My Cinema

11 June 2013

The 2012 My Cinema Award Winners

By // Cinema

My Cinema TrophyHere we go, guys. It is Finally time for The Winners! Those patient few of you who’ve stuck with us since January’s announcement of the 2012 nominees through our epic 50+ piece Nominee Interview Series– the wait is finally over. We’ve picked winners for you and we’re starting the rollout Right. Now.

Part audience vote, part staff picks, all awesome filmmaking.

Stay tuned for the winners of the My Games, My TV and My Theatre Awards as well as Emerging Artists, Fan Favourites, Performers of the Year and Honorary Award winners.

The 2012 My Cinema Award Winners Are: 

Best Actor in a Drama
Philip Seymour Hoffman (A Late Quartet)
late_quartet 2A late and under-the-radar entry into the year’s Best Actor field, PSH’s beautifully human performance as a sentimental violinist relegated to perpetual second chair status tapped into our emotional core more than any of the higher profile contenders (including his own scene-stealing performance in The Master).

Best Actor in a Comedy
Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook)
silver-1347891716 2We’ve loved Bradley Cooper from his very first appearance in the brilliant Alias pilot in 2001. We’ve believed in him as a truly great actor, despite being pigeon-holed as a Hollywood hunk. Awesome Cooper-starring properties like Kitchen Confidential disappeared faster than lightning and douchebag roles in films like Wedding Crashers and the (actually surreptitiously sweet) Hangover took over his narrative seemingly insurmountably, topped off with a controversial Sexiest Man Alive win over fan favourite Ryan Gosling. Then came Silver Linings Playbook. While the film itself is a tad overrated and mostly pushed through by the power of Weinstein, it will live forever in our hearts as the movie that made people sit up and finally notice how truly funny and smart and brilliant Bradley Cooper is as an actor. An honest-to-god actor, not just a movie star. He’s heartbreaking and affecting and just so very whole as the troubled Pat, flying far past what even his biggest fans (aka us) knew he was capable of. Best Actor in a Comedy was an outstanding field of hilarious, heartfelt and evocative performances this year (the toughest competition of 2012 by far) but Bradley Cooper’s been overdue for the sort of praise Silver Linings Playbook is finally, and rightly, bringing him.

Best Actress in a Drama
Emily Blunt (Your Sister’s Sister)
120625SistersSister_6341768 2The My Cinema Award nominations this year celebrate four spectacular women who’ve each been nominated in two different categories for their work. Two of them are actor-screenwriters (more on them in a moment), the others are nominated for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress for two different films. Ari Graynor is up for two comedies and Emily Blunt for two dramas, the least flashy of which has earned her our Best Actress award. Blunt was splendid in Looper, giving a lynchpin performance in a great film and all but disappearing into a role unlike anything she’d played before. But it was Your Sister’s Sister that moved her up immeasurably in our estimation. Lynn Shelton’s mostly improvised film is a beautiful, simple, devastatingly honest character portrait carried on the shoulders of three great actors, our favourite of whom was Blunt as the quietly complex Iris. Her daring improv and emotional vulnerability is simply inarguable in one of the year’s best indie films.

Best Actress in a Comedy
Rashida Jones (Celeste & Jesse Forever)
celeste-and-jesse-forever-andy-samberg-rashida-jones-portable 2One of the aforementioned actor-screenwriters, Rashida Jones’ My Cinema Award-nominated script for Celeste & Jesse Forever is something special, a brutal deconstruction of modern mundane romantic tragedy told with great heart and fantastically smart comedy. It came close to being our favourite script of the year, but came up just short. She was, however, our favourite actress in a comedy, portraying the amusing and heartbreaking conflict within the fantastically complex character that she created. Sharing the screen with Andy Samberg in a breakout role for him, Jones was the emotional anchor of the film, making Celeste at once one of the most relatable and frustrating and lovable characters of the year.

Best Supporting Actor in a Drama
Woody Harrelson (The Hunger Games)
The Hunger Games: The Official Illustrated Movie CompanionThe Hunger Games is a spectacularly well-cast franchise. It snagged the perfect Katniss before she skyrocketed to the title of Most Beloved Person in The World and won an Oscar, it boldly entrusted fan-favourite characters to strange but brilliant casting choices like Lenny Kravitz as Cinna. But possibly the best casting move made by the Hunger Games braintrust was Woody Harrelson as Katniss’ haunted but heartfelt mentor Haymitch. The man is perhaps one of the most unexpectedly genius performers ever to come out of a fairly silly sitcom role. He was mesmerizing in Game Change (stay tuned to see if he wins the My TV Award for that one) and the perfect combination of enigmatic, aggravating, wise, harsh, supportive and pitiful as one of the famous book series’ most fascinating characters. The fact that we get to watch him grow the character through another 2 or 3 films is just the icing on the cake.

Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy
Ezra Miller (The Perks of Being a Wallflower)
ezra-miller-patrick-perks 2A major breakout performance in the so-so adaptation of the novel of the same name. The confident and soulful Patrick is a standout character in the book- and a seminal gay teen character in American popular culture- but Ezra Miller brought nothing short of magic to the role, making it one of the greatest of the 2012 film season. This kid should be a big, big, big deal and deserves to steal scenes in films far better than this one.

Best Supporting Actress in a Drama
Anne Hathaway (Les Miserables)
anne hathaway fantine 2We try and stay away from rewarding the same people as every other set of yearly awards. There’s this peculiar phenomenon that happens within the entertainment industry where a small group of influential people- be they critics, awards voters, festival juries, whathaveyou- become the tastemakers who determine the good and bad of an entire season. That’s how you get Emmy categories with five nominees from one show and Oscar telecasts so predictable that my father routinely wins our annual pool. Great work often falls through the cracks in a paradigm like this, so we try our hardest to highlight things that we simply thought were amazing without an ear to the critical ramblings and awards campaigns buzzing around us. Sometimes that means that we give Best Actress to Emily Blunt for a film that barely grossed 1.5 million, sometimes it means that we point out the depth of Woody Harrelson’s work in a YA blockbuster no awards show but the Teen Choice Awards would look twice at. But sometimes it means that we end up on the same train as everyone else by sheer coincidence and the power of a particular performance. Anne Hathaway in the most legendary turn of the year gave such a performance. We went in skeptical, but her soul-barring Fantine deserved every single trophy it received. Including this one.

Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy
Rebel Wilson (Pitch Perfect)
download 2Pitch Perfect was a fun film. It wasn’t perfect but it was one of the most purely entertaining properties of the year. There are two principal reasons for that (beyond the adorableness of its leading man): the soundtrack and a supporting character who calls herself Fat Amy “so you twig bitches won’t do it behind my back”. 100% of Pitch Perfect‘s great lines belong to Fat Amy and it’s Rebel Wilson’s spot-on delivery of such gems as “not a good enough reason to use the word penetrate” that made the film as good as it is.

Best Ensemble
The Avengers
Avengers_Cast 2Downey. Gregg. Johansson. Hemsworth. Evans. Renner. Ruffalo. Smulders. Hiddleston… and some guy called Jackson. Enough said.

Best Director
Ben Affleck (Argo)
affleck 2Take our explanation for why Anne Hathaway won Best Supporting Actress in a Drama. Blend with a dash of our explanation for why Bradley Cooper won Best Actor in a Comedy. Add an epic Oscar snub rooted in pretention and punishment for past personal and career choices. What do you get? Ben Affleck winning this year’s My Cinema Award for Best Director. Because Argo was amazing. And it was particularly amazing because of how particularly well directed it was. Go Ben!

Best Screenplay
Zoe Kazan (Ruby Sparks)
zoe-kazan-in-ruby-sparks 2We’ve written so much about why Zoe Kazan’s screenplay for Ruby Sparks is one of the most artistically and intellectually inspiring pieces of writing produced in quite some time. It’s timely and beautiful, hilarious and heartbreaking, smart but enjoyable, bright but deep. There were a ton of fantastic screenplays this year and if we had more awards to give out we surely would honour Derek Connolly, Joss Whedon, Drew Goddard, Rian Johnson and so many more fantastic writers for a truly stellar year in creative storytelling. But, alas, we had to pick but one so we went with the one we couldn’t get out of our heads.

Best Effects
The Impossible
the-impossible 22012 had superheroes and aliens, monsters, tigers and hobbits (oh my!) but nothing scared us quite as much as The Impossible‘s realistic recreation of the devastating 2004 tsunami that hit South-East Asia and claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. In a beautifully told but sentimental story about the reunion of a family the audience knows will live to tell their story, the terrifying realism of the special effects became the key to raising the stakes. And boy were they raised. From the larger-than-life waves themselves to the brilliant tank work that stranded fantastic newcomer Tom Holland amidst floating debris and dangerous tides, the movie magic of The Impossible was refreshingly next-to-impossible to detect (a rarity in a CGI-saturated world).

