The 2011 FMR MAJOR Awards: Best Picture Nominees

And now, for our final category of the 2011 FMR MAJOR Awards, I present to you the nominees for the Best Picture of 2011.

I saw a ton of movies in theatres this year, and before posting this up, I tried to work in as many that I could that I had missed. My apologies, if I want to run these awards at year-end, films like “The Artist” and “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” – which haven’t worked their way into megaplexes yet, can’t be taken into consideration.

But a lot of good movies can! I’m psyched that I got to watch so many awesome flicks this year, and excited to present this post to you.

Here are the nominees for the 2011 FMR MAJOR Award for Best Picture.


“50/50” – The fact that “50/50” was being sold as a “cancer comedy” made me skeptical as hell. I mean, you just don’t do that, right? But the excellent cast and the fact that it was based on a the scriptwriter’s (a friend of Rogen’s) actual experience got me into the seats. And I’m glad I went. It’s a fantastic movie, full of laughs and real emotion. As opposed to films that try to hit you over the head with “BE SAD NOW”, “50/50” never overplays its hand. Plus it reminds you throughout that people with serious illnesses still have lives to live and appreciate the moments where their illness isn’t the sole focus of everyone’s attention. Awesome flick.


“The Descendants” – It’s a movie about family, it’s a movie about grief. It has a lot to say about the choices we make and how they impact the world we pass on to future generations. I liked it on a comedic level, I liked it on a tearjerker level, I liked it as a family movie, I liked how it got its themes across in a way that didn’t punch you in the face with them. It was dramatic, hysterical and loaded with meaning. The cast give top-notch  performances, Alexander Payne provides top-notch directing. “The Descendants” is no brainer lock to be on a million top ten lists, and a virtual shoo-in for nominations in half a dozen oscar categories. Phenomenal.


“Drive” – It may not have been the action movie the title implies, but it was a stone cold killer of a flick. Gangsters, get away drivers, and the gals who love them, with plenty of collateral damage to go around. Director Nichloas Winding Refn has been creating movies for a while now, but this was his first American mass market movie. And he did it up. Its much more subtle and understated than you expect, but that’s exactly why I love it. It doesn’t get in your face, it gets in your head. All three lead performers (Gosling, Mulligan, and Brooks) put forth remarkable efforts. In the end you have a tale of small time crime that can only be described as “Bad Ass”.


“The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” – They weren’t kidding when they marketed this movie as the “Feel Bad Movie of the Year”. Dark, twisted, cold, intense… director David Fincher is back in his happy place. It’s unflinchingly violent at points, and a bit sadistic at others, but it’s an edge of your seat thriller throughout. Much ado has been made of the fact that it’s a remake, but if you take it for what it is it is a gripping, atmospheric story with incredible characters and a fantastic mystery. Rooney Mara completely disappears into the character of the Lisbeth Salander, and Fincher creates one of his darkest, creepiest movie yet.


“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2” – Unlike the Oscars, “The MAJOR Awards” have no problem recognizing popular entertainment alongside intellectual entertainment. When its well done, its well done. In all honesty, until this movie, I was never really a big Harry Potter fan. I liked the movies well enough, but they all blended together into one big continuous, ill-defined movie in my memory. Until this one. This was a mind-blowing extravaganza of special effects and story line payoffs. An extraordinary blockbuster movie in every sense. The only big summer blockbuster this year I can get behind 100%


“The Help” – “The Help” tells the story of a young writer from Mississippi in the early 1960s who interviews the maids of her town and publishes their stories. Of course, what those stories reflect is just how poorly they’ve been treated over the years by the privileged white aristocracy that employs them. As such, there’s a level of risk involved in putting the book together, and secrecy is required. And once the book is published? Well, everything goes to a whole new level. The end result is a great story revolving around the civil rights era, all played out by a fantastic cast of actresses who really put their heart into their roles.


“Midnight in Paris” – I’ll say it upfront, I had little interest in this movie at all. Owen Wilson and Woody Allen… it just sounded like neurotic overload. The guy gets transported through time to 1920’s France? Ok, I’ll be sitting there going “Yeah, right” the whole time. Furthermore, the adjectives coming back about it? “Whimsical”, “Charming”, etc. aren’t exactly describing “my cup of tea”. But then a funny thing happened. I watched it and it completely won me over. It IS whimsical, it IS charming. It’s a movie about following your heart and your dreams and finding the beauty in life. It’s entertaining, but if you want to look a little deeper, there’s lots it has to say. Paris is beautiful… Allen paints a gorgeous picture.


