Best Performances, Directing, and Other Miscellany of 2012

In past years for my "Best of" list, I've been able to provide fun categories like "Best Kill" and "Best Quotes", but sadly, that won't be happening this year.  I keep notes throughout the year, but in July, my hard drive crashed, and because I am a foolish person, I didn't back up the notes to a separate drive.  However, I do have enough information to do the traditional categories as well as Breakthrough Performance, "A Very Good Year", Best Villain, Best Surprises, Biggest Disappointments, and a new category, "Best Movie You Probably Missed This Year."  One final note: unlike previous years, the film had to come out in 2012; festival-only flicks don't count, so that's why there's no love for The Place Beyond the Pines on this year's list.

Hit the jump to check out my miscellaneous “Best of 2012″ picks.  Be sure to keep checking back this week as we'll be running Top 10 lists from Adam, Dave, and me.

[Note: Runners-Up are listed in alphabetical order]

BEST ACTOR:

Daniel Day-Lewis as "Abraham Lincoln" in Lincoln

Runners-Up:

Joseph Gordon-Levitt as "Joe" in Looper

John Hawkes as "Mark O'Brien" in The Sessions

Denis Lavant as "M. Oscar / Le banquier / La mendiante / L'OS de Motion-Capture / M. Merde / Le père / L'accordéoniste / Le tueur / Le tué / Le mourant / L'homme au foyer" in Holy Motors

Joaquin Phoenix as "Freddie Quell" in The Master

BEST ACTRESS:

Jessica Chastain as "Maya" in Zero Dark Thirty

Runners-Up:

Zoe Kazan as "Ruby Sparks" in Ruby Sparks

Jennifer Lawrence as "Tiffany" in Silver Linings Playbook

Leslie Mann as "Debbie" in This Is 40

Mary Elizabeth Winstead as "Kate Hannah" in Smashed

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR:

Philip Seymour Hoffman as "Lancaster Dodd" in The Master

Runners-Up:

Javier Bardem as "Silva" in Skyfall

Scoot McNairy as "Frankie" in Killing Them Softly

Christopher Walken as "Hans" in Seven Psychopaths

Christoph Waltz as "Dr. King Schultz" in Django Unchained

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:

Anne Hathaway as "Fantine" in Les Miserables

Runners-Up:

Amy Adams as "Peggy Dodd" in The Master

Ann Dowd as "Sandra" in Compliance

Helen Hunt as "Cheryl" in The Sessions

Kristin Scott Thomas as "Patricia Maxwell" in Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

BREAKTHROUGH PERFORMANCE:

Dane DeHaan as "Andrew Detmer" in Chronicle

A VERY GOOD YEAR:

Channing Tatum: Haywire, 21 Jump Street, Magic Mike

[I never thought I could like Channing Tatum, and this year he proved me wrong on a consistent basis.  I didn't see The Vow, but he did terrific work in these three films]

BEST DIRECTOR:

Benh Zeitlin – Beasts of the Southern Wild

Runners-Up:

Kathryn Bigelow – Zero Dark Thirty

Leos Carax – Holy Motors

Joe Carnahan – The Grey

Andy Wachowski & Lana Wachowski & Tom Tykwer – Cloud Atlas

BEST VILLAIN:

Javier Bardem as "Silva" in Skyfall

Runners-Up:

Pat Healy as "Officer Daniels" in Compliance

Werner Herzog as "The Zec" in Jack Reacher

Tom Hiddleston as "Loki" in The Avengers

Samuel L. Jackson as "Stephen" in Django Unchained

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY:

Roger Deakins – Skyfall

Runner-Up: Masanobu Takayanagi – The Grey

BEST SCORE:

Dan Romer and Behn Zeitlin – Beasts of the Southern Wild

Runner-Up: Tom Tykwer, Johnny Klimek, and Reinhold Heil – Cloud Atlas

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE:

ParaNorman

Runner-Up: The Pirates! Band of Misfits

BEST DOCUMENTARY:

The Imposter

Runner-Up: Room 237

BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT:

Prometheus

What hurt about Prometheus is that it didn't even disappoint me when I was watching it.  It was only after I started talking about the film that I realized it didn't hold up at all.  To Ridley Scott's credit, Prometheus drew me in to the point where I didn't think about how feeble the story was during the picture.  However, it has only become more of a let down as time has gone on.  It was made even worse when you consider the killer marketing Fox put together for the flick.

Runners-Up:

The Amazing Spider-Man

Anna Karenina

The Dark Knight Rises

Snow White and the Huntsman

BEST SURPRISE:

Magic Mike

People tend to be surprised when I tell them I liked Magic Mike.  Maybe it's because they think a straight guy couldn't like a movie featuring male strippers, but it's just a damn fine story.  I can remember how averse I was to seeing the picture as the casting news was announced.  At that point, I had never liked Channing Tatum, I wanted Alex Pettyfer to disappear, and the premise didn't appeal to me.  But the stripping—which is really well done and damn entertaining—is just the cover for an honest, thoughtful story about chasing the American Dream.  It just happens to also have a shot of a guy using a cock-pump.

Runners-Up:

Chronicle

Mirror Mirror

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Pitch Perfect

BEST FILM YOU PROBABLY MISSED THIS YEAR:

Detention

Box Office: 'Ghostbusters: Afterlife' Spooks Competition with $44 Million Weekend

'Ghostbusters: Afterlife' marks a return to prominence for Oscar-nominated director Jason Reitman.

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About The Author
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Matt Goldberg (15116 Articles Published)

Matt Goldberg has been an editor with Collider since 2007. As the site's Chief Film Critic, he has authored hundreds of reviews and covered major film festivals including the Toronto International Film Festival and the Sundance Film Festival. He resides in Atlanta with his wife and their dog Jack.

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