Fb logo Twitter logo Email
2012
2012   Introduction | List

2012 was my first official year of the Film 5000 project. At first I thought the apparently higher-than-usual caliber of this year in cinema was an illusion due to the fact that I saw a larger and more diverse array of pictures than in previous years. But by the time the Oscar nominations rolled out, it was clear that this was an empirically good year for the movies. Though I didn’t see a lot that I considered truly amazing or timeless, I saw more good films this single year than in any since 1989.

2012 was a kind of comeback for the movies, both in terms of Box Office and quality of films. It was the first year to justify the Academy’s decision to expand the number of films nominated for Best Picture, and proved what a smart decision that was. The range of styles and subject mater in Amour, Argo, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Django Unchained, Les Miserables, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook and Zero Dark Thirty beautifully represents the rage and quality of 2012’s features. It was also a terrific year for documentaries—the first time ever that my two favorite films were both docs.

2012 was also the first year I spent any significant length of time at a major film festival.  Until now, I’ve stayed away from festivals, because I generally don't enjoy seeing movies with large crowds, and I usually don't get much out of Q&A's with filmmakers. But I couldn't resist the line-up at this year's New York Film Festival, which celebrated its fiftieth anniversary with some great films, both new and old. The remodeled theaters at Lincoln Center made all but one screening (Michael Haneke is best viewed with sparse attendance) a delight, teeming audiences, notwithstanding. In a welcome contrast to other Q&A's I've attended at museums and revival houses, the actors and directors at the NYFF seemed excited and honored to talk about their work. 

I was moved by the experience of seeing 1964’s Nothin’ But A Man with director Michael Roemer, who was present in the theater along with almost everyone else in the crew of this tiny-budgeted film. My friends and I got to see the 8K restoration of Lawrence of Arabia and the re-discovered Argentinean take on Native Son. We also sat right in front of Kris Kristofferson, Michael Cimino, and Joann Carelli at the first American screening of their infamous career-and-studio-destroying disasterpiece, Heaven's Gate, since it debuted in New York in 1980 and essentially ended the age of the American auteur. It was the first time that being in an audience felt like being a tiny part of film history.

2012 was also my first year attending Exhumed Films eX-Fest in Philadelphia. This 13-hour marathon of consecutive screenings shows 1970s and 80s exploitation films that can only be seen in 35mm, since no company has bothered to archive them to any other format. My best friend and I spent the day among hundreds of fellow film geeks, mostly bearded and in our forties, crammed into our seats with beers and PowerBars, enjoying the thrill of seeing films in surprisingly decent-looking, old 35mm prints. I can only assume that the feeling I got spending time with this community of true believers who's love of movies is visceral (and yet they all still manage to never talk or text even during a bad one) must be how devout churchgoers feel. This day affirmed for me that Cinema is my religion. 

These two experiences in particular motivated me to turn my Film 5000 idea into a reality.  They also inspired me to create more of my own mini-festivals and marathons. I programmed a “The Best Summer Ever” series, inspired by the Alamo Draft House’s thirtieth-anniversary screenings of the great sci-fi and fantasy films of summer 1982.  For my festival I neither limited myself to those genres nor the summer season, and I was both surprised and delighted that so many friends trekked out to my screening room to relive the great movies of 1982 with me.  

I did my part in 2012 to keep my favorite industry alive for a little longer. I became a member of every non-profit cinema and film society that I frequent and saw over 100 films in theaters– more than any year since my teens. Watching movies is becoming a bit of an obsession for me again, but if films as varied and interesting as 2012's continue to be released and re-released, then I’m going to keep obsessing.    Viva la cinema!

My favorites of the year...

BEST DIRECTOR:
Dror Moreh - THE GATEKEEPERS
Thomas Vinterberg - THE HUNT
Sam Mendes - SKYFALL
Joshua Oppenheimer - THE ACT OF KILLING
David O. Russell - SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK
Tobias Lindholm - A HIJACKING
Ang Lee - LIFE OF PI
Ben Affleck - ARGO

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY:
Derek Connolly - SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED
Tobias Lindholm & Thomas Vinterberg - THE HUNT
Tobias Lindholm - A HIJACKING
Olivier Assayas - SOMETHING IN THE AIR
Ava DuVernay - MIDDLE OF NOWHERE
Jeff Nichols - MUD
Christian Petzold & Harun Farocki - BARBARA

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY:
Stephen Chbosky - THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER
David O. Russell - SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK
Chris Terrio - ARGO
Lem Dobbs - THE COMPANY YOU KEEP
Lorraine Levy & Nathalie Saugeon - THE OTHER SON

