The 2009 TFO Awards: The 20 Best Movies of 2009

Here is the most important category! I cannot compress it to 5, nor 10, not even 15, so I have no other choice but to pick 20 richly deserving films in this list of the best movies of 2009.

This list is ranked, and here it is!

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20. The Messenger

It’s too painful to watch, but its simple but intense brutality comes from its honest attack to the subject.

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19. Cheri

It was a delightful two hour ride. It’s sweet, sometimes too sweet, but it’s fun. Add Michelle Pfieffer’s radiant performance and it’s bliss.

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18. The Man Who Stare at Goats

It could have been a Coen Bros film. But it isn’t. Still, its dark humor works so well and so reminiscent of the Coens. It means a lot.

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17. Hunger

In its whole length, I was closing my eyes for almost 30 minutes. It’s gross at times, but with Fassbender’s shocking performance, it’s so real. Truth hurts.

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16. The Road

Creeps into your soul with its piercing quietness. You never know why, but you don’t care anymore. The apocalyptic view is a cinematic nightmare.

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15. Julia

It’s a tiring, but definitely rewarding movie experience. Tilda Swinton is devastatingly fierce, bringing a totally unlikable creature into humanity.

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14. Broken Embraces

Its artistic achievement could be merited more, but the whole film is a big aesthetic mystery itself. The story bleeds as the beauty unfolds. Beautiful.

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13. In the Loop

Rapid fire dialogue is the foundation of this solid film.  It’s breathtaking to see the fabulous ensemble say those killer lines!

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12. Where the Wild Things Are

Childhood is here with proper maturity and sufficient intelligence fit for all. It’s a dreamy but realistic look at a child’s mind.

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11. A Serious Man

I despised it at first, thinking it was self-absorbed, but I now see it as a Coen masterpiece. It brings Jewish culture and their humor in a great mix.

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10. District 9

As inventive as it is an innovative sci-fi film, it is remarkable for its humane representation of aliens. Perfect integration technically and emotionally.

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9. An Education

The change Jenny undergoes is well-covered by the tender direction, sharp screenplay, and the fascinating Carey Mulligan in the lead.

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8. Fantastic Mr. Fox

ANIMATION ARE NOT JUST FOR KIDS # 1! Dysfunctional family had never been this fun and at the same time, real. Okay, great animation too!

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7. Nine

Okay, it’s flawed. But it just gets better every time I watch it. Let’s put it in this way. Flaws to greatness – 1 : 25. You get what I mean?

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6. Up

ANIMATION ARE NOT JUST FOR KIDS # 2! Most people may remember this as an exciting adventure. It is, but I see it as an insightful look at grief.

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5. (500) Days of Summer

The dynamic journey of Tom Hansen to this whole 1 1/2 year with this dream girl is an astounding achievement, showcasing big laughs and dark sorrows.

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4. Up in the Air

Bleak drama and subtle humor click together in this modern parable about finding yourself amidst all losses. Talk about painful and quiet drama.

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3. A Single Man

In 90 minutes, we see such an enormous amount of brilliance. The overflowing sensation of isolation is very well-handled by Firth.

2. The Hurt Locker

The whole movie is filled with an atmosphere of unbearable tension. From the first moment, it never lets go. It keeps you in the desert with the characters. Its realism is brutal, but great.

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1. Inglourious Basterds

By an inch, this movie wins. It sucks you into a life only Tarantino could create. When you watch this, you may think it is madness or it is artistry. I would say both. Never have I seen such madness in an epic film. This is epic Tarantino!

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There were some good films that didn’t make it. But just for a rundown, I would list here the other films that I liked:

  • Adam
  • Adventureland
  • Amelia
  • Angels and Demons
  • Avatar
  • The Blind Side (I already liked it a bit, but definitely not as a BP nominee)
  • Bright Star
  • Brothers
  • Coraline
  • Crazy Heart
  • Drag Me to Hell
  • Duplicity
  • The Hangover
  • The Informant!
  • It’s Complicated
  • Julie and Julia
  • The Last Station
  • Orphan
  • Paranormal Activity
  • Precious
  • The Princess and the Frog
  • The Proposal (gulity pleasure!)
  • Public Enemies
  • The Secret of Kells
  • Sherlock Holmes
  • Star Trek
  • State of Play
  • Two Lovers
  • The Ugly Truth (though bad ending, still laugh-out-loud!)
  • The Young Victoria
  • Zombieland

So, I should say that 2009 was a good year for films. But in comparison with this year, though I have only seen 32 films more or less, 2010 was better.

