In order to help you understand why each category is how it is, I have provided a brief explanation for each category. The number of "nominees" recognized for each category is based solely on which performances I deemed worthy of recognition. I'm sorry that this post is a bit lengthy, but I wanted to give credit where credit was due. Also, there is no way I could possibly watch every movie that was made in 2011, so there may be some left off the list that shouldn't be. If there is a movie that you think I should watch or a performance that you think I should appreciate more, please comment. I am only one man, and I already spend too much of my time watching movies. Now, let's get to it....... Here are The Above Average Awards for 2011:
Best Comedic Actress
Before you read the list of best comedic actresses in 2011, I want to apologize for the fact that it lacks in the number of qualifiers. There were probably many more great female comedic performances that I missed out on in 2011. I think the main reason that I had trouble finding qualifiers is that I don't watch chick flicks (except on romantic occasions). This obviously limits my choice when it comes to this category, but I just didn't want to recognize people that weren't deserving...
# 3-Kristin Wigg (Bridesmaids)
While I wasn't a huge fan of the movie as a whole, I thought there were a few terrific performances by some terrific actresses. Wigg, who was greatly involved in the making of the film, is always funny, and she didn't disappoint as the lead in Bridesmaids.
#2-Mila Kunis (Friends with Benefits)
Friends with Benefits is the first time I have actually been impressed with Mila Kunis... EVER!!! And that is certainly saying something, considering I am probably the biggest That 70's Show fan that you will ever meet. Kunis was great, and I really felt like she was putting everything into the film, rather than just showing up and reading the funny lines that were written for her.
#1-Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids)
Fresh off an Emmy for best actress, McCarthy is so freakin funny in Bridesmaids. I don't quite know how she can play such a wide range of characters. It really shows just how talented she is. She actually got a real Oscar nomination for her role, which is saying something, considering the role is certainly comedic. Melissa McCarthy is easily the best comedic actress in 2011...
As if he didn't look funny enough! Farrell is amazingly funny in his role as one of the three horribly funny bosses in a fantastic movie. I had no idea that Farrell had a good acting bone in his body, but it seems that we have found it. I really hope he will do more comedic work in the future.
I have tried my best to watch a complete episode of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, but I just can't, because it's so not funny. Charlie Day is known for his role in this awful show, but I promise you that he will now be remembered (in my mind at least) as the guy that made me laugh hysterically during Horrible Bosses. There is no doubt in my mind that he is the best comedic actor of 2011!
Best Actress in a Drama
This was a truly great year for women in film. If you look at the Oscar nominations, there are some very unique and new actresses that have gotten a ton of acclaim for their performances, which is great to see. I'm sure I have missed some performances, because I don't do "girly" films, but I hope my list is as close to accurate as can be.
#6-Hayley Atwell (Captain America)
I know that no actress in a Marvel movie is going to get a great amount of accolades, but I believe that Atwell deserves some recognition for her role in THE best Avenger film to date. It is certainly depressing to know that she will not likely appear in any future Captain America films. She really brought life to Chris Evans' character and made me care about that date that he missed (even though that was an awful last line).
#5-Anjelica Huston (50/50)
While her part certainly wasn't the most important in 50/50, she absolutely drew me in with her perfect mix of emotion and overdramatism. I believe that her presence really created an even closer connection between the audience and Joseph Gordon-Levitt's character. The scene where she says goodbye to her son, before his surgery, is the closest I came to crying in a 2011 film, so she certainly deserves credit.
#4-Shailene Woodley (The Descendants)
While George Clooney is getting a lot off Oscar hype for his performance in The Descendants, Shailene Woodley truly deserves it. I certainly don't watch her ABC Family show, so I have never seen her in anything before. I must say that I was very impressed with her rebellious performance, and I truly believe she was an Oscar snub this year.
#3-Rooney Mara (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo)
As if just looking at her isn't enough, there is actually a fantastic performance under all of those piercings and funky hairdos. It is obvious that she was given a great role to step in to, but it certainly couldn't have been easy to shoot some of those scenes. Mara is likable and frightening. She is serious yet funny. There is no doubt in my mind that she has a bright future in Hollywood.
