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Year-In-Review: Editor’s Specialty Awards


The Year-In-Review continues with some non-traditional citations on certain films and performances that did or did not make head way in 2011. What are your choices for “Limited Performance” of the year? or Most Underrated Film? or share what you thought about the Year-in-TV as I dish out my favorites in Television Drama and Comedies. Read more after jump.

Most Overrated Film of the Year

“The Descendants”


While I can definitely agree that George Clooney gave one of the best performances of the year, the hype stating this IS the film of the year never came to fruition for me.  The screenplay often feels forced, unnatural, and noticeably flawed. I know there are others out there who think the same.

Most Underrated Film of the Year

“A Better Life”


No film this year hit a more emotional tone than that of Chris Weitz’s “A Better Life.”  While all the hype lies on Demian Bichir’s bravura performance, the film’s beautiful script, illustrious score by Alexandre Desplat and wonderful performance by Jose Julian makes it 2011’s best kept secret.

Best Performance in a Bad Movie

Armie Hammer in “J. Edgar”


While Leonardo DiCaprio semi-delivered in the uneven “J. Edgar,” any scene containing the great Armie Hammer was stolen, sealed, and attacked with natural disposition and equal amounts of talent.  Can’t wait to see Hammer dig his teeth into something substantial.

Worst Performance in a Good Movie

Sean Penn in “The Tree of Life”


2 Oscars, both well deserved, and all we get is Sean Penn moping around like a leaf in the wind.  Blame it on editing, but I think give an actor any amount of screen time, you have to make due.  This is one of Penn’s most disappointing.

Are We Suppose to Believe They’re Related?

Jason Segel & ‘Walter’ in “The Muppets”


With Asa Butterfield and Jude Law a close second for “Hugo,” this is supposed to be more of limerick than an actual citation.  It’s still the cutest family couple of the year.

Best Marriage in a Film

Mike Vogel & Jessica Chastain in “The Help”


Celia and Johnny Foote are the a poster for a perfect marriage.  Without spoiling anything, tell me you didn’t think they were the absolute cutest thing when they sit down for the dinner with Minny.

Worst Marriage in a Film

Tilda Swinton & John C. Reilly in “We Need to Talk About Kevin”


Oh, you mean besides the fact that the husband completely ignored the signs that his son was a masturbating in front of his mother, homicidal maniac and his wife is the worst mother since Mommie Dearest.  How about it was evident they didn’t even like each other?  That enough reason.

Best Musical Sequence

Carey Mulligan – “New York, New York”


Who knew Carey Mulligan had it in her.  Tears welling up in her eyes, tears falling down Brandon’s face.  I know I even got choked up.  Not to mention, it’s a fantastic rendition of the popular song.

Best Kiss

Ryan Gosling & Carey Mulligan – “Drive”


Hot, hot, and more hotness.  A slight push to the back of the elevator, a forceful lip-on-lip action, topped off with a face getting smashed in.  Gorgeous!

Best Villain

Bryce Dallas Howard – “The Help”


Some will say Albert Brooks should be listed here for “Drive” and perhaps you’re right but no one made me hate them more than Bryce Dallas Howard’s Hilly Holbrook and her vengeful ways.  Eating shit doesn’t even make me feel the score is tied.  She deserves far worse.

Best Action Sequence

Super 8 – Train Crash


Film may be uneven but the tension that builds leading up to the big train crash sequence showcased big effects, sound, and an introduction to an unlikely and un-poetic monster.

Breakthrough Performance – Male

Jean Dujardin – The Artist


Didn’t know or even hear of him prior to his work in “The Artist” puts him right at the top of the list.  As George Valentin, Dujardin delivers mannerisms that speak more loud than the sound of music.  A definite contender for the big award.

Breakthrough Performance – Female

Adepero Oduye – Pariah


Elizabeth Olsen, Felicity Jones, and Rooney Mara did outstanding work but at the end of the day Adepero Oduye, a 30-something year old playing a 17-year old is no stretch of the imagination.  She nails the aura, heartbreak, and beauty of a young girl being left out on the sidelines.

