OSCAR TALK: Ep. 44 — The top 10 films of 2010 (x2)

Posted by · 12:30 pm · December 10th, 2010

Oscar TalkWelcome to Oscar Talk.

In case you’re new to the site and/or the podcast, Oscar Talk is a weekly kudocast, your one-stop awards chat shop between yours truly and Anne Thompson of Thompson on Hollywood. The podcast is weekly, every Friday throughout the season, charting the ups and downs of contenders along the way. Plenty of things change en route to Oscar’s stage and we’re here to address it all as it unfolds.

It’s the middle of the season, critics’ awards are set to unleash next week, the guild announcements are right around the corner, the holidays are breathing down our necks and it couldn’t be a busier time of year. There’s plenty to discuss, but Anne and I are nevertheless straying from the usual format this week…

Oops. No bullet points. (What, do you think I’m f@#$ing stupid, Hans?) Forgive the reference, but ’tis the season. We’re a number of weeks away from the end of the year but Anne and I have spent the last few settling on our personal picks for the 10 best films of the year, all in preparation for today’s podcast. So no talking points, no reader questions, no chit-chat on the circuit’s goings on, what voters might think of this or that. It’s full, unbridled, personal opinion on the year’s best, a solid 50 minute discussion.

We had a blast with it and hope you enjoy listening. A reminder: I’ll be posting my usual year-in-review column Monday, slightly truncated given today’s Oscar Talk. Have a listen to the new podcast below, bookended by my favorite score of the year, Daft Punk’s work on “TRON Legacy.” If the file cuts off for you at any time, try the back-up download link at the bottom of this post. And as always, remember to subscribe to Oscar Talk via iTunes here.

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97 responses so far

  • 1 12-10-2010 at 5:34 pm

    Kevin K. said...

    I actually have been reflecting on the story more each time I see it, like I said before, there’s a really powerful tale of love and grief going on underneath this grand scale action film. But I do notice cool things about the tech aspects each time as well. The costume design really stood out to me on blu-ray, and I hope the AMPAS takes notice of the intricacies of the costume design like they did with TDK.

  • 2 12-10-2010 at 5:37 pm

    ann said...

    Well, majority of my favourites weren’t on either list, but whatever I guess, everyone has different taste. Surprised that Inception seems to be losing it appeal the more times you watch it, as for me it seems to be getting better with every viewing. As kevin K said you do start to notice different things with each viewing. The love story between Cobb and Mal is actually emotional and you began to notice how disturbing the last scene is.

  • 3 12-10-2010 at 5:47 pm

    Kevin K. said...

    Film’s I would agree with on your lists

    Shutter Island (still don’t get the hate for this movie)
    The Social Network
    Black Swan
    A Prophet
    Winter’s Bone (I’m from the South as well, and I didn’t think it felt fake to me)
    Let Me In
    Toy Story 3 (even if it doesn’t ultimately make my top ten)

    Kris, have you seen Meek’s Cutoff yet?

  • 4 12-10-2010 at 6:10 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Not yet. 2011 film, though.

  • 5 12-10-2010 at 6:34 pm

    Kevin K. said...

    I saw it at Austin Film Fest and loved it. Can’t wait to hear your thoughts on it. If stylistic flourishes in a Western setting is catnip for you, I think you’ll dig this film. I was also not a fan of Wendy & Lucy yet I really loved Meek’s Cutoff.

  • 6 12-10-2010 at 6:37 pm

    Matt King said...

    I think what I find most intriguing about Inception is the allegory for filmmaking and art in general inherent to the plot. The idea that you can construct a puzzle and it is a fascinating puzzle in its own right, but that your personality bleeds through and disrupts that puzzle’s meaning and clarity, all the while making it slightly more meaningful – that idea is pretty meaningful and thoughtful for me.

    I’ve seen it twice now, and I think it’s gotten better for me. There’s more and more power for me in the film’s allegorical and theoretical meaning. I agree that thinking it is commenting on dreams is slightly missing the point, but if you don’t like it, you don’t like it. Obviously, that’s your opinion, and it is to be respected. I just disagree, and it could be that I find that area of subjectivity and how that is reflected in art – I don’t know, I find that fascinating, and I think the film ably navigates that thematic and theoretical terrain. Yes it has plot holes, but I don’t think that’s necessarily a huge problem. At least not for me. If that makes sense.

  • 7 12-10-2010 at 6:48 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    “I think what I find most intriguing about Inception is the allegory for filmmaking and art in general inherent to the plot.”

    Nolan himself debunked this theory rather swiftly. I think it was Devin Faraci seeing something that’s not there (as I believe much of this started with his piece), but it’s a fun theory regardless.

  • 8 12-10-2010 at 7:16 pm

    Rashad said...

    Let Me In was better than LTROI in every way to me

  • 9 12-10-2010 at 7:17 pm

    Speaking English said...

