Best Performances, Directors, and Other Miscellany of 2010

     December 29, 2010


In my profession, there are two very important things you must do: watch movies and keep notes.  I did an alright job with the first one, but admittedly fell short on the latter.  While last year I was able to confidently provide what I thought were the best kills and quotes, this year I didn’t do a good job with record keeping and so I’ve omitted those categories.  Next year I’ll be more meticulous and make it a point to see movie where people get destroyed while saying witty things.

However, I did see enough movies to confidently make a list of the folks I thought were the best actors, directors, and other miscellaneous greats.  Hit the jump to check out my picks.



Colin Firth as “King George VI” in The King’s Speech


George Clooney as “Jack / Edward” in The American

Jesse Eisenberg as “Mark Zuckerberg” in The Social Network

James Franco as “Aron Ralston” in 127 Hours

Tahar Rahim as “Malik El Djebena” in A Prophet



Natalie Portman as “Nina Sayers / The Swan Queen” in Black Swan


Annette Bening as “Nic” in The Kids Are All Right

Julianne Moore as “Jules” in The Kids Are All Right

Emma Stone as “Olive Penderghast” in Easy A

Michelle Williams as “Cindy” in Blue Valentine



Christian Bale as “Dicky Ecklund” in The Fighter


Armie Hammer as “Cameron Winklevoss / Tyler Winklevoss” in The Social Network

Ben Mendelsohn as “Andrew ‘Pope’ Cody” in Animal Kingdom

Mark Ruffalo as “Paul” in The Kids Are All Right

Geoffrey Rush as “Lionel Logue” in The King’s Speech



Hailee Steinfeld as “Mattie Ross” in True Grit


Amy Adams as “Charlene Fleming” in The Fighter

Barbara Hershey as “Erica Sayers” in Black Swan

Melissa Leo as “Alice Ward” in The Fighter

Jackie Weaver as “Janine Cody” in Animal Kingdom



Jennifer Lawrence as “Ree Dolly” in Winter’s Bone


Hailee Steinfeld as “Mattie Ross” in True Grit

Chloe Moretz as “Mindy Macready / Hit-Girl” in Kick-Ass



Darren Aronofsky – Black Swan


Joel and Ethan Coen – True Grit

David Fincher – The Social Network

Christopher Nolan – Inception

Edgar Wright – Scott Pilgrim vs. The World



Exit Through the Gift Shop

Runner-Up: Inside Job



How to Train Your Dragon

Runner-Up: Toy Story 3



Daft Punk –TRON: Legacy

Runner-Up: Clint Mansell – Black Swan



Matthew Libatique – Black Swan

Runner-Up: Robert Richardson – Shutter Island



Aaron Sorkin – The Social Network

Runner-Up: Joel and Ethan Coen – True Grit



David Siedler – The King’s Speech

Runner-Up: Christopher Nolan – Inception

Monday: Top 10 Posters of 2010

Tuesday: Top 10 Trailers of 2010

Wednesday: Best Performances, Directors, and Other Miscellany of 2010

Thursday: Worst 5 Films of 2010

Friday: Top 10 Films of 2010

  • guy

    hope Daft Punk take the oscar for original score!

  • James

    Love the Emma Stone and Armie Hammer nods but really The King’s Speech for Original Screenplay instead of Inception

  • Jacob S.

    There’s no way Hailee Steinfeld was the supporting actress. She was more of a lead than any other actor in the movie. Also, shame on you for not having Roger Deakins show up in the cinematography section.

    • Damian

      Dead on, Jacob S.
      When will people look past Hailee Steinfeld’s age
      and realize her character is the lead performance
      in the movie?
      Sorry to say, Matt, but you missed the boat on this.

    • Damian

      Good choices, Matt.
      One thing I’m stunned about (but by now I guess
      I shouldn’t be) is why I have not read one word…
      and I mean it, not one word, about the single most
      compelling performance I’ve seen in the past several
      years, not just in 2010. I’m guessing it’s such a
      mind-blowing portrayal that it gets past people.
      There was not a more searing performance last year
      than Noomi Rapace in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.