“Moneyball” – This film has to be one of the most unique sports movies ever made. Not only does it deal with the front office instead of the playing field, but it focuses on a team that doesn’t even (Spoiler? I suppose) GO to the Championship, and at the end, you’ll be questioning if you just watched a sports movie or a character study. LOL. It’s very comedic throughout, but ends with the classic question, what does it profit a man to gain the world but lose his soul? It all worked for me in a big way. Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill are a great pairing, and they get the most out of Aaron Sorkin’s rapidfire dialogue. Director Steven Zaillian represents himself well, too.


“The Muppets” – The triumphant return of a gang of beloved characters. This movie ought to be the blueprint for studios looking to resurrect a dormant franchise. The Muppets was funny, joyful, and thoroughly entertaining. It’s filled with memorable songs (I’m ashamed to admit how often I listen to “Man or Muppet?”), great comedy beats, and of course, for people of the right age, it’s a heavy dose of pure, unadulterated nostalgia. I’m still amazed at how great a movie they were able to make by keeping things as simple as possible. Get the Muppets back together, have them put on a show, and then be sure the jokes are funny and the songs are fun. Boom. _______________________________________________________________________

“The Tree of Life” – The most controversial movie of the year, no question. In fact, I can’t imagine a year where it wouldn’t be. Director Terrence Malick forgoes traditional narrative sorytelling in favor of compiling images, impressions, and imaginative sequences in order to present a stream of consciousness experience. To challenge the viewer even further, Malick uses commonplace events to ruminate on the highest possible subject matters… the meaning of life, the nature of existence, man’s relationship with God. So at one moment, you’re like “Why are we watching them do the dishes?” and the next you’re saying “So what, is that supposed to be God doing that?” A brilliant film that I’d need far more space to do any sort of justice at all to. 7 out of 10 people will hate it. But the lucky 3 will find it profound.


Honorable mention go to “Rango”, “Contagion” and “Warrior”. I’ve had to make some tough decisions this week, but omitting them was really painful.

So there you have it. My list of the ten best movies of 2011. Of course, only one of them will be chosen to win the Award for Best Picture of 2011! I’ll need YOUR help, what do you think? Let me hear your thoughts…  I really am kind of kicking this one around still and weighing opinions I have a really tough decision ahead of me!!


27 thoughts on “The 2011 FMR MAJOR Awards: Best Picture Nominees

  1. I haven’t seen “The Muppets” or “The Tree of Life”, so I can’t comment there. As for the others, solid choices throughout, with two exceptions for me.

    1. “Moneyball”- I thought this film was a big disappointment. If you’re not into baseball, it’s an absolute snooze. Sure, the performances are solid, and there’s some good dialogue, but not enough to really elevate it beyond a “C”.

    2. “The Help”- I respect that it’s a summer film that deals with serious topics, but it still falters in so many ways. First off, I think it’s an almost cartoonish depiction of racism and doesn’t actually get to the heart of the real problem. But more importantly, it’s another film from Hollywood about racism where the main hero is white. As if the average white person can’t watch a film about racism unless there’s a white person in it to guide them through.I’ll give it credit for a great cast, and for all my problems I did get pulled into the story, but I ultimately find it a very flawed work.

    There, had to let that out:P

    Like I said though, I’m digging the other nominees.


      P… G…

      You gotta get on that man! That movies awesome! A total blast.

      I’d disagree with you on “Moneyball” (duh, right?), but I guess, since I AM a baseabll fan, I can’t totally make a counter. You might be right. I think there might be enough beyond the sport stuff to bring people into it, but… maybe not. Maybe youre right.

      Definitely being a little hard on “The Help” though. I didnt think it was cartoonish… I mean, its over simplified of course, but, its a Disney movie. It was pretty high calibre and well acted across the board. I’m not sure it should be concerned with breaking molds or setting new ground in Hollywood patterns or anything. I mean, there are movie that do things like that and they’re very special, game changing movies… a good movie shouldnt be penalized just because its not a groundbreaker or any kind of trend setter or anything.

      • It doesn’t have to be a ground breaker, I just don’t like how it follows a trend that annoys me. Although re-reading what I said, it does sound like I hate “The Help”, and I definitely don’t.

