2010 Calvin Awards: Best Picture

February 12, 2010

It's all fun and games until the house lands on the dog, the boy and the old man.

This is the ninth time we have done The Calvins. While we will make a bigger deal of this point next year since the public loves round numbers so much, I mention this now in order to take this opportunity to look back at prior winners. The original selection for Best Picture was The Royal Tenenbaums in 2002. The next three winners are all ones that I'm certain film lovers have seen, About a Boy, Lost in Translation and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. The choice that caused outrage among our readers, one I fervently believe holds up very well in hindsight, is Serenity. Our group loves those rare action flicks that are done right, an idea we reinforced two years later when The Bourne Ultimatum was our choice for Best Picture. In the middle of those two votes, we named The Queen Best Picture in the 2007 Calvins. Last year's winner was of course WALL-E, which earned a whopping 115 votes on its way to edging out The Dark Knight as our choice for film of the year. Our 2010 awards see a similar result but a much larger margin of victory.

Yes, for the second consecutive year, a Pixar release is our selection for Best Picture. Up not only wins the title but does so with 140 votes, easily the largest scoring total we have had in the seven years we have used the current scoring format. As was the case last year, Up was nominated on the highest percentage of ballots while also garnering the highest number of first place votes to boot. We as a group keep asking ourselves when Pixar is going to disappoint us, but anyone who read the site in 2009 realizes that Up was not the film to do so.


What aspect of Up moves us enough as a collective group to allow Pixar to repeat as champion? The answer can be found sprinkled throughout the rest of the voting in this year's Calvins, particularly in the Best Scene category. The biography of Carl featuring his relationship with Ellie is as heart wrenching as the cinema format allows. With his complete devotion to her, the bitter loneliness he feels in her absence overflows into all other aspects of his life now that he has come to the twilight years of it. When a young, well intended boy in desperate need of not just parental guidance but attention itself arrives at Carl's door, the viewer immediately recognizes exactly how much the duo needs one another. Moments later, Carl releases the balloons and thereby untethers both boys from the ties of their sadness. Pixar's producers have pointed out that the animation of Up is crafted in such a manner that it reinforces their character flaws. Such is the CGI animation pioneer's attention to detail that they demonstrate behavioral patterns in every aspect of each drawing. We as a site are in awe of Pixar's storytelling ability, which simply makes us part of the masses when it comes to their films, for they are the gold standard in the movie industry. Up is simply their latest masterpiece as well as a worthy selection for Best Picture of the year.

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