Best Costumes, Hair and/or Makeup
Cloud Atlas
cloud-atlas-670 2This year’s Costumes, Hair and Makeup nominees transported movie-goers to the past (Les Miserables, Lincoln), the future (The Hunger Games), and worlds straight out of the imagination (Mirror Mirror, The Hobbit). But only one film did all of those things. The Costumes, Hair and Makeup ambitions of Cloud Atlas were beyond compare but the effectiveness with which such feats were pulled off was nothing short of astounding. Now that Halle Berry has successfully been transformed into a one-eyed Asian man, the limits of a single actress’s potential have expanded pretty much endlessly.

Best Documentary
How to Survive a Plague
How_to_Survive_a_Plague 2This documentary about the early fight against AIDS in New York City tells its story using mostly original footage from the 80s that follows an assemblage of heroes of both the likely and unlikely variety in their quest for governmental recognition and medical attention. The characters are mostly young men, most of them infected with the virus by the time they introduce themselves in archival interviews. A fair amount of the film is actually fairly dry. It’s an interesting historical and medical study, an exploration of late 20th century activism and an anthropological observation of both the struggle to organize and the human capacity for tragic ambivalence. The Queen of Versailles would be our winner if we were judging purely on the level of engagement we had with the material from start to end (How to Survive a Plague, though massively important, tells a story further removed from current consciousness and one that exists in other forms, most notably the wonderful play The Normal Heart by Larry Kramer- an activist who appears in the documentary). But there’s a moment near the end of this film that tapped into our emotions more profoundly than anything else we saw all year. The film mixes modern interviews with archival footage throughout but it wasn’t until the moment our favourite character revealed that he doubted he would live to see the cure for AIDS that it hit us that these eloquent and passionate characters we’d been rooting for had never been shown in modern interviews. We were watching these people, some of who were fighting their last fight. The sequence where the filmmakers reveal who did indeed survive the plague- and who didn’t- tore us up into little bits and there was no way The Queen of Versailles was winning Best Documentary, no matter how surprisingly poignant it was.

Best Drama
Argo
argo01 2There are tons of reasons why this was the Best Drama of the year. It was entertaining, thrilling, terrifying, poignant, timely, witty, daring and simply beautifully executed. It’s tonally one of the most precise films in recent history with superb pacing and high-calibre acting to match across the board. It blended genres seamlessly and smartly carved out the most cinematic elements of a thrilling true story. Perhaps it over-emphasized the CIA involvement and made a hell of a lot of Canadians angry. But, you know what? It’s a lot easier to make a Canadian angry than you’d think. And a little righteous anger only makes a good film look more important.

Best Comedy
Ruby Sparks
ruby_sparks_trailer 2Zoe Kazan’s script, that’s why this film won Best Comedy even in a category stacked with films that were not only the best of 2012 but could easily have taken down great fare from previous years. But if Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris had directed with anything less than sharp wit and sweeping romanticism, the film might have been beaten out by the similarly beautiful-meets-hilarious-meets-heartbreaking Celeste & Jesse Forever. Or if the supporting cast was populated by anyone less than Annette Bening, Antonio Banderas, Aasif Mandvi, Steve Coogan, Alia Shawkat, Elliott Gould and the great Chris Messina. Or if the leads weren’t the enthralling combination of real-life couple Kazan and Paul Dano (one of the great underrated talents of his generation in a part literally written for him). If any of the amazing pieces that make up Ruby Sparks was somehow missing, it would still be great, but it wouldn’t be the best comedy in the best year for comedy in quite some time. But, thankfully, it is.

Best Action, Horror, or Kids Film
The Hunger Games
Still-from-The-Hunger-Gam-008 2Here’s a film that did something that almost no film can do- improve on a beloved book series. Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games trilogy is an enrapturing and groundbreaking dystopian tale at risk of being dumbed down or sanitized when adapted for Hollywood. Instead, co-writer/director Gary Ross approached the material with utmost care. Care, not reverence, because The Hunger Games needed to be adapted. The first person narrative and heavy exposition of the book couldn’t be translated directly onto film. It just wouldn’t work. There needed to be additions, subtractions, Seneca Crane needed to be a real character instead of a barely-there symbol. So that’s what Ross did. And it took guts. And brains. And heart. And basically all the parts. And it turned out brilliantly. With Jennifer Lawrence in the absolute perfect role for her presence and a supporting cast as thrilling as the Harrelson-Banks-Tucci-Bentley-Sutherland-Hemsworth situation, there’s almost nothing wrong with the film version of the trilogy’s fantastic first book (well, Peeta could use a little work, but you can’t have everything). There were some great and diverse films nominated in this strange trifecta category but we (and the popular vote- My Cinema doesn’t get nearly as many votes as My TV or My Theatre but you guys did turn out to support The Hunger Games) say The Hunger Games reigns supreme.

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