  2. I’m a first time commenter here, but I have really enjoyed your awards. They are an interesting take on the whole end of the year reflection process. Most of the films you nominated for Best Picture, I have enjoyed. They are all very good picks (although I did not like the last Harry Potter). The only film I haven’t seen that you nominated is 50/50 but I hear great things. My favorite of the ones you have listed, is The Tree of Life. I am definitely one of the 3 out of 10. It’s by far the most ambitious thing I have seen in a long time.

    • Well cool Ryan, glad to hear from you!

      Heh… On “The Tree of Life” I guess we only need to find one other person then huh? Maybe my math is off. 😀 Cause I loved it. I was completely engrossed, wondering what he would show us next… And as far as being the most ambitious, you’re completely right. In fact, I think the only other movie that comes to mind when I think of it in those terms is 2001: A Space Odyssey.

      Yeah, 50/50 is a very good movie man. Be sure to check it out when it hits the home market. I dont think you’ll be disappointed. Its a really kind of unique take on your typical “dealing with illness” movies…

      Thanks for checking in man, be sure to swing through next week, I’ll be putting up all the winners.

  3. My wife is encouraging me to see The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo so I can have an opinion on it, though I will have to either find a partner to see it with me or go solo since the first one was rapey enough for her. So my opinion on that is yet to be determined.

    As to everything else, solid choices. In fact many of them, as you noted, appeared on my own top 15, so we’ve already established that we’re mostly in accord here. I’m sad you didn’t love Hugo like I did, and I wish to hell more people would see Certified Copy, Weekend,, and Bellflower so I could have more people to talk about them with me (hint hint), but hey, you can’t go wrong with JGL, Payne, Refn and Gosling, and Tree of Life.

    Been a great year for the movies and I can’t wait to start the process all over again in just under seven hours!

    • Uhf! Andy, Andy. I’m taking a week off! Seven hours! LOL…

      Already saw “Certified Copy” is out on Netflix, I’ll be giving it a looksee, but not for a little while… this is a big effort over here, and then my job is about to enter hell time so…

      And yeah, find someone to go see Dragon Tattoo with… or just go it alone. Its a crazy flick. Very… dark. I presume since you’ve seen the first one you know whats up though going in.

  4. Difficult for me to weigh in here, as the only one of these I’ve actually caught so far is The Muppets, and I’d hate to “cast my vote” based solely on “I haven’t seen anything else.” Granted, knowing me, there’s a good chance it’d get my vote anyway.

    Some of these I’ve had low expectations for, and been a bit surprised at the positive reception. The Help, though the message is certainly important, is one that I figured would probably fumble the actual delivery, but it sounds like it hasn’t. 50/50, like you say, just sounds like a bad idea on paper, but everybody seems to like it. Gotta say, though, I’m still unsold on The Tree of Life; “most people won’t like it” isn’t a strong recommendation, you know?

    • The Help totally didnt fumble the delivery, but as PGC notes a few comments up, there may have been a degree of dumbing down involved… not a complaint you’d hear from me, but…

      50/50 sounds like a terrible idea, doesn’t it? I still cant get over it, that theyd make and market a film that way… but they did it right. It has just the right degree of irreverence.

      LOL. On “Tree of Life”, listen… the film is a challenge to watch AND recommend. I’ve got to clue people in. In fact? One of the reasons I LIKED It so much MAY be that I knew pretty much exactly what I was getting in to. There was no “WTF?” involved – well, at least not from a “I bought a ticket for this?” angle. I’m calling it like I see it. I mean, check out Spider’s review! He picked it as his “Worst movie”!

      No matter whether it takes home a lamp or not, I’m going to have to write something about it soon… its the type of movie that still has me thinking about it four days later.

  5. I still have a lot of catching up to do, but I am very happy to see Drive and 50/50 on your list. Probably my top two favorites from this year. Nice work on all of this, man. Can’t wait to see the results!

    • Well, that’s the plan for next week, stick around…

      As far as the whole “catching up” thing? Just look at all the great flicks you have ahead of you.

      “Drive” is sheer awesomeness though isnt it? Loved that flick. Gosling was Steve McQueen level cool. And Albert Brooks? Fugheddaboudit!

