The Fifties for 2010: Best Picture
Dogtooth, for the courage of its convictions, evoking cruelty without just being cruel, and culminating so precisely, with shivers of jet-black wit;
Everyone Else, for inhabiting a three-act structure without laundering a speck of life's messiness; I could have watched another hour, at the outset or end;
Mother, because it's The Host all over again but potently elevated in stylishness and feeling, with mother and son swapping the role of the beast;
Prodigal Sons, speaking of life's messiness, for making the filmmaker's present as fascinating as her past, her family's story as gripping to us as to her; and
Toy Story 3, for being an Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Playroom, an honest-to-god fable of purgatory and collective purpose, with sniffles and laughs.
Extremely honorable mentions to Fish Tank, Greenberg, and Lourdes, all of which have maintained formidable staying power in my mind and could conceivably move up this list upon a second viewing. A Prophet emanates lots of craft and an unpretentious self-assurance, but for whatever reason it's just never arrived to me as the full-on corker that it was for a lot of other people. Maybe I need to give that one another whirl, too. A glance over my Movies of 2010, using the grade-sort option, ought to let you know what other titles I considered for this category.
And tomorrow, the female leads.