Body of Work – Male

Ryan Gosling

            • Crazy, Stupid, Love
            • Drive
            • The Ides of March


Ryan Gosling gave two of his finest performances yet in George Clooney’s “The Ides of March” and Nicolas Winding Refn’s “Drive” with a popular, laid-back version of himself in “Crazy, Stupid, Love.”  While “Drive” remains his most worthy turn for citation, any of these performances would be satisfactory for Oscar to take on for a nomination.

Body of Work – Female

Jessica Chastain

            • Coriolanus
            • The Debt
            • The Help
            • Take Shelter
            • Texas Killing Fields
            • The Tree of Life


Stole the show from Vanessa Redgrave in the atrocious “Coriolanus.”  Played equally afflicting to Helen Mirren’s character in “The Debt.”  Turn the scenes (and pants) on fire in her yellow outfit in “The Help.”  Played the suffering wife wonderfully in Jeff Nichols’ “Take Shelter.”  Was the best part of a poor film in “Texas Killing Fields.”  And finally, was the pillar that is Mother Nature in Terrence Malick’s ambitious film “The Tree of Life.”

Best Limited Performances of the Year

  • Tom Hanks as Thomas – “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close”
  • Bryan Cranston as Shannon – “Drive”
  • Lucy Walters as Girl on Train – “Shame”
  • James Badge Dale as David – “Shame”
  • Melanie Lynskey as Cindy – “Win Win”
  • Wendi McClendon-Covey as Rita – “Bridesmaids”
  • Helen McCrory as Mama Jeannie – “Hugo”
  • Judy Greer as Julie Speer – “The Descendants”
  • Ray McKinnon as Kyle – “Take Shelter”
  • Jill Eikenberry as Hedda Gary – “Young Adult”


Television Awards

BOLD denotes Winner

Best Television Series (Drama)

  • American Horror Story
  • Boardwalk Empire
  • Dexter
  • Mad Men
  • Revenge

Best Television Series (Comedy)

  • Allen Gregory
  • New Girl
  • Modern Family
  • Saturday Night Live
  • South Park

Best Actor in a Leading Role (Drama)

  • Steve Buscemi – Boardwalk Empire
  • Bryan Cranston – Breaking Bad
  • Kelsey Grammar – Boss
  • Michael C. Hall – Dexter
  • Jon Hamm – Mad Men

Best Actor in a Leading Role (Comedy)

  • Steve Carell – The Office
  • Jonah Hill – Allen Gregory
  • Seth McFarlane – Family Guy
  • Ed O’Neill – Modern Family
  • Jim Parsons – The Big Bang Theory

Best Actress in a Leading Role (Drama)

  • Jennifer Carpenter – Dexter
  • Claire Danes – Homeland
  • Sarah Michelle Gellar – Ringer
  • Julianne Marguilles – The Good Wife
  • Anna Paquin – True Blood

Best Actress in a Leading Role (Comedy)

  • Christina Applegate – Up All Night
  • Whitney Cummings – Whitney
  • Zooey Deschanel – New Girl
  • Tina Fey – 30 Rock
  • Melissa McCarthy – Mike & Molly

Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Drama)

  • Josh Charles – The Good Wife
  • Peter Dinklage – Game of Thrones
  • Colin Hanks – Dexter
  • Edward James Olmos – Dexter
  • Alexander Skarsgaard – True Blood

Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Comedy)

  • Ty Burrell – Modern Family
  • Jesse Tyler Ferguson – Modern Family
  • Max Greenfield – New Girl
  • Bill Hader – Saturday Night Live
  • Eric Stonestreet – Modern Family

Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Drama)

  • Christine Baranski – The Good Wife
  • Christina Hendricks – Mad Men
  • Jessica Lange – American Horror Story
  • Kelly MacDonald – Boardwalk Empire
  • Deborah Ann Wall – True Blood

Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Comedy)

  • Julie Bowen – Modern Family
  • Jane Lynch – Glee
  • Maya Rudolph – Up All Night
  • Sofia Vergara – Modern Family
  • Kristen Wiig – Saturday Night Live

Best Writing (Drama)

  • American Horror Story
  • Boardwalk Empire
  • Dexter
  • Mad Men
  • The Walking Dead

Best Writing (Comedy)

  • Allen Gregory
  • Beavis & Butthead
  • Modern Family
  • Saturday Night Live
  • South Park

Best Cast Ensemble (Drama)

  • 30 Rock
  • Dexter
  • Glee
  • Mad Men
  • True Blood

Best Cast Ensemble (Comedy)

  • It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
  • Modern Family
  • New Girl
  • The Office
  • Saturday Night Live

Best Reality or Competition Show

  • American Idol
  • Dancing with the Stars
  • Intervention
  • Survivor
  • The X Factor


And finally, the ten best scenes of the year captured on film!

