A little late but still nevertheless, here's what I give thanks for this past year:
- Christopher Nolan and Inception: One of the finest directors working today, Nolan has moved into the auteur category. He can open a big movie with his name alone, despite having big Hollywood actors in it. This summer's biggest blockbuster, Inception, proved that he is in a league of his own, demanding complete control of his film from Warner Brothers and for having an original script in a sea of sequels and remakes. Inception was on everyone's lips this summer, how did they do that? How is that possible? Is that real? And how do I get my own totem? (Yeah, that was all me.) Inception is that rare film that keeps you wondering long after you've left the theater. For my new movie obsession and favorite director, I'm grateful. Up next, Batman 3 and the Superman reboot, we can't wait.
- How to Train Your Dragon: Why do I love this animated film so? Mainly because it's about two leads, a one-of-kind dragon named Toothless with behavioral issues and a young Viking apprentice named Hiccup with daddy issues. This unlikely pair become the pride of the Viking village, Berk, and how they do it is the reason why How to Train Your Dragon is my favorite animated film this year. This movie has what was lacking in previous DreamWorks films, heart! And it is this fierce heart and an attitude that being different is not necessarily bad that makes this a top movie for kids to watch and enjoy. Bonus: The soundtrack composed by John Powell is one of the best of year behind only to Inception.
- Kathryn Bigelow: She broke the glass ceiling and how! Going up against the big juggernaut that was Avatar, the studio system and director, James Cameron, who was also her ex-husband, Bigelow took a gritty independent war movie called The Hurt Locker and turned it into the movie that Hollywood was talking about. The winner of almost every major directing award (what were you thinking, Golden Globes?), Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman to win an Oscar and an Director's Guild of America (DGA) award. For all the little girls who grow up wanting to be behind the cameras rather than in front of it, that's an amazing achievement to look up to.
- Robert Downey Jr: Now this is some comeback story. A decade ago, Robert Downey Jr. headlining his own True Hollywood Story about his very public addiction problems. But today, he is a highly respected and sought after actor for so many projects. There is no genre he can't do. Comedy (Tropic Thunder, Due Date) to drama (Zodiac, The Soloist) to becoming the ultimate hero Iron Man and leading The Avengers and rebooting how many imagined Sherlock Holmes to be, this is an actor we should be thankful for. More please!
- Clint Eastwood: He makes us all ashamed to be young and idle. At 70, he is churning out film upon film per year as an actor, a director, a producer, and composer too. His past few films have all been Oscar and award contenders and they keep showing us again and again, that his best is yet to come. Simply amazing!
- Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio: It's no secret that Leonardo is my favorite actor. But when he pairs up with his favorite director, he pulls out a performance that's extraordinary. Shutter Island, the most recent collaboration of Scorsese and Leo, was a masterful film of suspense and thrills. It shows us once again why Scorsese is America's most legendary directors and why the pair of them always produce movie magic.