As the year stands behind us and we gear up for the upcoming award shows including the Critics Choice Awards which will be broadcast on VH1, Thursday, January 12th @ 8pm ET.  Make sure you tune in.

As for our own critics here at the Awards Circuit, I am pleased to present the Staff Writers choices for the Top 10 Best Films of 2011.  Having a hand in hiring most of these writers that are on board, I am also eager to see the eclectic tastes as we try to form a non-consensus here at the site.  We fully embrace how we are all different and look at film in a different way from our next critic or reader.  We respect and we view with curiosity.  I sincerely hope the readership of the Awards Circuit will share your Top Ten films in the comment section because I’m eager to hear what you guys and gals loved in 2011 as well.

Without further ado, here is the Top Ten Films of 2011 for each writer including the Editor-in-Chief:

1The Artist
2The Help
4Rise of the Planet of the Apes
6The Ides of March
8Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
9Win Win
10We Need to Talk About Kevin
1Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows Part 2
5Crazy, Stupid, Love
7Young Adult
8The Artist
9The Help
4Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol
5The Eagle
7Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows Part 2
813 Assassins
9The Artist
10Horrible Bosses



  1. If you don’t mind indulging me, below is my top ten. I’ve included honorable mentions, performances and screeplay. My list consists of films that I,in particular, have seen in 2011 so there is some overlaps from 2010.
    thanks for this site, guys. It’s great.

    BEST OF FILMS SEEN IN 2011 (Final)
    Top Ten
    1. The Fighter
    2. The Descendants
    3. The Artist
    4. Animal Kingdom
    5. King’s Speech
    6. Barney’s Version
    7. Drive
    8. Rise of The Planet of The Apes
    9. The Help
    10. War Horse

    Honorable mention (in descending order): Bridesmaids, Win Win, Let Me In, The Social Network, Source Code, I Love You Philip Morris

    Foreign Film: In A Better World
    Honorable Mention: Eyes Wide Open, Of Gods and Men, Sarah’s Key

    Documentary: Waiting For Superman
    Honorable mention: Inside Job, Trouble The Water

    Animated Feature: Tangled
    Honorable mention: The Illusionist

    Best Director: David O. Russell (The Fighter)
    Honorable Mention: Alexander Payne (The Descendants), Michel Hazanavicius (The Artist), Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive)

    Best Actor: Paul Giamatti (Barney’s Version, Win Win)
    Honorable Mention: Colin Firth (The King’s Speech), George Clooney (The Descendants), Jean Dujardin (The Artist)

    Best Actress: Viola Davis
    Honorable Mention: Kristen Wiig (Bridesmaids). Berenice Bejo (The Artist), Kristin Scott Thomas (Sarah’s Key).

    Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale (The Fighter)
    Honorable Mention: Christopher Plummer (Beginners), Geoffrey Rush (The King’s Speech), Ewan MacGregor (I Love You Philip Morris)

    Best Supporting Actress:
    Melissa Leo (The Fighter)
    Honorable Mention: Leslie Manville (Another Year), Jessica Chastain (The Help), Shailene Woodley (The Descendants)

    Best Screenplay (Adapted): The Descendants
    Best Screenplay (Original): The Fighter
    Honorable Mention: The Artist, Barney’s Version, Drive

  2. Wow, a truly diverse list. Never thought I’d see more love for HP than for Drive AND Tree of Life, as well as almost every other Oscar contenders. In a small way that makes me happy

  3. Great lists! Always fun to see different opinions on what was the “best” of the year. Though the absence of ‘Hugo’ on many of the lists makes me sad. I always enjoy reading everyone’s work here.

      • Mark…I strongly considered it. Truth be told, I even re-read your review as I considered it because I know you are so passionate for it. Only quibble is with the screenplay and the feeling that the film is bifurcated between Hour 1 and Hour 2. Love them individually, but that I cannot make those two halves fit back together is my only main complaint.

        • I’m honored that you re-read my review when considering Hugo, Michael. Thanks! I can see where you and Joey would have a problem with the two halves connecting. I was just so moved by Scorsese’s passion of film history that I got swallowed up in the magic of it. No movie has struck me as deeply as Hugo (other than maybe The Tree of Life) so far this year.

      • Thanks Clayton. I haven’t put a list together yet. I still have a lot to see before I can feel good about ranking the best of the year. Hoping to be caught up by the end of the month though.

  4. SOOOO this staff menber of BFCA, how come they have potter on most of these list but potter didn’t get into BFCA top 10??????????????????????????????????????????????????

    i’m just saying babies

    • I’m the only member of the BFCA on the site.

      For me, Harry Potter was not one of the year’s best. Plain and simple. But I’ve never been a fan of the franchise so I’m a bit biased. It’s a solid film, not great though.

  5. My Top Ten List:

    Best Film: “The Tree of Life”
    Runner-Up: “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo”
    Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 2
    Midnight In Paris
    Project Nim
    Ides of March
    The Help
    The Artist

    Best Director: Terrence Malick “The Tree of Life”
    Runner-up: Martin Scorsese “Hugo”

    Best Actor: Jean Dujardin “The Artist”
    Runner-up: Brad Pitt “Moneyball”

    Best Actress: Tilda Swinton “We Need To Talk About Kevin”
    Runner-up: Ellen Barkin “Another Happy Day”

    Best Supporting Actor: Kenneth Branagh “My Week With Marilyn”
    Runner-up: Ben Kinglsey “Hugo”

    Best Supporting Actress: Jessica Chastain “The Help”
    Runner-up: Amy Ryan “Win Win”

    Best Original Screenplay: Terrence Malick “The Tree of Life”
    Runner-up: Woody Allen “Midnight In Paris”

