Saturday, February 10, 2007

Definitive top ten list part I: 2005

My take on a definitive list for 2005's top 10 films. This isn't my own personal opinion but what I believe the overall consensus was. Call it "10 Most Successful Films."


  1. Brokeback Mountain, Ang Lee

Usually, in my system, the best picture Oscar gets a film an automatic number one spot, at least in the near future. However, it seems Brokeback Mountain which sparked an angry contingent of people insisting the film was robbed has more going for it. Like Saving Private Ryan, the last #1 on my lists to lose the best picture race, the closeness between Brokeback and Crash is reflected in the classic director/picture oscar split. More than that, however, Brokeback Mountain is ranked number one on both cream of the crop and all critics on the Unlike Crash, it was recognized by pretty much every major group (including the Golden Globes) as among the elite, and was one of three films to score an A- on EW’s sampling of entertainment reporters. It also swept the LA and NYC film critic awards, where Crash didn’t win any critics’ groups. It also made it big on the pop culture phenomenon and was one of the highest grossing pictures in the month of December. Brokeback also garnered oscar buzz and came closer to winning Oscars for more of its actors. Crash won the SAG award for best ensemble but it’s a better indication of the film in my opinion if it got more buzz for its Oscars, and Heath Ledger and Michelle Williams were contenders to win their categories.

  1. Crash, Paul Haggis

Crash did win best picture and had an intense following, that included nation’s top film critic Roger Ebert who ranked it #1. It did win the best picture and secured its place in history and while people refer back to Crash’s “upset” as a debate between what should’ve won between “Crash” or “Brokeback Mountain,” so history is placing it in the top 2, at least.

  1. Good Night and Good Luck, George Clooney

The debate over rankings 3-5 of the best picture nominees is tough, but Good Night and Good Luck was considered a lock for best picture early on and was recognized by more groups including National Board of Review which gave it the top award, the Golden Globes. It also placed 3rd on movie critic’s top 10.

  1. Munich, Stephen Spielberg

The debate between Munich and Capote might be decided by more people thinking that Munich was #1 oscar-winner potential, whereas Capote was just thought of to be #1. Directing Guild and Producing guild noms were also awarded to Munich. The main argument to be made, is that it had critics such as Boston Globe, Rolling Stone and Newsweek calling it either his best film ever or best film in years, and you have to make the film pretty damn good to top Saving Private Ryan and Schindler’s List. It was thought of by some to be comparable, at least. Munich was also a better all around production than Capote scoring more oscar nods total in categories such as editing and score.

  1. Capote, Bennett Miller

Capote had an incredibly high rottentomato rating going for it, and it was a frontrunner for the SAG ensemble award, but just because it was garnering praise for an ensemble shouldn’t be equated with best picture buzz, and it appealed to writers like Stephen King who put it high on his top ten list. Was a possible upset contender for screenplay nominee. Its top 5 status was solidified with a directors guild award and Oscar nomination for its director in addition to its picture nomination, considering its director is an unknown.

  1. Walk the Line, James Mangold

Walk the Line was considered the just-missed the nomination category. It won best musical/comedy and acting prizes for both of its leads. It’s box office returns and word-of-mouth popularity was stronger than any other also-ran. This might have been in part due to it being comparable in quality to last year’s nominee Ray. Slight indications like the hosts of Good Morning America asking “Why not Walk the Line?” and winning “EW’s who got snubbed” poll. It also appeared in place of Munich on the Producers Guild of America poll.

  1. Constant Gardener, Fernando Meirelles

Seven is a tight race between History of Violence and Constant Gardener. Between the two, Constant Gardener was received just a little better based on the more popular reputation of Meirelles (although Cronenberg is going more mainstream, his fan base is very much a small niche). The marriage of Meirelles and novelist La Carre led to a screenplay nom. Constant Gardener was an almost universally liked film with powerful performances that garnered more oscar buzz and better results (including walking away with an Oscar for the film) than History of Violence. It also garnered more total noms than some of the other films with editing and score noms. Its golden globe nom and director nom at the golden globes help its case as well. Also on Rolling Stone’s top 10.

  1. History of Violence, David Cronenberg

History of Violence didn’t do as well at the Oscars as Constant Gardener squeaking a best supporting actor and screenplay nod. It also didn’t have as much word of mouth, hype, or box office draw as any other top ten contender but those who saw it liked it plenty. It was ranked 2nd on for the year and finished a top one of the entertainment weekly top ten lists. It was just one of three films to get an A- on Entertainment Weekly’s newspaper sampling, made the top ten on Rolling Stone and Premiere’s top 10. It also appeared on 2 of the 3 New York Critic’s top 10. It was also EW’s pick in their oscar preview for the 6th director slot.

  1. Syrianna, Stephen Gaughan

The general critical response was the film was good but a little confusing. Looking at it in more detail, Syrianna did quite well and got a lot of top ten nods. It was Roeper’s top film of the year and Ebert’s 2nd, it placed 10th on, 3rd on Peter Traver’s list and it was on both NBR and AFI’s top 10 nods with NBR’s screenplay award. It also was one of a handful of films to walk away with an award on oscar night and it merited an ensemble nod at the SGA’s and a WGA nod

10. King Kong, Peter Jackson/Match Point, Woody Allen

This is a virtual tie between the two. The main arguments for Woody Allen’s inclusion are its high number of 4 star reviews and overall satisfaction of viewers, the fact that that it’s considered a return to form for Woody Allen and its golden globe nod.

King Kong did walk away with 3 Oscars and transcended the blockbuster genre to get oscar buzz. With the saturatuation of big-budget blockbusters as of late, that is an increasingly hard task to pull off. It’s rotten tomato rating was very high and it placed 5th on’s top 10 list. It’s box office take was pretty high and fitting for a blockbuster.

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