1. The Avengers
Joss Whedon achieved the unthinkable by delivering a successful team-up connecting characters from five different films. Not only that, but “The Avengers” stands as not only the best film of 2012, but also the greatest superhero film to date. Whedon’s script was funny and engaging, with not one of the movie’s many jokes falling flat. The film was also masterfully shot, with the long take of all of the Avengers working together particularly standing out. The entire cast put their talent on full display, with Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo, and Tom Hiddleston giving especially standout performances.
This quirky and heartfelt coming-of-age tale is easily one of Wes Anderson’s stronger efforts. The film is imbued with Anderson’s trademark style, and his script is witty and beguiling. Young leads Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward give veteran performances, quickly endearing audiences to their peculiar characters. The fact that this sweetly sentimental and sharply-written has been passed over time and time again this awards season is a true shame.
Taking a page out of Disney proper’s playbook, Pixar veers into more standard fairytale fare. As is to be expected, Pixar does a fantastic job of crafting a story that captivates young and old alike. The film’s voice acting is pitch perfect, helping to bring to life the already exquisitely rendered characters. In addition to the brilliantly designed humans in the film, animals and landscapes sometimes border on photorealism.
Leave it to Academy Award-winning director Tom Hooper to deliver a successful and crowd-pleasing historical musical epic. In addition to his keen eye for direction, Hooper pulled incredible turns out of the movie’s cast, as well as having all the actors sing as the movie was filmed instead of dubbing it over later. Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway are in top form in “Les Misérables,” giving heartbreaking performances and songs.
While David O. Russell may continuously be the source of increasing bizarre scandals, he has certainly managed to remain in the Academy’s good graces. Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence prove their dramatic acting ability with their roles as mentally unbalanced individuals in love. Combined with an array of quality supporting players and an earnest screenplay, “Silver Linings” is an entertaining showcase of talent.
Honorable Mentions: 21 Jump Street, Argo, The Cabin in the Woods, Django Unchained, End of Watch, The Impossible, Lincoln, Pitch Perfect, The Raid: Redemption