So, thank you for staying with me for the TFO Awards.

Next post: Films to Watch Out This 2011!

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The 2009 TFO Awards: Director / Screenplay / Animation Categories

Just scroll down to see my picks. Here are the picture categories (but the Top 20 Movies of 2009 will have its own post.

The categories here are:

Best Director
Best Original Screenplay
Best Adapted Screenplay
Best Animated Feature
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Best Director

Here are my nominees (click photo to enlarge):

Marc Webb – (500) Days of Summer

  • Wonderfully creates the tragicomic mood the film needs, in sync with the great screenplay and thrilling performances.

1st Place Kathryn Bigelow – The Hurt Locker

  • The direction seemed so tough that it’s almost impossible to think that a woman directed (come on, I’m not a sexist, but it’s the thinking)….

3rd Place Quentin Tarantino – Inglourious Basterds

  • In this massive hell of a movie, all he needs to do is to keep the satiric atmosphere enveloped in developing danger. For 2 and 1/2 hours…..

2nd Place Tom Ford – A Single Man

  • It’s a fabulous debut, and it’s unimaginable to say that it’s a debut. The designer is still evident here, but I love it! Storytelling and art’s here.

Jason Reitman – Up in the Air

  • The subtlety of this hard-hitting movie is, well, heartbraking to see. Equipped with dark humor and truthful drama, it’s heaven.

Runners-up: Neill Blomkamp – District 9 | Armando Iannucci – In the Loop | Lone Scherfig – An Education | Pete Docter – Up | Wes Anderson – Fantastic Mr. Fox

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Best Original Screenplay

Here are my nominees (click photo to enlarge):

1st Place (500) Days of Summer

  • Wonderfully shows the dynamic balancing of grief and joy in Tom Hansen’s character.

The Hurt Locker

  • In a repetitive structure, we are able to slowly peel off the skin off the three main characters.

2nd Place Inglourious Basterds

  • Maintaining the dark tone of this historical comedy all throughout, the exuberance of the exchange of dialogue is revealed.

A Serious Man

Hated it at first, but completely fell for it. It’s written to get in your nerves, and you will be on the edge of your seat.

3rd Place Up

  • It succeeds not just because of the very funny lines, but it wins me for its stark representation of melancholy over death.

Runners-up: The Messenger | The Hangover | It’s Complicated | Funny People | Bright Star

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Best Adapted Screenplay

Here are my nominees (click photo to enlarge):

An Education

  • Rich characters, inspired dialogue, justified events – where would we all owe this? And the focus on Jenny… splendid!

3rd Place Fantastic Mr. Fox

  • The whole film is colored with warm humor that comes from hearty writing. Dark humor + dysfunc family = 🙂

2nd Place In the Loop

  • When you have such a shoot-out of complex and rapid lines, the screenplay must be blamed for that!

Precious

  • The movie was flawed, but the deep and textured characterizations of the characters are heartbreaking.

1st Place Up in the Air

  • Given the sensitive and depressing subject matter, it’s surprising that it was able to create a sometimes quirky but emotionally rich movie.

Runners-up: Where the Wild Things Are | A Single Man | The Last Station | The Informant! | District 9

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Best Animated Feature

Here are my nominees (click photo to enlarge):

Coraline

  • Mystifying magic and soaring enchantment is brought to the screen!

2nd Place Fantastic Mr. Fox

  • When you have a heartwarming story mixed with quirky humor, you’ve got it all.

The Princess and the Frog

  • Traditionalism never gets old. Even though it is unusually modern compared to Disney tradition, it still brings the class in it.

3rd Place The Secret of Kells

  • Forget everything that it lacks (perhaps the screenplay?). Just see it and be amazed by the thrilling animation. This is animation, baby!

1st Place Up

  • Rarely that you have a cartoon that is so minimal in fantasy elements and veers to the humanity. It’s daring enough to do that.