    I’m a little bit surprised you’d write it off so easily, Kris. It honestly doesn’t matter what a director says about their films, it’s up to us as viewers to interpret films (as the vital art form they are) any way we wish. I mean, what would you say of the Coen brothers? They’ve constantly said about their films that they mean nothing. Obviously not true.

  • 10 12-10-2010 at 8:02 pm

    André said...

    agreed with your thoughts with “The Kids…”, even though I liked it quite a bit… but yeah, Ruffalo’s character kinda got the short hand (one word?) in the end…

    but it’s still an entertaining, enjoyable, well-done film and it’s in my top 10 so far (still a lot to see).

  • 11 12-10-2010 at 8:09 pm

    André said...

    and, despite the great acting and cinematography, I still felt it was quite tough to get through “Winter’s Bone”…

    just didn’t pull me in enough… but, like Lars Von Trier and Almodóvar, it’s the type of film that I KNOW qualifies as good filmmaking (I can’t think of anyone actually saying it’s a BAD film) that’s just not my cup of tea. I still recognize it as a fine film, and greatly admire its successful transition throughout the year.

    right now, I’d safely say my favorite film of 2010 is “The Social Network”. but “Black Swan” and “Another Year” are just the kind of film I fall head over heels for.

  • 12 12-10-2010 at 8:19 pm

    Kevin K. said...

    In watching the special features on the blu-ray recently, Nolan mentions the filmmaking parallels and how while he hadn’t thought about it initially but explained (as he did in the interview with his brother) that that was just the kind of creative process he was drawn to. He did, however, acknowledge that there are certainly parallels, even if not initially intentional.

  • 13 12-10-2010 at 8:51 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    I said clearly it was a fun theory, English. Not writing it off, but I definitely don’t think that’s what the film was meant to be “about.”

  • 14 12-10-2010 at 9:41 pm

    Matt King said...

    See, I think that lack of intentionality about it is what intrigues me. For me, Inception shows a creator, Cobb, using many different people, a small community if you will, to create something. He has the goal to insert an idea into Fischer’s mind. And he tries to do this directly with the person, but his own unconscious keeps leaking in, and forming the narrative of the dream space. The fact that Nolan himself wasn’t entirely intentional (though he definitely recognized it, as mentioned by Kevin K.) about the film’s metaphor, for me, only serves to solidify my fascination with it. The idea that auteurism may be found in those unintentional, unconscious qualities, those unconscious accidents that form the narrative – that’s interesting to me. The way David Fincher’s The Social Network was written by someone else and told someone else’s stories, and yet you can definitely tell it’s David Fincher’s film. And yes to Speaking English, intentionality ultimately doesn’t really matter. At least, that’s what I’ve always thought. It’s dangerous trying to decipher intentionality. What a film is “about” isn’t necessarily what the filmmaker intends – Nolan’s film isn’t his anymore – what matters is what is interpreted by the viewer. The subjective nature of opinion and argument.

    Anyways, I didn’t say it before, but I loved the top ten lists of both. So glad to see some love for Exit Through the Gift Shop, and it was fun to hear you guys just talk about movies you loved. Glad you mentioned Restrepo, which I finally caught up with a few days ago. Great movie.

  • 15 12-10-2010 at 9:43 pm

    Mike said...

    good call on Ruffalo’s character in The Kids Are Alright Kris, that bothered me a little too.

  • 16 12-10-2010 at 9:43 pm

    Matt King said...

    By “Nolan’s film isn’t his anymore,” I mean that he doesn’t have autonomy over what it’s interpreted to be about. Nolan’s film is his as he sees it, but it isn’t only his.

  • 17 12-10-2010 at 9:48 pm

    Kevin K. said...

    I totally agree with what Matt just said here. BTW guys, no need to keep adding my last initial when referring to me, just call me Kevin :)

  • 18 12-10-2010 at 10:16 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Fully get what you’re saying, Matt.

  • 19 12-10-2010 at 11:30 pm

    Kevin K. said...

    I will say that I’m dying to see Another Year, yet it won’t open in time for me to include it on my Best of 2010 column. Unless someone awesome sends me a screener. #fml

  • 20 12-11-2010 at 2:47 am

    Dominik said...

    I think I´ll wait til Monday to take a look on your Top 10, Kris, but the Tag-list shows me that it must be pretty impressive.
    A Prophet is my number 1 film in 2009.
    Glad to see some “Fish Tank” and “Carlos”-love, too.

  • 21 12-11-2010 at 3:01 am

    Amy said...

    Please can someone tell me the name of the song from the end of the podcast?

    please, please, please

  • 22 12-11-2010 at 4:38 am

    Graysmith said...

    I’m pretty sure the music in the beginning and end are from Daft Punk’s Tron Legacy soundtrack.

  • 23 12-11-2010 at 5:34 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    Amy: Read closer! Kris says in the post that it’s Daft Punk’s Tron Legacy score.

  • 24 12-11-2010 at 5:35 am

    JJ1 said...