    Best Adapted Screenplay: Steve Kloves “Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 2”
    Runner-up: Steven Zaillian & Aaron Sorkin “Moneyball”

    Best Animated Feature: “Winnie The Pooh”
    Runner-up: “Rio”

    Best Documentary: “Project Nim”
    Runner-up: “Pina”

    Best Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki “The Tree of Life”
    Runner-up: Jeff Cronenweth “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo”

    Best Editing: Kirk Baxter & Angus Wall “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo”
    Runner-up: Matthew Newman “Drive”

    Best Original Score: Alexandre Desplat “The Tree of Life”
    Runner-up: Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo”

    Best Costume: Jany Temime “Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 2”
    Runner-up: Jill Taylor “My Week With Marilyn”

    Best Art Direction: Stuart Craig “Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 2”
    Runner-up: Laurence Bennett “The Artist”

    Best Visual Effects: “Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 2”
    Runner-Up: “Hugo”

  6. Interesting lists with some surprises. I wonder what a cumulative staff top 10 would look like.

    I did my top 10 at the beginning of last month – actually a top 50, which I posted on another forum. I didn’t anticipate adding much going by the schedule.

    I still have to catch Hugo before it closes (2D only now! :(), technically I could have saw The Artist which opened 30th December, will see that soon.

    Of the films I saw in December, 50/50 narrowly misses the cut. I did cheat with the #3 film, saw it early at a film festival, otherwise it’s another 2012 release here.

    1. Animal Kingdom
    2. Weekend
    3. Shame
    4. Bridesmaids
    5. Oslo, August 31
    6. Crazy, Stupid, Love.
    7. Black Swan
    8. Rabbit Hole
    9. Beginners
    10. The Help (flawed of course, but…)

  7. here’s my top 10
    1. Shame
    2. The Artist
    3. The Tree Of Life
    4. Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2
    5. 50/50
    6. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
    7. Hugo
    8. Drive
    9. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
    10. Midnight In Paris


  8. I really like all the love for Shame, I found it to be really powerful. And I have to give props to Hammer for putting Tree of Life at number one, good job! And thank you Joey for the Bellflower endorsement! That movie was so good and really really intense. I thought it was one of the best dissections of what it means to be a man in the modern world since Fight Club. It does have some flaws but it was so ambitious that I could gloss over them.

    My top 10:
    1) The Tree of Life
    2) Midnight in Paris
    3) Another Earth
    4) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
    5) The Artist
    6) The Descendants
    7) Drive
    8) Shame
    9) Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol
    10) The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

  9. So I did the stats. Based on an accumulation of votes and rankings for these lists, the Awards Circuit Top 10 Best Picture list, if we were the Academy, would look something like this:

    1. The Artist
    2. Shame
    3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
    4. 50/50
    5. The Descendants
    6. Drive
    7. Midnight in Paris
    8. Moneyball
    9. The Tree of Life
    10. A Separation

  10. 1. Drive
    2. The Tree of Life
    3. 50/50
    4. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
    5. Midnight in Paris
    6. We Bought a Zoo
    7. Moneyball
    8. Melancholia
    9. We Need to Talk About Kevin
    10. Super 8

    11. The Ides of March
    12. Contagion
    13. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part II
    14. Warrior
    15. The Help
    16. Rise of the Planet of the Apes
    17. Hugo
    18. The Descendants
    19. Bridesmaids
    20. War Horse
    21. Red State
    22. The Muppets
    23. X-Men: First Class
    24. Like Crazy
    25. Martha Marcy May Marlene

    Honorable Mentions: Young Adult, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, Crazy Stupid Love, Beginners

    Have Yet to See: Shame, A Dangerous Method, Tinker Taylor Soldier Spy, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, My Week With Marilyn, MI – Ghost Protocol

  11. Top Ten Pictures: 1. Drive 2. The Tree of Life 3. Take Shelter 4. Rampart 5. A Better Life 6. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo 7. Martha Marcy May Marlene 8. Moneyball 9. Pariah 10. Hugo

    Best Documentary Feature: Hot Coffee
    Best Foreign Film: 13 Assassins
    Best Actor: Michael Shannon for Take Shelter
    Best Actress: Elizabeth Olsen for Martha Marcy May Marlene
    Best Supoorting Actor: Albert Brooks for Drive
    Best Supporting Actress: Jessica Chastain for The Tree of Life
    Best Villain: Albert Brooks in Drive
    Most Overrated Picture of the Year: The Help
    Most Underrated Picture of the Year: Source Code
    Best Actioner: X-Men: First Class and Source Code
    Best Comedy: Crazy, Stupid, Love
    Best Horror Picture: Fright Night
    Worst Film of the Year: Transformers: Dark of the Moon
    Best Scene: Drive- Opening Chase Sequence
    Best Quote: “Any dreams you have or plans or hopes for your future I think you’re going to have to put that on hold. For the rest of your life you’re going to have to look over your shoulder.” Albert Brooks in Drive.

    Final Consensus for films in 2011. Its been the best year for motion pictures in several years and it helped that a picture like Drive hasn’t blown me away since 2000’s Memento. Its pictures like these that continue to inspire and fuel my desire to succeed in the film industry. Other films such as The Help and The Ides of March continue to baffle my critical nature because of their continually increasing hype and acknowledgment as some of the best pictures of 2011. There were some excellent small gems such as Pariah and Take Shelter that dug a deep hole into my heart and soul. Overall, in 2011, filmmakers succeeded in delivering what we love most about this ultimate artform: Movies that inspire us, thrill us, break our hearts and movies that make us stand up and cheer in sheer delight. This is why we go to the movies. This is why we as movie buffs and critics continue to discuss, debate, and share our love for film. I hope that 2012 continues this uphill pattern of great years for movies.