The winners are given to the performances that were truly original and surprising. We have left all the clever repartee to Ricky Gervais, and simply defend our selections based on the merit of the movies.
Best Picture, Musical or Comedy:
“My Week With Marilyn”
“My Week With Marilyn” wins Best Picture against a number of good films. “50/50” is a movie that deals with a very difficult and not much addressed subject – young men with cancer – and does so with humor and the kind of candor missing before this. “The Artist”, is a pleasant movie and it is certainly original to revive the old black and white, ‘silent’ movie genre. ‘Bridesmaids’ is an entertaining movie with an interesting switch from the male take on pre nuptial ‘brotherhood’ traditions to a novel ‘sisterhood’ but apart from the expected “The Hangover” ish romp it is more fluff than substance. “My Week With Marilyn” has phenomenal performances from a slate of distinguished actors, period accuracy that is a delight to enter and a personal tale that is engrossing and endearing. It also succeeds with a difficult premise, that of telling the story of a screen icon we all know extremely well as herself.
Michael Fassbender: “Shame”
Michael Fassbender is our choice for Best Actor, Drama. Brad Pitt gives a great performance in Moneyball as the man who changed baseball history and Leonardo DiCaprio portrays J.Edgar with exceptional skill despite the lousy makeup. George Clooney has already run off with a Best Actor for his performance in The Descendants as a bereaved father but in our estimation these are not the best. Michael Fassbender has to completely go outside the norm and play the role of an uncomfortable character that we do not relate to. His portrayal of Brandon, a sex addict is so compelling and his portrayal so convincing that we start to understand this initially repulsive person as he reveals the deep layers of vulnerability that are hard to even contemplate.
Rooney Mara, “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo”
Rooney Mara, “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo”, wins the Best Actress in a Drama against really tough competition from Glenn Close, Viola Davis, Meryl Streep and Tilda Swinton. Once again, Rooney Mara creates a totally new portrayal of a character we are not familiar with, Lisbeth Salander, which was an even tougher job in light of Noomi Rapace’s riveting performance in the original Swedish version.
Alexander Payne, “The Descendants”
Best Director was a hard call with the real competition being between Scorsese and Payne for such very different movies. The Descendants is so incredibly well stitched together under Alexander Payne’s direction that his skill at taking a story that could have been rather flat and turning it into this mesmerizing story of a family that we laugh, cry and cheer for is undeniable. The performances he managed to get from his young actors was stellar and completely convincing and Sheilene Woodley confidently held her own on screen with one of the most celebrated, seasoned actors of our time.
Actor, Musical or Comedy:
Ryan Gosling, “Crazy Stupid Love”
Actor, Musical or Comedy the winner is Ryan Gosling for Crazy, Stupid Love. This is a performance and a movie that is thoroughly enjoyable and refreshing. “The Artist” has received huge attention and is a pleasant movie but it truly is just that although kudos to Michel Hazanavicius for almost single handedly resurrecting a form of theatre that is almost extinct except in the ‘old movies category’ and reminding us all for a moment of what ‘nostalgic’ means.
Actress, Musical or Comedy:
Michelle Williams, “ My Week With Marilyn”
Michelle Williams managed to pull off an extremely difficult role, in fact almost impossible – trying to convince the audience that she is Marilyn Monroe, one of the greatest screen idols in the history of cinema. Even though Meryl Streep delivers a truly remarkable performance as Maggie Thatcher she did not have the same mountain to climb and her character was not as indelibly etched in our screen conscience, as is that of Marilyn Monroe.
Viggo Mortensen, “ A Dangerous Method”
Viggo Mortensen is so completely Freudian it is uncanny how well he depicts this man whose name connotes sexual analysis and possibly peculiar sexual preferences not spoken about. Viggo Mortensen portrays a distinguished physician, a man of letters, a gentleman who is so engaging that it is completely possible that he could indeed know your most private thoughts. Director David Cronenberg deviates only enough to allow Mortensen’s actual good looks to replace the historically disfigured looks of the real Freud. Mortensen ties the trio that includes his best friend Jung (Michael Fassbender) and Jung’s patient Sabrina (Kiera Knightly) and himself together with subtlety and power in a beautiful Merchant Ivory style period piece that is superb.
Janet McTeer, “Albert Nobbs
Best Supporting Actress goes to Janet McTeer, “Albert Nobbs”. This romantic, gender bending, period piece drama is masterfully directed by Rodrigo Garcia and although Glenn Close delivers one of her unique performances, it is Hubert Page played by McTeer that is deserving of a best here.
“The Kid With A Bike”
Foreign Language winner is “The Kid With A Bike” by the Dardenne brothers is outstanding. Thomas Doret’s performance as Cyril is spellbinding and the ability of the directors to get this performance on screen is a testament to their remarkable, celebrated talent.
Rango wins for Animated Film because once again it was truly unique and thoroughly engaging. That little green reptile won our hearts in a completely new and compelling way with the voice of Johnny Depp to ensure an unforgettable performance.
Alexander Payne, Nat Faxwon, Jim Rash, "The Descendants";
Several screenplays were outstanding. Moneyball was a fascinating and difficult story to tell that Sorkin and Zaillian spent an incredible amount of time researching and perfecting. Woody Allen is a masterful story teller but "Midnight in Paris" was not his strongest movie script. "The Artist" did not have the scope or depth that would garner top honors. "The Ides of March" is a wonderful political piece but not outstanding when compared to "The Descendants" which is powerful and memorable in every way.
Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo";
Best original score is a tough choice to make and we decided to go with the digital music remix of Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” featuring vocals by Karen O (Yeah Yeah) under the direction of Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails) and Atticus Ross. The vocals by Karen O (Yeah Yeah) heightened the movement and drama of the mystery unfolding before us. The music is memorable and immediately brings the movie and the story to mind perfectly setting the mood and the moment. The other musical scores were more predictable and honestly not standout in this manner at all.
"The Keeper" (music and lyrics by Chris Cornell), "Machine Gun Preacher";
Best Original Song is well deserved by Chris Cornell, who has written and performed “The Keeper” for the movie ‘Machine Gun Preacher’ which premiered at TIFF and went on to grab international attention for the cause in Africa. Cornell’s song is piercing, transcending the physical distances between the children in Africa and their plight, exposing their vulnerability. All royalties go to Angels of East African, spearheaded by Sam Childers, the man portrayed by Gerard Butler.