Runners-up: none (I didn’t really like the other animations this year)

So, I’m really sorry for the slow pace of posting this last few days. I am so busy and school and this week is my last week in school so I really have a terrible time in posting. But I’m doing my best.

For you to have a knowledge on the line-up of posts, here it is:

  • The 2009 TFO Awards: The 20 Best Movies of 2009 RANKED
  • Films to Watch Out in 2011
  • Best Picture 2007 (as promised! Watch out for this!)

The 2009 TFO Awards: Acting Awards

Just scroll down to see my picks. I’d update this page per category. 🙂

The categories here are:

Best Actor in a Leading Role
Best Actress in a Leading Role
Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Best Ensemble Work
Best Romantic Couple
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Best Actress in a Leading Role

Here are my nominees (click photo to enlarge):

Melanie Laurent – Inglourious Basterds

  • Gives the humanity in this gigantic piece of a movie with a picturesque view of a woman’s return for vengeance.
  • Best Scene: The dinner with Landa

3rd Place Carey Mulligan – An Education

  • Proving that the casting was perfect, Mulligan was able to bring a confident and heartwarming soul in this movie that only a very few young actresses can do.
  • Best Scene: Confrontation with the Headmistress

Gabourey Sidibe – Precious

  • Provides a wounded woman’s genuinely affecting journey with complete emotional nakedness. She bares it all!
  • Best Scene: “Nobody loves me!” scene

2nd Place Meryl Streep – Julie and Julia

  • It’s a comedic performance, but she’s not trying to make us laugh. The joy that we have from her is from her naturally vibrant attack in this role. And the technical part is flawless!
  • Best Scene: Receiving her first copy of the book

1st Place Tilda Swinton – Julia

  • I can’t imagine any actress taking this role. Full of madness and yet, compassion, the role is tricky enough, but Swinton is great enough for me to believe in this doomed woman.
  • Best Scene: Her nervous spying at the station

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Runners-up:

Helen Mirren is the ultimate diva in THE LAST STATION | Penelope Cruz proves that she’s a natural in BROKEN EMBRACES | Hilarious as she is, Meryl Streep is also heartwarming in IT’S COMPLICATED | Her movie is joyous, but Michelle Pfeiffer completes CHERI with sensitivity | THE BLIND SIDE isn’t giving her big help, but Sandra Bullock made it watchable and dignified | Emily Blunt maybe subtle to a fault, but she definitely embodies royalty in THE YOUNG VICTORIA | THE LOVELY BONES is over-the-top, but Saoirsie Ronan‘s intense subtlety is completely fit for the character |

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Best Actor in a Leading Role

Here are my nominees (click photo to enlarge):

George Clooney – Up in the Air

  • It’s a perfect role for him. He gets to have the slick nature of the character but inside of it is the core of his character: vulnerability.
  • Best Scene: His quiet reaction after learning the truth

1st Place Colin Firth – A Single Man

  • Every minute of this delicious film will always be owed to this extraordinarily subtle yet intensely affecting performance. Do I need to explain this?
  • Best Scene: The phone call. Overflowing sorrow…!

2nd Place Joseph Gordon-Levitt – (500) Days of Summer

  • What we can see underneath this hilarious yet tragic story is the undeniable presence of sadness that’s no way two-dimensional.
  • Best Scene: Seeing Summer’s engagement ring

Viggo Mortensen – The Road

  • His eyes certainly does the most work. He’s cared for his life and for his son, but inside it is the fighting spirit of a man longing for life.
  • Best Scene: The shootout, desperation personified

3rd Place Jeremy Renner – The Hurt Locker

  • He never bursts into a scene of tears, but the overflowing sensation of hopelessness and adrenaline perfectly combined is amazing to watch.
  • Best Scene: Removing the bomb from the kid’s body

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Runners-up:

War is never seen in THE MESSENGER, but the mark in Ben Foster‘s performance is indelible | Michael Fassbender‘s performance in HUNGER is mostly physical, but the emotional side is breathtaking to see | DISTRICT 9 not only gives Sharlto Copley action, but a perfect character to play. And he does it very well | Max Records proves that kids can act and bring natural subtlety in the table with WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE | Maybe I think Jeff Bridges is overrated in CRAZY HEART, but the bruised Bad Blake is a very believable one | Michael Stuhlbarg brings A SERIOUS MAN to a higher level with his seriously comedic performance | You don’t need to be over-the-top for you to have an illness. As Hugh Dancy in ADAM |

