2008 Lists

The 2008 RopeofSilicon Movie Awards

From Best Actor to Best Trailer... This list has it all...

Okay, so here we are. This article will basically amount to my capstone piece for the end of 2008 as I will now hand out what amounts to the first ever RopeofSilicon Awards. My hope for future RopeofSilicon Awards is that I can figure out some kind of nominating and voting system so you, the users, can award each of these categories by nominating films throughout the year, running mini For Your Consideration campaigns in the comment section and so forth. Unfortunately, such an endeavor is outside of my capacity at the moment so you will have to deal with my opinion on each category for now, but as always I want to hear your opinion on who you would award in the comments below. After all, my opinion is just the start of things in order to get you thinking and talking, it certainly isn't the end-all/be-all of opinions.

With that said, over the next five pages you are going to start with the more serious awards such as Best Actor, Actress, Director, etc. and if you haven't seen my Top Ten list of films you can do so right here as there is not a Best Picture handed out in this section. You will then move on to more miscellaneous awards such as Most Disappointing Film, Overrated Film, Villain, Surprising Film, etc. Then comes a list of favorite quotes, followed by a list of Best Posters and finally my favorite trailer from 2008.

Suffice to say, I packed this article with about as much stuff as I could possibly think of. I hope you enjoy and have a lot to say about each category.

Best Actor

Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler

RUNNERS UP: (in alphabetical order by movie)

  • Brad Pitt, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  • Sean Penn, Milk
  • Leonardo DiCaprio, Revolutionary Road
  • Richard Jenkins, The Visitor
Each of these actors did a fantastic job this year and these five really do serve as the cream of the crop. It's always a shame you can't give the award to more than one person since I think all five truly are deserving, but when it comes down to it I think Rourke deserves the top spot, primarily due to the fact it was a role tailor made for his talents. Strangely enough, I think many could use that fact to say it is actually to Rourke's disadvantage in terms of accolades that the role fits him as a person as much as it does, trying to say it means there isn't as much "acting" involved. However, in my mind a performance is a performance, and Rourke knocks this one out of the park.

Best Actress

Rebecca Hall, Vicky Cristina Barcelona

RUNNERS UP: (in alphabetical order by movie)

  • Cate Blanchett, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  • Meryl Streep, Doubt
  • Sally Hawkins, Happy-Go-Lucky
  • Kristin Scott Thomas, I've Loved You So Long
I almost didn't give this to Rebecca Hall since I am still not convinced her role as Vicky in Woody Allen's Vicky Cristina Barcelona is an actual lead role, but I am certain it isn't supporting so what else could it be? Watching the movie a second time I couldn't believe how much Hall brought to the film. It made me regret not praising her more in my theatrical review. That said, I think the four runners-up are not too far behind her, with Thomas and Hawkins both shining brightly. Streep and Blanchett have now become mainstays as the two seem to do no wrong... that is when Streep isn't singing.

Best Supporting Actor

Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight

RUNNERS UP: (in alphabetical order by movie)

  • Ralph Fiennes, In Bruges
  • Josh Brolin, Milk
  • Michael Shannon, Revolutionary Road
  • Robert Downey Jr., Tropic Thunder
It's almost impossible to separate these five performances, each of them bringing something special to their respective films. I guess my sympathy gives it to Ledger as well as my sadistic desire to see mean-spirited carnage on screen. However, outside of Downey's comedic role in Tropic Thunder, Shannon, Brolin and Fiennes all brought their own form of carnage to the big screen this year.

Fiennes brings a mix of comedy and villainy to In Bruges. Brolin brings sympathy and violence to Milk and Shannon bringing downright brutal honesty to Revolutionary Road.

Best Supporting Actress

Kate Winslet, The Reader

RUNNERS UP: (in alphabetical order by movie)

  • Amy Adams, Doubt
  • Viola Davis, Doubt
  • Elsa Zylberstein, I've Love You So Long
  • Hiam Abbas, The Visitor
As much as my Oscar updates have allowed me to praise the myriad of Oscar front-runners it hasn't afforded me the opportunity to talk about some of the names not getting Oscar attention despite the fact they were the best female supporting performances of the year.

