2011 Calvin Awards: Best Picture
February 18, 2011
While it wasn’t a close race to the finish for our Best Picture award, we did have five films that were clearly so well-loved that our staff had no trouble coming to a consensus on them. 2010 was a year that offered up movies about nerdly tech dudes, trippy dream cons, vengeance, ballet and toy nostalgia. With such a diverse slate, everyone could find a movie to champion. 51 films received votes, with 12 of those movies getting first place votes.
Our Calvin for Best Picture goes to The Social Network, and anyone who has followed this site for the past several years can probably ascertain some of the reasons this is the case. Many staff members at BOP are big fans of screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, the man who previously was responsible for such stuff as A Few Good Men, The American President, “Sports Night,” and “The West Wing.” His crackling dialogue and deft hand at storytelling helped the film to be suspenseful and engaging, but that’s only part of the story. Director David Fincher pulls it all together with masterful pacing and a stylishness that cannot be denied.
Of course, much of The Social Network’s success also relies on an amazing group of young actors who bring to life characters most people would never care about watching in other circumstances. It would have been so easy for any one of the cast members to let the movie down, but each actor involved in the film seems to rise to the occasion. The partly true/partly false story of how Facebook came into existence is far more fascinating than it has any right to be, and it’s thanks to the fact that this talented group of people was able to come together to create a singular film that defines an era – even as that era hasn’t quite ended. The Social Network tied for the most first place votes of any film, and appeared on 22 out of 26 ballots.
The runner-up, missing the top spot by 14 points, is Inception, the movie that made us all think. Who would ever have believed that a movie so complex it begs to be watched multiple times would be such a popular choice, both among critics and visitors to the box office? Inception is a movie so intriguing, so layered and nuanced, that we all are compelled to discuss its intentions. We’ve all been talking about Christopher Nolan’s stellar directorial career for years now – heck, Memento is actually a nice bookend with Inception, but it bears repeating that there probably isn’t a writer/director working today who crafts such original, intricate stories that are intelligent and never dumbed down for a mass audience.
On top of its smart plotting, Inception is also a gorgeous, sumptuous film to watch, full of amazing special effects and fabulous set pieces. The cast, which includes Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Michael Caine, Ken Watanabe and Cillian Murphy, is exemplary, making us believe that they are truly enmeshed in the opaque landscape of dreaming. Inception received only two first place votes, and was on 18 out of 26 ballots – but it consistently placed highly for every person who included it.