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Best Actress in a Supporting Role

Here are my nominees (click photo to enlarge):

2nd Place Marion Cotillard – Nine

  • It’s such a thinly written stereotype but you never notice that simply because she adds life and believability in it.
  • Best Scene: The screen testing scene

Penelope Cruz – Nine

  • Again, it’s a stereotype. But Cruz, with her oozing sexuality and undeniable talent, creates a fascinating victim of circumstances.
  • Best Scene: Hotel lobby scene

1st Place Anna Kendrick – Up in the Air

  • She’s best in handling the smart and fast line deliveries which completely creates her character. But her quiet moments are also to be witnessed.
  • Best Scene: Hotel lobby scene (another breakdown!)

Mimi Kennedy – In the Loop

  • Establishes a formidable foundation of humor in the film. Her passive but undeniably authoritative presence is wonderful.
  • Best Scene: Meeting scene where her bleeding is nonstop

3rd Place Diane Kruger – Inglourious Basterds

  • Kruger’s a natural. Those words only need only one thing to completely work: line delivery. She’s got that.
  • Best Scene: Removing the bullet

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Runners-up:

Vera Farmiga may be underwhelming at first, but second watching of UP IN THE AIR reveals the mastery | Monique‘s explosive masterpiece in PRECIOUS may be inconsistent or lacking, but it’s not really her fault | CRAZY HEART isn’t really giving her much of a full character, but Maggie Gyllenhaal makes her Jean Craddock someone I care for | In her brief time in AN EDUCATION, Emma Thompson definitely makes a mark | Simple yet hard-hitting are the words for Samantha Morton in THE MESSENGER | Billie Frenchette in PUBLIC ENEMIES is an incomplete role, but Marion Cotillard is such an expert that she carries some of the best acted scenes of 2009 | Julianne Moore expertly crafts a tragic symbol of divorce, aging, and depression covered in fake joy in A SINGLE MAN|

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Best Actor in a Supporting Role

Here are my nominees (click photo to enlarge):

3rd Place Peter Capaldi – In the Loop

  • What’s so surprising is that he’s shouting almost throughout the film, but he never becomes annoying. Talk about expert acting.
  • Best Scene: Okay. Who could choose? Maybe his message: “Bye, bye, f***ity bye!”

2nd Place Woody Harrelson – The Messenger

  • He’s playing the guy who cannot express what he needs to because of the war. Tough but deeply wounded. That’s what he miraculously does.
  • Best Scene: Telling what he needs to do in his job to Ben Foster

Anthony Mackie – The Hurt Locker

  • Another tough guy. He never actually bares his vulnerability until his last scene, but it all builds up on it. His final scene was heartbraking.
  • Best Scene: As I have said, the last scene 🙂

Peter Sarsgaard – An Education

  • Arguably a co-lead, Sarsgaard boasts a tremendous amount of sensitivity and subtlety in his mysterious character.
  • Best Scene: Reaction to Jenny’s reaction in the car

1st Place Christoph Waltz – Inglourious Basterds

  • He’s a ticking time bomb. He’s exciting to see anytime he’s in, but when he explodes? Oh, he’s the most charming creep in the world. And how thrilling was it to see a very calculated performance!
  • Best Scene: Scene at the farm house, trying to manipulate the landowner to murder

Runners-up:

Alfred Molina‘s a bit noisy in AN EDUCATION, but it all leads up to tenderness | Given a very big cast beside him, Michael Fassbender proves that he can stand out in INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS with suave acting | THE LAST STATION somewhat limits what he can do, but Christopher Plummer‘s subtlety is wonderful | In THE LOVELY BONES, all of the over-the-top in that movie is annoying except for Stanley Tucci who was able to bring genuine terror to the house | With two more noticeable men ahead of him, Brian Geraghty adds a lot of power to THE HURT LOCKER’s emotional core | People sometimes imitate icons to irritate me. Not Christian McKay, who was slick in ME AND ORSON WELLES | His role in JULIE AND JULIA is pretty simple, but Stanley Tucci proves that he can do miracles in acting |

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Best Ensemble Work

Here are my nominees (click photo to enlarge):