    I agree with Andre. I’ve been pretty harsh on ‘Winter’s Bone’. It’s not my cup of tea. And I found it terminally boring.

    BUT, as he says … I recognize that it’s a quality film with stellar acting, mood, and cinematography.

    I just don’t get the overwhelming love/awards notices. I just didn’t find it that exceptional on any level.

  • 25 12-11-2010 at 7:21 am

    Chris said...

    Great episode of Oscar Talk. I always look forward to your top 10 list and combining its announcement with that of Anne’s was a cool idea.

    One question: I think I you gave “A Prophet” three and a half stars when you first saw it. So it must have considerably grown on you, right?

  • 26 12-11-2010 at 8:05 am

    Amy said...

    I know its from Tron legacy but the songs have names don’t they? that’s what I’m after.

    Never mind

  • 27 12-11-2010 at 8:27 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    Ah, sorry. If I’m not mistaken, the first track is “End of Line” and the second is “Tron Legacy (End Titles).”

  • 28 12-11-2010 at 9:18 am

    Duncan Houst said...

    This brings me back to the “At the Movies” top 10 shows. I love when two intellectual film journalists get together and discuss their favorite films of the year, and how their lists contrast.

  • 29 12-11-2010 at 9:34 am

    Amy said...

    Thank you very much Guy (off to iTunes)

  • 30 12-11-2010 at 10:11 am

    Tyler said...

    Kris, great to see Exit Through the Gift Shop as your #1 film, it’s also mine.

    You hit on all the points that make it a great film. Farce or not, the film doesn’t lose it’s relevancy, very much like Catfish.

    Did you get a chance to see Somewhere? Assuming you have, what did you think?

  • 31 12-11-2010 at 12:19 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Sorry Amy, I totally thought I responded to that. Maybe I accidentally posted it in another thread. But yes, End of Line and End Titles are the tracks.

    Tyler: Not a fan of Somewhere. I appreciate it, though.

  • 32 12-11-2010 at 12:20 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Chris: It totally grew on me.

  • 33 12-11-2010 at 12:36 pm

    Keil Shults said...

    Tapley convinced me I need to watch Shutter Island again. I admired it the first time around, and I recall finding some of it emotional, but ultimately left the theater feeling it was a grand case of style over substance. Nevertheless, I’ve been anxious to give it another go, and thanks to my brother-in-law’s Blu-ray, I should be watching it again in the next few days.

    Side note: I read the novel about a year and a half before the film was released.

  • 34 12-11-2010 at 12:40 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Report back. Curious to see what multiple viewings do for people.

  • 35 12-11-2010 at 12:51 pm

    DylanS said...

    Kris, I, like you, am a huge fan of “Exit through the Gift Shop” regardless of if it’s a real documentary or not. But i’m just curious, what is your personal thought on the matter?

  • 36 12-11-2010 at 12:56 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    I’m taking it at face value.

  • 37 12-11-2010 at 4:57 pm

    Aaron said...

    Just caught this. I thought I was the only person who still had EXIT atop their list of favorites for this year.

    I almost never agree with Kris, haha, but glad to see someone else holds it in the same esteem that I do.

  • 38 12-11-2010 at 8:39 pm

    Glenn said...

    Great podcast. Nice lists with enough personality to make up for the more obvious choices (which we all have). Particular citations of “Fish Tank” and “Gift Shop” at #1 are especially endearing.

    Meanwhile, I was surprised to hear Anne didn’t choose “Never Let Me Go”. I thought she loved that one.

  • 39 12-12-2010 at 7:36 am

    Silencio said...

    Why does it seem that most of the folks who feel Ruffalo’s character was mistreated are male? Is that a common denominator, the natural empathy?

  • 40 12-12-2010 at 11:00 am

    André said...

    I would’ve felt the same if it the genders were switched, Silencio…

    he’s sort of shown as the unwitting “villain” of the film and ends up paying the price for actions that weren’t entirely his fault…

    was it a crappy thing to do what he did? yep.
    but there was another party involved, and she doesn’t get the same portrayal as Ruffalo’s character did.

  • 41 12-12-2010 at 1:08 pm

    Todd said...

    Nice to hear the love for FISH TANK, A PROPHET and ENTER THE VOID – all powerful and bold films, but I’m baffled by no mention of 127 HOURS!

  • 42 12-12-2010 at 3:05 pm

    matsunaga said...

    Surely, Inception saved us from the boredom of Summer… I liked it… I really did… I’ll probably put it on my 10 or 9th best film of this year… Every aspect of the film was very well made… But I’m kinda off with its story.. Not that I didn’t get it it because I totally did, but because of the reason that it was ripped from a Japanese movie “Paprika” which is all about dreams and this device to enter ones dream… The only thing I loved that Nolan did on “Inception” was his twist of the dream layers.. But it was pretty has the same storyline as Paprika by Satoshi Kon…