BEST ACTOR:
Daniel Day-Lewis - LINCOLN
Mads Mikkelsen - THE HUNT
Jean-Louis Trintignant - AMOUR
Denzel Washington - FLIGHT
Michael Shannon - THE ICEMAN
Matthew McConaughey - MUD

BEST ACTRESS:
Mary Elizabeth Winstead - SMASHED
Jessica Chastain - ZERO DARK THIRTY
Jennifer Lawrence - SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK
Emayatzy Corinealdi - MIDDLE OF NOWHERE
Julianne Moore - WHAT MAISIE KNEW
Emmanuelle Riva - AMOUR
Trine Dyrholm - LOVE IS ALL YOU NEED
Naomi Watts - THE IMPOSSIBLE
Nina Hoss - BARBARA
Emma Watson - THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER
Quvenzhané Wallis - 
BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR:
Javier Bardem - SKYFALL
Philip Seymour Hoffman - THE MASTER
Alan Arkin - ARGO
Robert De Niro - SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK
David Oyelowo - MIDDLE OF NOWHERE
John Ortiz - SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:
Onata Aprile - WHAT MAISIE KNEW
Winona Ryder - THE ICEMAN
Isabelle Huppert - AMOUR
Brit Marling - ARBITRAGE
Anna Kendrick - END OF WATCH
Annika Wedderkopp - THE HUNT

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY:
Roger Deakins - SKYFALL
Rodrigo Prieto - ARGO
Charlotte Bruus - THE HUNT
Seamus McGarvey - ANNA KARENINA
Claudio Miranda - LIFE OF PI
Janusz Kaminski - LINCOLN
Adam Stone - MUD
Óscar Faura - THE IMPOSSIBLE

BEST EDITING:
William Goldenberg & Dylan Tichenor - ZERO DARK THIRTY
Oron Adar - THE GATEKEEPERS
Douglas Blush &  Derek Boonstra - THE INVISIBLE WAR
William Goldenberg - ARGO
Jay Cassidy & Crispin Struthers - SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK
Mary Jo Markey - THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER

BEST SOUNDTRACK/SCORE:
Benh Zeitlin & Dan Romer - BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD
Alexandre Desplat - ARGO
Alexandre Desplat - ZERO DARK THIRTY
Mychael Danna - LIFE OF PI
Danny Elfman - SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE:
THE GATEKEEPERS - Dror Moreh
SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN - Malik Bendjelloul
THE INVISIBLE WAR - Kirby Dick
THE ACT OF KILLING - Joshua Oppenheimer
ROOM 237 - Rodney Ascher

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FEATURE:
THE HUNT (JAGTEN) - Thomas Vinterberg
A HIJACKING (KAPRINGEN) - Tobias Lindholm
SOMETHING IN THE AIR (APRÈS MAI) - Olivier Assayas
AMOUR (LOVE) - Michael Haneke
THE OTHER SON (LE FILS DE L'AUTRE) - Lorraine Levy
5 BROKEN CAMERAS - Emad Burnat & Guy Davidi
BARBARA - Christian Petzold

BEST DEBUT FEATURE:
Colin Trevorrow - SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED
Adam Leon - GIMME THE LOOT
Malik Bendjelloul - SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN
Haifaa Al-Mansour - WADJDA
Rama Burshtein - FILL THE VOID
Emad Burnat & Guy Davidi - 5 BROKEN CAMERAS

BEST SURPRISE:
Stephen Chbosky - THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER
Sam Mendes - SKYFALL
Colin Trevorrow - SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED
Nicole Kidman & John Cusack - THE PAPERBOY

BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT:
Ridley Scott - PROMETHEUS
David Cronenberg - COSMOPOLIS 
Quentin Tarantino - DJANGO UNCHAINED
Christoph Waltz - DJANGO UNCHAINED
Jamie Foxx - DJANGO UNCHAINED
Rosamund Pike - JACK REACHER
Aaron Johnson - ANNA KARENINA 

MOST OVERRATED:
Joss Whedon - THE AVENGERS

BEST YEAR OLVERALL:
Mark Duplass
- Became the first major male success story of the "Mumblecore" school of cinema. Duplass crossed over from the ultra-low-budget productions he was known for to more mianstream movies without having to give up the style of working that he and his brother Jay help pioneer. The Duplass Borthers released Jeff, Who Lives at Home and The Do-Deca-Pentathlon in 2012, and Mark starred in fellow Mumblecore director Lynn Shelton’s wonderful Your Sister's Sister as wells as two other outstanding indie features, Katie Aselton’s Black Rock and Colin Trevorrow’s Safety Not Guaranteed. When he also showed up in Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty, Alex Kurtzman’s People Like Us, and Lawrence Kasdan’s Darling Companion it was clear he was going to become a rare leading man/character actor hybred as well as a major voice in the new school of do-it-yourself digital filmmaking.