3rd Place An Education

  • Carey Mulligan, Olivia Williams, Alfred Molina, Cara Seymour, Peter Sarsgaard, Dominic Cooper, Rosamund Pike, Emma Thompson, Sally Hawkins, Matthew Beard

The Hurt Locker

  • Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, Brian Geraghty, Guy Pearce, Ralph Fiennes, David Morse, Evangeline Lilly Christian Camargo

2nd Place In the Loop

  • Peter Capaldi, Gina McKee, Tom Hollander, Chris Addison, Zach Woods, Mimi Kennedy, Anna Chlumsky, James Gandolfini, David Rasche, Paul Higgins, ALex MacQueen, James Smith, Olivia Poulet, Joanna Scanlan, Samantha Harrington, Eve Matheson, Steve Coogan

1st Place Inglourious Basterds

  • Brad Pitt, Melanie Laurent, Christoph Waltz, Eli Roth, Michael Fassbender,Diane Kruger, Daniel Bruhl, Til Schweiger, Gedeon Burkhard, Jacky Ido, BJ Novak, Omar Doom, August Diehl, Denis Menochet, Sylvester Groth, Martin Wuttke, Mike Myers, Julie Dreyfus

Nine

  • Danie Day-Lewis, Marion Cotillard, Penelope Cruz, Judi Dench, Nicole Kidman, Kate Hudson, Fergie, Sophia Loren, Ricky Tognazzi, Giuseppe Spitaleri

Runners-up:

Precious | Star Trek | The Men Who Stare at Goats | Duplicity | Up in the Air | A Single Man | State of Play |

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Best Romantic Couple

Here are my nominees (click photo to enlarge):

Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel – (500) Days of Summer

Carey Mulligan and Peter Sarsgaard – An Education

Colin Firth and Matthew Goode – A Single Man

George Clooney and Vera Farmiga – Up in the Air

Emily Blunt and Rupert Friend – The Young Victoria

3rd Place: The Young Victoria

2nd Place: A Single Man

1st Place: (500) Days of Summer

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So, what’s left? The picture categories! I might present to you the remaining awards after the OSCARS, as I would be busy predicting the winners. And 2007 is still waiting!

The 2009 TFO Awards: Technical Awards (PART 2)

Just scroll down to see my picks. I admit I’m not a pure professional in terms of the two sound categories, but I have at least an ample amount of knowledge on the definition of the categories so. . . . . still.

The categories here are:

Best Film Editing
Best Sound Mixing
Best Sound Editing
Best Original Music Score
Best Original Song
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Best Film Editing

Here are my nominees (click photo to enlarge):

2nd Place (500) Days of Summer – Alan Edward Bell

  • Brings the best of the non-linear story by bringing energy to it by its pace. And it’s not just inspired by Annie Hall!

District 9 – Julian Clarke

  • It immerses audience into the feeling of being there with all of those documentary style parts.

1st Place The Hurt Locker – Chris Innis and Bob Murawski

  • Every scene where they defuse the bomb is nail-biting. It chooses to go with the epic feeling in editing without being showy. Delivers the whole nerve-wrecking experience with power.

3rd Place Inglourious Basterds – Sally Menke

  • Like any other great epic film, it was able to avoid the “boring 3-hour epic” cliché. But it also shades the film with modern style. So brilliant!

A Single Man – Joan Sobel

  • Was able to compress a lot of greatness in its short length. And what an editing! It thrilled me. And with the cinematography… What a pair!

Runners-up: Up in the Air | Up | In the Loop | Fantastic Mr. Fox | Nine

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Best Sound Mixing

Here are my nominees (click photo to enlarge):

3rd Place The Hurt Locker

  • Wonderfully mixes the loudness of the event to the tense silence that surfaces in the scenes.

1st Place Inglourious Basterds

  • Its wonderfully hip score mixed with the delicious dialogue is a feast. The music and the sound here is subtle but definitely outstanding.

The Road

  • The sound completely evokes sense of threatening pacification of the apocalypse. It gets loud, but it always grounds in quietness.

Star Trek

  • Maybe it’s a job normal for sci-fi films, but the machines mixed with the dialogue while the score blends in harmoniously . . . . .

2nd Place Up

  • If you have a majestically magical score and  masterfully written dialogue, all you need to have is flawless blending of the two. Here’s it.

