embraced/focused on the outsider, super smart, slightly socially awkward side of peter in the latest one), dunst was annoying, topher as venom??? The prior films were cartooney, hokey, silly…
    And someone besides a 15 yr old loser who spends 12 hrs a day online, or some casual moviegoer, i would like you to try and legitimately negate any point I made…

    • MrNateathon

      We must have seen different movies. I saw Spiderman for the Twilight demographic. I suppose it’s a great movie if you like a cocky Peter Parker, a spider-man who constantly has his mask off, cheesey site gags for 10 year olds, and a boring story.

  • Voice of reason

    And Matt Goldberg I’m not a troll or attacking you, I would sincerely like you to reply to this post.

  • Bill

    Finally, someone else who saw Detention. Perfect movie.

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