  6. Your nominees are fitting. In the end, I look for campy or complex. I haven’t seen ‘Tatoo (dee plane-NOT THAT Tatoo) but surmise the gritty quality to have a target market just not sure that’s middle America. MBall IS complex and maybe that’s why some can’t figure this out. The Muppets have camp, great music, wide appeal, and strong nostalgia. The Help is deserving but enough to be the best? ‘Paris is intriguing. Tree is perhaps the bravest 2011 film. 50/50 too is brave but possibly too unique for Joe sixpack’s empathize (or gold). Drive is exciting. Again four I haven’t seen. Above all, I want to care about characters from the beginning. Descendants may fit as here’s a real character; someone with everyday problems in a gorgeous setting trying to navigate choppy waters and make the best longterm decisions for his family. MBall DEFINITELY Fits! (keep the faith during yer hell season; drink water, eat apples & bananas & almonds for energy-peace out) M.O.A.M.

    • Thanks S. Nice post, I agree. Obviously.

      I wont say which ones they are right now, but there’s a really heated battle going on in my head for which to give it to. As you point out, some of these are dead in the water already – not going to say if youre right or not yet on which ONES lol, but yeah, some of them would make the top ten, but then dont have a real shot.

      I like the whole “Camp or Complexity” angle. Nicely put. I refer to it as Wine and Cheese. 🙂 Give me something that’s sophisticated or very cheesy. In between is a danger zone, an area where fail occurs.

      Thanks for the show of solidarity, too, I’ll get through. Just wont be much fun, thats all. 🙂

  7. You gotta get past the marketing on Hugo, man. Seriously. Leaving what was far and away the best film of the year off the list of nominees is just wrong. I know it’s not going to win your best of the year award, but to not even nominate it? Fuggedaboudit.

    • Not the marketing so much anymore, man.

      And you have to remember, although I’m certainly trying to pick out the year’s best? Its also my favorites. Its kind of a combination of the two. Strictly my Favorites? “The Rum Diary” cracks this list easy. Strictly looking to objectively select the best… well… I still dont even know if I’d put Slo-go up there, but it would have a better shot than it did here.

      But since its a combination of the two, its out.

      It’s cool, I actually expected a lot more grief over it than I’ve gotten. Here and leaving him off the director’s list….

      I’ve since let my feeling settle for “Hugo” even further, and the performances of Moretz and Kingsley havent been aging well in my memory. I was annoyed by Moretz (who I’ve loved elsewhere) and I should have liked or sympathized with Kingsley far more than I did…

  8. Just a note to say you’ve put so much effort into all your postings this year, that I expect you will be reaping the rewards in 2012. Your awards lists this past week have been extremely insightful and honest. Although I have only seen a fraction of the movies you have written up I feel your honest opinion is the driving force to see the movies I’ve missed. The movies I won’t go see based on my opinion of the trailers, can sometimes be changed based solely on your reviews. You have become my source for movie insight. Keep up the good work and happy new year.

    • Well, Happy New Year to you too Ray!

      “You have become my source for movie insight” – you’re screwed now! LOL

      Anyways, though, already been reaping rewards. Watching the site grow and getting to share with everyone has been really rewarding. 🙂 I’m sure that’ll continue as we go.

  9. Pingback: Duke & The Movies :: featured :: With A Little Help From My Friends

  10. Still waiting for The Muppets to bloody get released here! Still have a month to go 😦

    I think Drive is my favourite film of last year. Beautiful, great performances from all around and the soundtrack was just fantastic. Also, fast cars. Who doesn’t love some fast cars?

  11. Great choices. You liked The Help and HP7.2 a bit more than me, but they are still fine films. Tree of Life for the win – followed by Drive, Midnight in Paris and Moneyball.

    • Cool, a Tree of Life fan. That’s such a crazy flick, you know? A lot of people out there who dont care for it…

      Yeah, the Help was really good. HP7.2 (lol, nice) was too. There were all these crazy action sequences and fight scenes and special effects. I thought it was awesome. I could have done with a little less death and resurrection, LOL. But it was ok, I worked through it.

      Glad you approve overall!

  12. I saw all of these except The Muppets. I still don’t quite believe all the love that film is getting, but I’ll probably catch it on tv eventually and understand completely. I just can’t see paying money for it.

    • If you like the Muppets at all, its worth every penny.

      Phenomenal flick. Just tons of fun, great pacing, fantastic songs. I couldnt believe how far out of the park they hit it.

      It gets my highest recommendation to people. I think everyone will enjoy it. 😀

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