Best Film Scenes of the Year


Rise of the Planet of the Apes – Caesar speaks for the first time


If you are unfamiliar with the storyline like I am, the moment Caesar gets angry and screams to his abuser, “No!” eyes widen, heart kicks up a beat, and the suspense and action of “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” takes a fantastic turn.


Moneyball – Deadline for Trading


Much of the success of Bennet Miller’s “Moneyball” is the wonderful chemistry between Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill.  When the two go back and forth on the phones making deals and trades, the ‘film about baseball that isn’t really about baseball’ becomes uniquely about baseball.


Bridesmaids – Bowel movements during fitting


A trip to a Brazilian restaurant goes south of throw up and then some, as the outstanding female cast of “Bridesmaids” run around a dress fitting looking for any hole to leave their wastes.  Absolutely hilarious.


Arthur Christmas – Ending (Kid Sees Santa as the wind blows)


The picture above isn’t the scene I wanted to show but I can’t leave you with that spoiler.  You have to see it as your eyes are welled up but ends with an adorable and much-needed giggle.


Hugo – Opening (Shots through the train station)


The single best 3-D experience of my life hands down as Martin Scorsese weaves in and out of nooks, crannies, and a beautiful train station where a boy lives and makes his playground.  A scene that can only be experienced on the big screen.


Shame – Sissy singing “New York, New York”


Absolutely captivating as Sissy sums up all her pain and anguish for herself and Brandon in a city that has no mercy, no boundaries, and absolute beauty.  It’s a tragedy you want to die in.


The Artist – Final Dance


After a roller coaster ride in the dark and silence, Michel Hazanavicius enables his audience to partake in a sequence that’s both joyous and illuminating.  Not to mention the tap dancing by Jean Dujardin and Berenice Bejo is incredible.


Drive – Elevator Kiss and Fight


All the summary under the “Best Kiss” award can go here but I’ll add that face on Ryan Gosling as his “dark passenger” emerges to the woman he loves is the saddest display of humanity and loneliness.


Shame – Opening Scene on Train


A beautiful red-head sits across from Brandon, unsure, willing, and completely vulnerable.  Enters a powerful performance from Michael Fassbender, a potent and exhilarating score by Harry Escott, and one of the most desperate displays of determination and fear struck into less than 3 minutes seen on film.


The Tree of Life – Creation


A symphony rises through the ashes of a film reel while Terrence Malick orchestrates along with his Visual Effects team the SINGLE best sequence of imagery since the century began.  Watch as the gas, fire, air, molecules, and ions of life come together to create an existence no one can quite comprehend.  Stunning!


Thanks for reading.  Tomorrow, I will be announcing the conventional categories citing the very best that 2011 had to offer.

Make sure to read Sunday’s edition: Honorable Mentions

What do you think?


Written by Clayton Davis

Clayton Davis is the esteemed Editor and Owner of Born in Bronx, NY to a Puerto Rican mother and Black father, he’s been criticizing film and television for over a decade. Clayton is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association where he votes and attends the kick off to the awards season, the Critics Choice Awards. He also founded the Latino Entertainment Journalists Association, the first Latino-based critics’ organization in the United States. He’s also an active member of the African-American Film Critics Association, New York Film Critics Online, International Press Academy, Black Reel Awards, and the Broadcast Television Journalists Association. Clayton has been quoted and appeared in various outlets that include The New York Times,, Variety, Deadline, Los Angeles Times, FOX 5, Bloomberg Television, AOL, Huffington Post, Bloomberg Radio, The Wrap, Slash Film, and the Hollywood Reporter.


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