  • Sean Luhks

    Outstanding choices all around. The choices that diverge from the mainstream are almost identical to the ones I would have chosen.

    *I would have picked Tamar Rahim as Best Actor over Firth, but you can’t go wrong with any of those five. I love the additions of Clooney and Rahim.
    *I love that someone else recognized Armie Hammer’s performance over the likes of Garfield and Timberlake.
    *I also like your choice of Barbara Hershey over Mila Kinus.
    *Aronofsky is my choice for Best Director. I would not have picked Edgar Wright for the Top Five, instead going with Jacques Audiard for A Prophet.
    *I haven’t seen Tron, so I can’t comment on the score. Clint Mansell’s work in Black Swan and Reznor’s work in The Social Network would be my two choices.
    *Perfect selections for cinematography in Black Swan and Shutter Island. Richardson is the best cinematographer alive (yes, even over Deakins.) When Shutter Island came out, I didn’t think anyone could top what Richardson achieved, but Black Swan’s cinematography is equally impressive in an entirely different way.

  • SamH.

    How to Train Your Dragon? Really? Sure you can go against the predictable and choose that over Toy Story 3, bu the fact of the matter is… Toy Story 3 is better.

    • Twilidiot

      Definitely with Matt on this one. How to Train Your Dragon was witty, sweet, beautiful and original. Every time I watch it I notice something new. Blu-Ray trivia track helps, of course. Favorite of the year for my niece (3) and goddaughter (7), too. Yes, the under-10 crowd’s opinions do count!

  • News Hit

    Good to see support for Ben Mendelsohn’s pretty amazing performance in “Animal Kingdom.” That character is such a chilling, repellent figure in the film but – like Jacki Weaver’s performance – you also get to understand something of his vulnerability, as well, notably in the “All Out of Love” sequence.

  • Ted Rabi

    I really liked your choices! Couldn’t agree more with your pick of Colin Firth

  • Kori

    Would have picked Fincher over Aronofsky, but Black Swan was indeed amazing.

  • Junierizzle

    I think Christian Bale should win best actor. That’s the best performance of the year. Period.

  • Tommyk123123

    Would have picked Toy Story 3 over HTTYD (honestly don’t know why everyone’s shitting themselves over that movie… yeah it was pretty great… but come on… TOY STORY 3!!!!) Also if Daft Punk gets the Oscar for best score… I can’t even imagine how awesome their their acceptance speech would be. Oh and Franco over Firth. Both great… but Franco was amazing in 127… which was better than Slumdog. Hands down.

    • Ethereal

      Toy Story rocked, no doubt.
      But if you look at both movies with the mindset that moviemaking is an art, it would be HTTYD.
      Both movie’s had incredibly heartfelt stories, no doubt. But if you compare aspects like cinematography, musical score, dialogue, character design (Toothless, anyone?), again, HTTYD would triumph.

      And agreed. James Franco deserves multiple accolades for his performance.

  • Twilidiot

    OK, I can definitely see your pick for TRON: Legacy for Best Score. But I’m addicted to Hans Zimmer’s Inception score. The orchestration had six bass trombones, six tenor trombones, four tubas and four french horns! And that lovely, haunting guitar by Johnny Marr. As Zimmer himself said, it adds “another layer to a multi-layered film.” ( interview)

    I also couldn’t figure out why I kept having episodes of wet, snotty, bawling during Harry Potter except that Alexandre Desplat’s scores always slay me. His gorgeous Twilight: New Moon score was overlooked last year by the critics, too.

  • gerard kennelly

    Barbara Hershey as “Erica Sayers” in Black Swan

    Melissa Leo as “Alice Ward” in The Fighter

    Jackie Weaver as “Janine Cody” in Animal Kingdom

    was there any nice maternal characters this year… :)

  • Ethereal

    I love the Daft Punk soundtrack for Tron, but I am absolutely positive that How To Train Your Dragon will win the Academy Award for it’s stunning soundtrack.

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