Runners-up: Avatar | Up in the Air | A Single Man | Nine | Angels and Demons

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Best Sound Editing

Here are my nominees (click photo to enlarge):

3rd Place Avatar

  • When you create your own world, all of the sounds must be out of this world. And it was. . .

District 9

  • Forget the alien sound you normally know. Prawns have their own way. And it’s chilling to hear it.

2nd Place The Hurt Locker

  • You hear heavy breathing and some metals hitting each other, and yet, all of those small details actually gave a lot to the film’s impact.

Star Trek

  • It could have pulled some inspiration from previous Star Trek movies, or even say, previous sci-fi films. But it sounds fresh all the way.

1st Place Up

  • Just hear Dug’s multilingual collar. No need for further discussion.

Runners-up: Inglourious Basterds | Drag Me to Hell | Zombieland | Sherlock Holmes | Where the Wild Things Are

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Best Original Music Score

Here are my nominees (click photo to enlarge):

Broken Embraces – Alberto Iglesias

  • It’s more than a melodramatic music with shades of Spanish accents. It’s enveloped in mystery.

3rd Place Fantastic Mr. Fox – Alexandre Desplat

  • The banjos create a very vibrant feeling. And the feeling of hominess is delivered throughout. It’s more than quirky.

The Hurt Locker – Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders

  • Simply as harrowing as the movie it is in. Enhances the nightmarish aura of the film.

2nd Place A Single Man – Abel Korzeniowski

  • It can be seen either as strings abuse or strings power. I prefer to call it as the latter one, as the strings are definitely in the mind of the lead.

1st Place Up – Michael Giacchino

  • The adventure is there, right there! But it’s more than that! The subtlety of the crisis of the lead character is evidently mixed with the co-lead’s innocence.

Runners-up: Julie and Julia | Cheri | The Road | The Last Station | Public Enemies

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Best Original Song

Here are my nominees.

“All is Love” – Where the Wild Things Are

  • Celebrates how delightful it is to be a child – full of L-O-V-E!

1st Place “Cinema Italiano” – Nine

  • Go ahead, hate me. But I just can’t get enough of this song.

2nd Place “Take It All” – Nine

  • Wonderfully rendered by the emotionally bruised Luisa Contini.

“The Weary Kind” – Crazy Heart

  • Whoever version you would choose, you would still get a song from the heart of the wounded soul of Bad Blake.

3rd Place “You Got Me Wrapped Around Your Little Finger” – An Education

  • Perfectly describes the feeling of delight Jenny has in David’s arms.

Runners-up: “Smoke Without Fire” – An Education | “Help Yourself” – Up in the Air | “Petey’s Song” – Fantastic Mr. Fox | “Somebody Else” – Crazy Heart | “Down in New Orleans” – The Princess and the Frog

Special Mention: “Loin de Paname” – Paris 36

I very much love this song. But it’s ineligible for the award because I haven’t seen the film yet. So, as a recognition of this song’s greatness, I give it a special mention.

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So, halfway to go! I’m hurrying up because I have to do my predictions before the OSCARS ! ! ! ! !

Next is the acting categories with a special award.

Do you agree with my choices or rankings? Or not? Please drop in your comments! 🙂

The 2009 TFO Awards: Technical Awards (PART 1)

Just scroll down to see my picks.

The categories here are:

Best Costume Design
Best Contemporary Costume Design
Best Art Direction
Best Make-Up and Hairstyling
Best Visual Effects
Best Cinematography
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Best Costume Design

Here are my nominees (click picture to enlarge):

Cheri – Consolata Boyle

  • Its gorgeous designs fitting the film’s surprisingly light and subtle but serious mood is mesmerizing to watch. And to have the stunning Pfeiffer to actually carry it with grace!

1st Place Inglourious Basterds – Anna B. Sheppard

  • For all the kinds of clothes that it needed – for the soldiers, for workers, for actresses, for interpreters, and for theater owners – it does the job excellently. Every piece of clothing is a killer.

2nd Place Nine – Colleen Atwood

  • Maybe it’s already a given fact that the deliciousness of the clothes come from the fact that he story was set in show business. But with all those costumes, it’s very easy to be stunned.

