The Best Films of 2012

It’s been three years since I re-started my film criticism career, and 2012 was no doubt the most difficult. Life changes, new responsibilities, and my first professional pink slip made me appreciate the highs of previous years all the more. Honestly, I’m happy 2012 is in the bag and excited for 2013.

It’s been a year of transition and frustration, new found love and wisdom, plus a lot of really good films. Here are my favorites.

This is not a film

1. This is Not a Film (Jafar Panahi, Iran)

I don’t think I can say it any better than I did in the fall of 2011. So, here you go.

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The Unspeakable Act (Sallitt, 2012)

Director Dan Sallitt thanks Rohmer (and some mutual friends, D-kaz and Michal!) in the final credits, but I thought mostly of Ozu throughout his astoundingly frank character study about a “normal” teenage girl who happens to be in love with her older brother. The entire thematic heft of the film (which weighs a ton) resides in each calm static composition, beautiful snapshots of a hazy, yearning, emotionally compromised perspective about to change forever. And the acting… god damn the acting is great. The two lead performances by Tallie Medel and Sky Hirschkron drift between melancholy, discomfort, and genuine affection in seamless and surprising ways.

SDFCS 2012 Winners

christoph-waltz-and-jamie-foxx-in-django-unchainedHappy with our choices, especially the recognition for Christoph Waltz!

Best Picture: “Argo”
Best Director: Ben Affleck, “Argo”
Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis, “Lincoln”
Best Actress: Michelle Williams, “Take This Waltz”
Best Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz, “Django Unchained”
Best Supporting Actress: Emma Watson, “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”
Best Original Screenplay: Paul Thomas Anderson, “The Master”
Best Adapted Screenplay: Chris Terrio, “Argo”
Best Foreign Language Film: “The Kid With a Bike”
Best Animated Film: “ParaNorman”
Best Documentary: “The Invisible War”
Best Ensemble: “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”
Best Cinematography: Claudio Miranda, “Life of Pi”
Best Film Editing: William Goldenberg, “Argo”
Best Original Score: Jonny Greenwood, “The Master”
Best Production Design: Hugh Bateup and Uli Hanisch, “Cloud Atlas”
Body of Work Award: Greig Fraser, cinematographer, “Zero Dark Thirty,” “Killing Them Softly” and “Snow White and the Huntsman”