#2-Evan Rachel Wood (The Ides of March)
As the most important character in the entire film, Wood is simply fantastic at making you really feel for her, as she struggles through some traumatic moments throughout the film. I originally thought she was going to get on my nerves, but she instead provided one of the best performances of the year thanks to the directing of George Clooney and the help of Ryan Gosling.
#1-Every Single Woman on the set of The Help
All I can say is WOW!!! This movie absolutely blew me away, and the acting blew me away even more so. A lot of attention is being given to Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer for their performances and rightfully so. However, I think the other women deserve just as much credit. Actresses like Bryce Dallas Howard, Jessica Chastain, Allison Janney, Emma Stone, and the fantastic Sissy Spacek deserve just as much credit for making this film great. So, I've decided to give my Best Actress in a Drama honor to ALL of them! Here's to hoping there are as many great performances from these actresses next year!
Best Actor in a Drama
I apologize for making this list so long, but I just couldn't quite leave any of these great performances off of the list. With a lot of young actors making the list, it gives hope for a bright movie future (even with the recession and all). If you missed any of these great performances, be sure to check them out when they hit the DVD shelves...
#7-Thomas Horn (Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close)
I have heard several critics talk about how annoying Horn was in this, his first ever, role, but I just have to disagree. Truth be told, Horn probably wouldn't have gotten much attention if this hadn't have been his first ever film. Nevertheless, he was fantastic! Sure he was goofy and awkward at times, but his character was supposed to be! Kudos to Horn for having the guts to give acting a try. He must be ok for his film to merit a Best Picture nomination.
#6-Jeremy Irons (Margin Call)
A marvelous job by a marvelous actor in a movie that most people will never have the pleasure of viewing. Irons plays the CEO of a company that is the first to discover the events of The Great Recession, and the drama that ensues is fantastic. His character is strong-witted, and I hope to be half the businessman that he portrayed. Go watch this movie! You will be impressed.
#5-Brad Pitt (Moneyball)
The always fantastic Pitt did a phenomenal job as the risk-taking Billy Beane of the Oakland A's. Pitt not only did a good job portraying the baseball side of Beane, but he did an even better job of making you care about his personal life, which greatly strengthened this film. Regardless of his recent comments, I certainly hope Brad Pitt sticks to acting for a little bit longer.
#4-The Kids of Super 8 (Super 8)
Although Super 8 is not one of the critics' favorites, it is one of mine, and these amazing young actors and one amazing young actress did a fantastic job of making this movie one of the best of 2011. You usually can't go wrong when you put a kid into a movie, but J.J. Abrams did all kinds of right when picking these kids. I hope they all have bright futures in Hollywood, so we can look back on this great film and smile at what great talent it introduced us to.
#3-Jonah Hill (Moneyball)
While Brad Pitt was fantastic, Jonah Hill was outstanding. I don't know if one of those words is better than the other, but, to me at least, it means that Hill gets two spots hire on this year's best list. Hill, who is known for his funnyman work, really showed that he has the ability to shine as a dramatic actor. I really hope that he tries to go for more dramatic roles in the future, because he was darn good (outstanding).
#2-Ryan Gosling (The Ides of March)
Gosling was fantastic alongside Evan Rachel Wood, George Clooney, and many other great actors. This was probably the best cast movie of the entire year. The story just wasn't quite good enough. Though many girls like Gosling for his looks, I hope they realize that he is also one heck of an actor.
#1-Joseph Gordon-Levitt (50/50)
It was extremely difficult for me to not make this the #1 movie of 2011, but I have to put it at #2. I'm sure some may disagree, but, in my opinion, Super 8 stars the best cast of kids of all time. There is an extreme amount of child-like innocence that just makes you feel good while watching. My guess is that the Oscar voters spat upon the idea of nominating such an E.T.-like film for best picture, even though E.T. was nominated for best picture in its day. Just think if E.T. came out in 2012. How do you think The Academy would react? It's ridiculous how narrow minded the Oscar voters are, but it certainly isn't surprising. When you look past the explosives and the monster, there really is a much deeper story to be found in this film. Super 8 teaches us how to move on, especially in the case of a monster-alien-takeover. Before I end, I just want to say (once again) that J.J. Abrams is my hero (may LOST live on forever!!!)...