Last Decade’s Best Picture Nominees Ranked by Year

Which years had the best crop of best picture nominees? What films deserved nominations and what ones didn’t? See everything ranked here.

1. 2007– Certainly one of the greatest crop of films to have come across the laps of voters in the last decade, if not in the entire Academy’s history. There Will Be Blood is without a doubt a classic induction in American cinema and without blowing any smoke was CyniCritics rightful pick for the best film of the decade. Actual winner No Country for Old Men equally deserves striking gold and Atonement is highly overlooked for displaying an hour of completely flawless, beautiful cinematic glory. Juno won’t be forgotten and even Michael Clayton was a strong film. Nobody can really argue a film out of this list unless they make a case for made a case for an endless list of brilliant, best picture worthy films made in 2007 like The Lives of Others, Into the Wild, Sweeney Todd, Eastern Promises, The Assassination of Jesse James, or Zodiac. Now here is a year deserving of 10 nominees.

Nominees ranked:

  1. There Will Be Blood
  2. No Country for Old Men
  3. Atonement
  4. Juno
  5. Michael Clayton Continue reading
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Our (Belated) Best Female Performances of the Decade

1. Bjork- Dancer in the Dark It was already a complicated role to step into; a lower class immigrant who must work in a factory to support her son and save up for his surgery to save him from the same blindness that was dooming her.  She then runs into serious threats when capitalist America comes into the picture. Add in musical fantasies, tension from the sadist Lars Von Trier and impossible songs written by Bjork herself, and the role of Selma is just as doomed as the character.  But Bjork takes this tragic story, gives it the proper life, glimmer for hope and our sympathy to prolong the inevitable as long as possible, making it even that much more difficult to take. It’s a pure work of devastation to watch Bjork melt right down into the role, with her far-off eyes, that reckoning, hopeless smile and perfectly broken down English that match every last theme in the movie. Key Scene- Selma is in a jail cell broken down and alone and once again turns to music to take her away. Moving to the ventilator, she begins singing Julie Andrews’ “Favorite Things” to calm herself from one of the lowest points in her life. It’s a sad setting but a bright song, and then it gets even more disturbing when Bjork throws in the deep lumps in the back of her throat and tears matched with her revealing smile and dancing around. It’s heartbreaking to watch.

2. Ellen Burstyn- Requiem for a Dream- Her role as an aging widow hooked on caffeine pills in an attempt to get on her favorite television show is also one of the most heart-wrenching performances you’re ever likely to see.  Burstyn may have lost the Oscar, but her performance will live on longer than any of the nominees from that year.  Key Scene Her monologue to her son Harry.  It’s here that her character’s drug use is humanized, tragically.  Burstyn doesn’t go full-on with her grief, she restrains herself to devastating effect.  The close-up shot catches every nuance of a performance with many dazzling ones.

3. Naomi Watts- Mulholland Drive– Watts’ performance(s) in David Lynch’s mind-boggling neo-noir catapulted her to the ranks of Hollywood’s finest young actresses.  Without her perky smile and willingness to bear her body and soul, Lynch’s vision would’ve been less convincing.  Key Scene– As Betty auditions for a part in a movie, Watts makes the audition seem like reality thanks to a close-up of the two actors and her smoldering intensity and eroticism.  It’s unlike anything you’ll see in any other movie. Continue reading

ARCHIVE REVIEW: Gangs of New York

Gangs of New York
Directed by: Martin Scorsese
Written by: Jay Cocks
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Daniel Day-Lewis, Cameron Diaz, John C. Reilly

In its early ages, New York City was a dirty, filthy, muddled mess, sprawling over an untamable piece of land, controlled nothing more than the violent, greedy people who were trying to civilize it. With immigration and war on the rise, it was growing faster than ever, more torn that ever and more important than ever. Despite the bloodshed, it bloomed with the nation, undertaking a rapid transformation that would summarize America’s birth and stay in the world. In more ways than one, Gangs of New York is just like the city.

The film is often one that is most hacked by critics and Scorsese fans, mostly for its historical inaccuracy, length and muddled narrative. But just like the violent mess the city was, the movie follows suit, becoming a grand, grotesque but truthful epic tale of how a city and a nation were born.

Scorsese incorporates similar themes to his other famous works. There are the power struggles with men and women, violence as a substitution for sex, violence within class, nationality and religion. This movie hits them all, and it hits them with brute force. Continue reading

Our (Belated) Best Movies of the 2000s

1. There Will Be Blood– Paul Thomas Andersen’s take on a corrupt, independent oil prospector at the turn of the century who just conned a family out of their oil-wealthy land is an epic exploration of two souls squaring off in a new world torn between spiritual and capitalistic ideals. The performance of Daniel Day Lewis gives Daniel Plainview flesh and blood thicker and blacker than the oil he devotes himself to drilling, carrying the film for nearly three hours and never skipping a scene that won’t enthrall. Those who can’t appreciate experimental filmmaking or principals of classic cinema like Citizen Kane will think this movie bores more than it bleeds. Though it’s a tragic tale, telling the American nightmare oppose to the America dream, it’s technically beautiful, if not perfect. The unconventional and strange cinematography and score are just a few of the elements that set Andersen up as rebellious poet, taking a stand against everything the digital film age embodies, and in doing so he creates something just as classic, magnificent and important as Citizen Kane, but clumping them together is injustice. There Will Be Blood mines deep into new territories and in the process, becomes a masterpiece.


2. The Departed– Martin Scorsese’s visceral return to the crime drama yielded extraordinary results.  Packing an unbeatable cast into a winning script by William Monahan, Scorsese creates a world where corruption starts young and gets more powerful with age.  Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Vera Farmiga, and Mark Wahlberg are all excellent, but as with most of his films, Scorsese is the star of the show. He laces this tale of Shakespearean magnitude with perfect music and pacing.  Two and a half hours rarely go by so fast.  You’ll have whiplash by the time the film reaches its bloody climax, and love every second of it.  With The Departed, Scorsese’s created a classic that stands with his best work. Continue reading

ARCHIVE REVIEW: Wall-E


Wall-E
Directed by: Andrew Stanton
Written by: Andrew Stanton and Jim Reardon
Starring: Ben Burtt, Fred Willard, Sigourney Weaver

He might be one of most lovable animated movie characters of all-time. Sorry Simba, Dori and Shrek, but this bot was built to love.

Wall-E is a classic animated tale with a different, more mindful approach, telling the story of a lone robot performing the selfless duty of cleaning up the mess on Earth while the human population is away on a 700 or so year cruise. The first 30 minutes of the film are silent and all the talking is left to the amazing animated work done by the Pixar team. It’s all an ode to the silent, comical works of Charlie Chapin, add fantastic color palettes and unique imagery which make this one film that doesn’t need 3D to be a visual masterpiece. Continue reading