Ranking The 2011 Best Picture Nominees

Photo Credit: http://lookingglass.montroseschool.org/arts-entertainment/2012/01/02/hugo-movie-review/

With the Oscar nominations announced, it is time to start looking at where all the movies nominated stand. Due to the new Academy rules, there were to be between five and ten movies nominated for Best Picture. What we got was nine films in the category. But which is the best? Which is the worst? Here is my ranking of the nine films nominated for Best Picture.




Photo Credit: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1568911/9. War Horse

Easily the worst film nominated is Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of the play about a miraculous horse fighting his way through World War I. There was nothing there for audiences to connect to as the film keeps replacing its human characters and relying on the eyes of a horse draw in viewers. The story is far from plausible. So why did it get nominated? Technically, the film is beautiful. The cinematography is gorgeous while the battle scenes are epic. But they cannot save this failed attempt at an emotional film.



Photo Credit: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0477302/8. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

This movie wasn’t expected to get a nomination, taking The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo‘s place. To be honest, the film is only mediocre. The main story follows a little boy trying to get over the death of his father by finding the lock to a key he left behind. But the problem is that the boy’s father died during 9/11, and the filmmakers use that event to draw out emotions far too often. Also, the main character is rather annoying. However, there are some great performances among the supporting cast.



Photo Credit: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0478304/7. The Tree of Life

Terrence Malick’s highly ambitious film chronicles everything from Prehistoric times to the human life cycle. However, it is riddled with pretension while never actually saying anything. The film is undeniably beautiful and Brad Pitt gives one of the best performances of his career. But the collection of natural images feels more like a segment from Planet Earth than an actual story. The middle section that chronicles the children’s childhood and their parents’ relationship is fantastic, however.



Photo Credit: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1454029/6. The Help

Now we are getting into the really great stuff. This tale of racism was incredibly touching and overall a very enjoyable film. Why? The success here is all thanks to the performances. Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, and Jessica Chastain all got Oscar nominations for their work here. But we also saw great acting from Bryce Dallas Howard, Allison Janney, Sissy Spacek, and of course, Emma Stone. The reason it is this far away from the top slot is that other than its performances and story, the film has little to offer.



Photo Credit: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1033575/5. The Descendants

The Golden Globe winner for Best Picture Drama hits this list right in the middle. It is a great film, but not a classic like some of the others ahead of it. George Clooney is fantastic and will likely win the Oscar, but the snubbed Shailene Woodley is the one who won my heart over in this film. The story is excellent and one that requires you to truly think, even though it takes a slightly lighthearted approach. But the main reason this film separates itself is the beautiful setting of Hawaii, which becomes a character all on its own.


Photo Credit: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1210166/4. Moneyball

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of this great film is that it manages to be a sports movie without really being about sports. Brad Pitt gave another performance that rivals his best in 2011. His supporting cast was excellent too, particularly Jonah Hill, who also received a nomination. Written by screenplay legend Aaron Sorkin, the dialogue is sharp and the pacing is quick. Baseball fans will go crazy for this one, but it also appeals to much larger demographic than you would think.



Photo Credit: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1605783/3. Midnight in Paris

This is the first movie on the list out of the nine that I would have no problem seeing win the award. Woody Allen’s latest is one of the most fun and simultaneously smart films to get nominated for Best Picture in a while. The all-star cast take complete control of whatever screen time the script allows them. The cameos of famous actors as more famous authors and painters is exciting and makes for one of the most enjoyable movies of the year. In another year, this would be a surefire win.



Photo Credit: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0970179/2. Hugo

Martin Scorsese’s first attempt at making a movie for kids was an utter success. This film is delightful, and the best live action family movie in years. Technically, the movie looks gorgeous, especially in 3D. But what truly makes it brilliant is the passion for cinema that the characters, and therefore Scorsese, exhibit. The film will leave you remembering just why you go to the movies. It will return you to that sense of wonder we all had as a child.



Photo Credit: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1655442/1. The Artist

I cannot say enough about this film. Like Hugo, it brings us back the cinema’s roots and reminds us why we go to the movies. But it also tells a great story of loss, when a silent film star fails to find his place in a talking world. From its opening scene to the final frame, The Artist is exciting, funny, and sentimental. No one is immune to its charm and whit, this is the film of the year. Many experts have already predicted it to win the award, and it should.



How would you rank these nine films? Are you happy with the nominations? Sound off in the comments’ section!





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