Kate Winslet's performance in The Reader is light years ahead of what she did in Revolutionary Road. I had the chance to watch Revolutionary Road again this weekend and believe Winslet's performance, while good, would have been better suited for the stage, as would that entire film. Amy Adams is a necessity in Doubt as I can't imagine many people bringing enough positivity to the role to battle Streep as she did. Viola Davis I have already spoke of plenty. Elsa Zylberstein was mentioned in my top ten and deserves an Oscar nomination even though she will be overlooked with all the attention going to Kristin Scott Thomas. Finally, Hiam Abbas from The Visitor is flat-out fantastic in that film, making for such a great movie with her and Richard Jenkins bringing so much emotion to such a great little film.

Best Director

Philippe Claudel, I've Loved You So Long

RUNNERS UP: (in alphabetical order by movie)

  • Lance Hammer, Ballast
  • David Fincher, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  • Jonathan Demme, Rachel Getting Married
  • Danny Boyle and Loveleen Tandan, Slumdog Millionaire
This was the hardest category for me to put together, and not because there were so many choices. I thought this was a rather down year for director's in the major Oscar contending films. I didn't notice any real stand-out efforts outside of the five/six I have listed above.

Philippe Claudel gets my nod due to the way he pieced I've Loved You So Long together managing to tell an emotionally engaging story while keeping the slightest bit of mystery throughout. Considering it's his directorial debut you can tell I am immensely impressed as he never lingers long on one idea and moves from one story idea to the next, each time opening up just a bit more of Juliette's story to the audience. Lance Hammer's direction in what is also his feature film debut, Ballast, is something every film school student should study, David Fincher managed to turn a small and simple story into an epic and Danny Boyle and Loveleen Tandan teamed up to utilize each others talent to the fullest and for more on those two I recommend you read this article to get a better idea of how much Tandan contributed.

Finally, Jonathan Demme, a director that made a film I didn't particularly enjoy, but one I can respect, primarily because the reason I don't like it is due to the way he made it. Demme made Rachel Getting Married as an intimate look inside the dysfunctional lives of one family as they prep for Rachel's (Rosemarie DeWitt) wedding. I didn't necessarily enjoy the reality of the piece or the intimate nature of it, however, I can't deny Demme's success in achieving his goal. Just because I didn't like it doesn't mean it isn't well done.

Best Screenplay (Original or Adapted)

Woody Allen for Vicky Cristina Barcelona

RUNNERS UP: (in alphabetical order by movie)

  • François Bégaudeau, Robin Campillo and Laurent Cantet for The Class
  • Eric Roth for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  • Jonathan and Christopher Nolan for The Dark Knight
  • Martin McDonagh for In Bruges
  • Andrew Stanton and Jim Reardon for WALL•E
  • Robert Siegel for The Wrestler
Obvioulsy this category is packed with runners-up, but that's just the way it goes. Hell, if I handed out ties Martin McDonagh's screenplay for In Bruges would be at the top spot as well. As it stands Woody gets my nod with several falling in line behind him.

Most interesting to me is the one key characteristic I look for in a screenplay is fantastic dialogue; that is one of the reasons VCB is number one and the main reason films such as In Bruges and The Class are listed. Then you have Benjamin Button and WALL•E, two films limited in dialogue, but when their characters speak it is worth listening to. The Wrestler brings the emotion and The Dark Knight brings the mind of a criminal.