3rd Place A Single Man – Arianne Phillips

  • The clothes express emotions and we get to actually see the lead character’s POV with the clothes. Almost pure Matthew Goode in white and glowing Nicholas Hoult compliments very well with the camera.

The Young Victoria – Sandy Powell

  • For a known designer like her, this may not seem to be much of a challenge. And added to that is the film was just okay. But forget about it. It’s an eye candy!

Runners-up: Bright Star | An Education | The Last Station

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Best Contemporary Costume Design

Since almost all of award giving bodies that recognize costume design ignore contemporary films (with I Am Love and The Devil Wears Prada being the only exceptions), I allotted this category only to contemporary films who have impressed me with their costume work. I’m no genius in costume design (I’m bad at drawing!), but I have a taste in clothes (that’s subjective, though). 😀

Here are my nominees (click picture to enlarge):

1st Place (500) Days of Summer – Hope Hanafin

  • Does a very great job in making this romance a very believable one. It brings style with reality and it blends so well. Notice Summer’s vibrant dreaminess going along with Tom’s slick formality.

In the Loop – Ross Little

  • SUITS PARADE # 1 – The guys here are only in suit or in military uniform, and the girls are in their formal clothes too. But those clothes speak of their attitude. And really appealing business attires.

2nd Place Julia – April Napier

  • The lead character’s fate may be doomed, but her clothes aren’t.  Napier brings style to this diva character from the first scene. Even if things already went wrong, the clothes still doesn’t.

The Ugly Truth – Betsy Heimann

  • Alright. Maybe the film isn’t really that good. But Katherine Heigl really shines and her beauty is totally enriched by her simple but definitely classy clothes.

3rd Place Up in the Air – Danny Glicker

  • SUITS PARADE # 2 – The guys here only wear suits. But the girls – wow! Especially Farmiga, whose sexiness she completely embodies in her clothes. And Clooney’s suits always bring gloominess and isolation.

Runners-up: Duplicity | It’s Complicated | Crazy Heart

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Best Art Direction

Here are my nominees (click picture to enlarge):

1st Place Inglourious Baterds – David Wasco (AD), Sandy Reynolds-Wasco (SD)

  • Totally brings you to the place. From the farm to the movie theater, you’re definitely in there. It’s one great time there.

3rd Place Nine – John Myhre (AD), Gordon Sim (SD)

  • There is one set that they use for the musical scenes. But each one presents creativity and difference from the rest. And the rest. . . . .

The Road – Chris Kennedy (AD), Robert Greenfield (SD)

  • The challenge of making all look destroyed seem impossible. But every piece of fallen stuff scattered there add up to the terror it brings.

2nd Place Sherlock Holmes – Sarah Greenwood (AD), Katie Spencer (SD)

  • I didn’t fully love the film. But the design is dead-on great. It’s a fantastic work from the production. The mystery is raised too.

A Single Man – Dan Bishop (AD), Amy Wells (SD)

  • The gloominess of the lead character can be seen with the set without being obvious. And the 60’s is so in there . . . . .

Runners-up: District 9 | An Education | Where the Wild Things Are | The Young Victoria | The Last Station

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Best Make-Up and Hairstyling

I added the hairstyling because it’s easier for me to nominate films if I also consider the hairstyling, not just the make up.

Here are my nominees (click photo to enlarge):

1st Place District 9

  • Wikus’ horrible (and yet, believable) transformation from human to prawn is chilling and amazing to see.

3rd Place Hunger

  • It’s as disturbing as the film and as intense as Fassbender’s performance. He did his own job at making himself thin, but the cuts and bruises. Definitely not for the squeamish!

Inglourious Basterds

  • Glamor is served well to Bridget and especially Shoshanna. But the war scars are subtle yet noticeable.

Julia

  • From the noisy party to her final plea, Swinton’s drastic change from relaxed to tired is evident in her good make-up work.

2nd Place The Road

  • Malnourishment, sleeplessness, anxiety, stress, sorrow, devastation – all in the character’s faces. Especially Viggo’s.

Runners-up: Zombieland | Orphan | The Young Victoria

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Best Visual Effects

Here are my nominees (click photo to enlarge):

3rd Place Avatar

  • The characters themselves are a landmark. And Pandora is undeniably captivating. This is how visual effects work big time!