Best Music (Original Score)

James Newton Howard and Hans Zimmer, The Dark Knight

RUNNERS UP: (in alphabetical order by movie)

  • Alexandre Desplat, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  • Nico Muhly, The Reader
  • Rachel Portman, The Duchess
  • Thomas Newman, WALL•E
In my opinion this was a down year for film scores. Last year I had enough to make top ten list, this year it would have been hard to come up with more than six as James Newton Howard's Defiance score was the odd man out. As it stands the score by Howard and Hans Zimmer for The Dark Knight is easily the most powerful and ravishing score of the year. Alexandre Desplat's score for Benjamin Button is beautiful as is Muhly's for The Reader. Portman's score for The Duchess has a great theme that runs through it and Thomas Newman's score for WALL•E is one of the first scores I have ever heard that works so well in the film, but I can't tolerate it for a second outside of it. Go figure.

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  • http://moviearena.forum-aktiv.com/portal.htm Steolicious

    If I would choose the winners in this constalation:

    Best Actress
    Rebecca Hall (When she said to Javier "Maybe you did something to deserve it" I hardly laugh out, she´s amazing!

    Best Supporting Actor
    Ralph Fiennes (In Bruges he is the ultimate villan, it´s one of his best performace ever)

    Best Supporting Actress
    Kate Winslet (I´m in love with her since "Eternal Sunshine..." and "the Reader" the book tells such a great story, I only saw a few scenes but I´m assured that she deserves it because she had the best supporting role of the year.)

    Best Screenplay (Original or Adapted)
    Woody Allen vs. Martin McDonagh (thats a tough duell but the roots bring me back to the king of screenplay Allen.)

  • frozen_numb14

    Hmmm...Nice one..I agree with whomever came up with the winners and runner-ups

  • adu

    Awesome Brad. I really enjoyed reading that. Your choices were ineresting and I do agree with most of them, especially Slumdog being the most overrated. However I do feel that the most underrated movie of 2008 was In Bruges. It deserved more buzz than it ended up with.

  • ButchTheBoxer

    Glad to see Mickey Rourke with the Best Actor win. Let's hope the Academy agrees with you. And you are right about Slumdog being overrated. Still an amazing film, but not as amazing as many say it is. I feel the same way about WALL*E. Great flick, but all these critic groups giving it Best Picture of the year? NO WAY!

  • Jerzey Jon

    Did Mickey Rourke really endure that pain that when with his character? Did he really get shot with a staple gun?

  • Garrett

    @Jerzey Jon: He's probably been through a lot worse.

  • http://www.moviescomingoutsoon.com William

    Mickey and Sean did a good job but for me,Brad Pitt, in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is the best actor.

  • Scott

    I think I would give the award to either Sean Penn or Clint Eastwood, but that's just for the frontrunner movies...I haven't looked through all the movies I've seen this year to do this whole thing yet. It's very possible I'd give it to Colin Farrell for In Bruges.

  • mikey cylwer

    I am really confused? Christopher Nolan should of at least be a runner-up for best director. You said it is a down year for the director category, but Christopher Nolan was one of the most talked about directors of the year. And personally, I think Nolan will be nominated for the best director category, and i think it is quite possible for him to win. The academy loves him and his work.

  • Jose

    I disagree . On most overated and underated . Slumdog isn't overated, its the best picture this year ... period . And the new hulk movie sucked . Couldn't stand watching that movie, but had to see it . Even if I was watching it on bluray .

  • viral

    I'd say best actor to Sean Penn for milk and Actress Merryl Streep for Doubt

    Josh brolin shouldnt even be a consideration for milk. him and demagio were the only two abominations in the near perfect movie...

    Nor should Danny boyle be considered. honestly Slumdog Millionaire just reminded me why i hate indian movies so much (i am from india - yes) its a white man's idea of poverty in india its pure trash

  • Saif Khan

    Brad, I am so glad that you recognised "The Visitor" as one of the best of the year. It was such a superb film.

  • Mel

    A lot of folks dislike Woody Allen, usually for one of two reasons. His on-screen personality and the negative press received during his breakup with longtime companion and fine actress Mia Farrow both obliterate his positive attributes in the minds of some. I have never considered him an actor of talent but have always considered him an excellent director and, most important, a marvelous screenwriter. I'll be really pleased if he gets a nomination in this category. It would be his 15th.