1st Place District 9

  • It’s amazing to see how seamlessly the aliens were integrated to reality. Never did I ever felt that they were actually VFX.

The Road

  • The effects of the apocalypse are a horror to watch. The actors can handle it already, but the effects create horror in landscapes.

Star Trek

  • Maybe it’s not really a milestone in visual effects. But they were certainly cool. And the spaceships are wonderful to see.

2nd Place Where the Wild Things Are

  • When the VFX is as subtle as the story, what you have is a very natural creation of impossible characters to life.

Runners-up: Terminator Salvation | Amelia | Sherlock Holmes

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Best Cinematography

Here are my nominees (click photo to enlarge):

3rd Place Bright Star – Greig Fraser

  • Maybe I was somewhat indifferent with the film, but nevertheless, it can’t stop me from the fact that it was so beautifully shot, complimenting to the poetic mood of the film.

Broken Embraces – Rodrigo Prieto

  • Like the film, the cinematography tends to arouse the interest of viewers by giving questions and mysteries, not answers and solutions. And every shot add up to the plot.

The Hurt Locker – Barry Ackroyd

  • It’s no stylish cinematography, but it definitely captures the experience of piercing heat and pulse-pounding events seen in different people’s point of view.

2nd Place Inglourious Basterds – Robert Richardson

  • The style here is evident, but it is not distracting. Simple camera moves push every inch of tension it can bring every second. It makes the film a continuously moving visual treat.

1st Place A Single Man – Eduard Grau

  • Not everyone dug the style used in the film. But I simply did. I loved it. Differing saturation on different scenes, crafty shots bringing unspeakable and unexpected beauty. Maybe too much, but I love every minute of it.

Runners-up: Nine | Hunger | Where the Wild Things Are | An Education | The Road

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So, do you agree with my choices or rankings? Or not? Please drop in your comments! Second post for the awards will be about TECHNICAL AWARDS (Part 2) including Film Editing, Sound Awards, and Music Awards. Stay tuned!

The 2009 TFO Awards: The Eligible Films

So, here is the list of all the 2009 films I have seen that are considered eligible for the 2009 TFO awards.

(in alphabetical order)

(500) Days of Summer
Adam
Adventureland
Amelia
Angels and Demons
Avatar
The Blind Side
Bride Wars
Bright Star
Broken Embraces
Brothers
Bruno
Cheri
Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs
Confessions of a Shopaholic
Coraline
Crazy Heart
District 9
Drag Me to Hell
Duplicity
An Education
Everybody’s Fine
Fantastic Mr. Fox
Funny People
The Hangover
He’s Just Not That Into You
Hunger
The Hurt Locker
The Informant!
Inglourious Basterds
In the Loop
Invictus
It’s Complicated
Julia
Julie and Julia
The Last Station
The Lovely Bones
Me and Orson Welles
The Men Who Stare at Goats
The Messenger
Monsters vs. Aliens
Nine
Orphan
Paranormal Activity
Precious
The Princess and the Frog
The Proposal
Public Enemies
The Road
The Secret of Kells
A Serious Man
Sherlock Holmes
A Single Man
Star Trek
State of Play
Taken
Terminator Salvation
Two Lovers
The Ugly Truth
Up
Up in the Air
Where the Wild Things Are
The Young Victoria
Zombieland
 

The awards will be coming soon!

The 2009 TFO Awards coming soon!

I know! After two years? Yes. I’d really like to present my picks for the following category for 2009:

Best Motion Picture
Best Director
Best Lead Actor
Best Lead Actress
Best Supporting Actor
Best Supporting Actress
Best Original Screenplay
Best Adapted Screenplay
Best Cinematography
Best Film Editing
Best Sound Mixing
Best Sound Editing
Best Original Music Score
Best Visual Effects
Best Make-Up and Hairstyling
Best Costume Design
Best Art Direction
Best Original Song
Best Animated Feature
 
Best Ensemble Work
Best Romantic Couple
Best Contemporary Costume Design
 

I’m doing this because I do not want to waste the whole time I devoted in watching films that year. Also, I’d do this first rather than going to 2007 right now, since I don’t want my posts for that year to be interrupted by my daily updates.

Don’t worry. I’m ready to do 2007, just don’t want it to be interrupted that much.